Lois Thurman, Hitchcock’s script supervisor, reports from the set

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Lois Thurman, Hitchcock’s script supervisor (far right) from The Birds, Marnie, Torn Curtain and Family Plot, gives a rare interview about working closely with Hitch. Ms Thurman was interviewed on April 17th, 2013 in Los Angeles.

I was working at Universal Revue Studios and Hitchcock came over to make some pictures. All the other girls were afraid to work with him and since I did what I was told, they said you’ve got to do it. So I did, and it was fine, I really liked him, and it was no problem, Hitchcock was fine.

Jessica Tandy, Hitchcock thought she was wonderful, they got along fine, she was a good actress. Suzanne Pleshette was fine, she always knew her lines and showed up on time. I didn’t care much for Tippi, and Hitch didn’t get along with her. Rod Taylor was fine though he had some problems with Hitch.

The only male star that Hitch really got on with was Sean Connery. Sean was perfect, you couldn’t fault him. He wanted to change a line and we never really allowed that to happen on set, but I told him go ask Hitch. And he let him change the line, because Sean asked him which was different to other actors.

I liked Hitchcock very much and appreciated him, he was very nice to me, telling me jokes, buying me presents. He knew that I was loyal and did my job. We got on great. He was my favourite director because it was easy to know what he wanted. He wasn’t going to do a lot of extra shots, so he was easier to work with than other directors.

I don’t think he told them (the prop men in The Birds) to make the glass break (in the phone booth), how could he have done that? I was there all the time during filming of The Birds.

It was wonderful for me to work with him, it really made my job easier all around the world, and Hitch new exactly what he wanted. He always told the cameraman what the shot was, what the coverage was going to be and what the script says.

Hitchcock was a Total Professional who knew what he wanted and how to get it says Kim Novak

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Kim Novak, who presented an award at the Oscars this year, was interviewed by Save Hitchcock at the 66th Cannes Film Festival on 24th May 2013 in Cannes, and slams “The Girl” ahead of this month’s Emmys.

“(Hitchcock was) A total professional, he new exactly what he wanted, and how he wanted to get it. Alma was just there, and one time we had dinner at his house and she was very supportive.

The way he’s been portrayed recently, I can’t understand why you would do that to people who are no longer here to answer for themselves. When someone is alive is the time to make accusations so that they can defend themselves.

I felt deep inside Hitchcock was a good man. He was kind to me during the filming. He never made me do things more than I needed to.

We did do (the jump) in San Francisco, jump into the bay once, I don’t swim! And still don’t. We didn’t have to do many takes on that. A lot of people said Hitchcock was vindictive and mean about making you do things, but he wasn’t. I think we did one take for the whole thing.

Jimmy Stewart gave me total honesty, total reacting, best acting to me is reacting not acting. And that’s what I love and felt I did the best, reacting, I don’t like acting, I love reacting.

Edith Head, she giggled (when I came back from my meeting with Hitchcock) well how did the meeting go my dear? She smiled that wicked smile of hers, she knew exactly how the meeting would turn out.

My favourite scene in Vertigo, is when Judy says “If I let you change me, will you love me?” That’s very special.”

What really happened when Hitch met “The Girl” for the first time?

Jerry Adler, the production coordinator on Alfred Hitchcock Presents was asked by Hitchcock in October 1961 to find ‘The Girl’ he saw in the ‘Sego’ television commercial and bring her to meet Hitch. Now for the first time he tells the true story – and it’s very different to how it’s shown in HBO’s The Girl. Mr Adler was interviewed on August 27th, 2013 in Los Angeles, California:

“Hitch called me one morning, and said I’ve seen this girl in a TV commercial, I’d like you to find her. So I called over to my agency people, I found her and called her, I guess it was a Thursday. I said there’s a producer who’s interested in you, do you have a reel? She brought her portfolio over on Friday morning on the Universal lot, so she knew I was for real, and I wasn’t working in some little storefront somewhere.

I sent the reel over to Hitch at Paramount. He called me first thing on Monday morning and said take her over to see his agent Herman Citron at MCA, because I think I’m going to sign this girl. I thought, him with the blonde actresses, Vera Miles, Grace Kelly, he’s going to make another star out of a blonde. The Svengali. Whatever it was, I didn’t reveal anything to her until we walked into Herman’s office. He was on the phone talking about Shirley MacLaine. The first thing Herman said when he got off the phone to her was “Well, You’ve impressed Mr. Hitchcock.”

I drove her over to Paramount where I introduced her to Hitch. We had lunch in his office.  I doubt it very much it was like what was shown in the HBO movie. I think Peggy (Robertson) was in the room, I remember there was some conversation about Edith Head doing her costume. I highly doubt the conversation was like what we saw in that movie. I don’t believe a word of it and I was there the whole time. He’s too classy a guy to say something like that then (ie; dirty limericks). Never would have that man have that kind of suggestive conversation.  I don’t think Hitch looked at this girl in the Sego commercial and said I want to sleep with her, it doesn’t make sense in any shape or form.

Subsequently I don’t think she was much of an actress. If she had something it would have overshadowed what was going on and made her in demand.”

The Truth About The Attic Attack

Stories change with time and memory. In an interview from 2nd April 1963, while promoting The Birds in her home town of Minneapolis, the leading lady describes filming of the attic bird attack: “Mr. Hitchcock hated the scene and the set. He was scared. And he really hates to be scared, poor man, much as he enjoys scaring other people. He wouldn’t come onto the set until they had everything completely ready. Then he’d come, stay only long enough for them to make the shot, and then leave immediately.” Just how different is this from the scene in The Girl?

Hedren clippings-2 (dragged)

John Russell Taylor compares “Hitchcock” and “The Girl”

In anticipation of his re-released book Hitch: The Life and Times of Alfred Hitchcock, John Russell Taylor, Hitch’s official biographer compares the recent spate of Hitchcock biopics. While he finds “Hitchcock” the movie with Anthony Hopkins, “incomparably the more accurate and believable of the two films”, Taylor calls The Girl “a tissue of melodramatic invention” and “arrant nonsense” and questions how the “story seems to change exponentially” of those involved.

Great entertainers, says Taylor, never die, and Hitch was one of the greatest. You can read the entire article here:

http://bloomsburyreader.wordpress.com/2013/04/08/alfred-hitchcock-fact-and-fiction-by-john-russell-taylor/

No Emmy nominations for The Girl for Best TV Movie or Best Actress

The Emmy Nominations have been announced and highly criticised Hitchcock drama “The Girl” failed to be nominated in the Best TV Movie or Miniseries category. Sienna Miller was also snubbed failing to pick up a nomination for her portrayal in the Best Actress category. Leading the nominations are “American Horror Story” with 17, “Game of Thrones” with 16 and “Behind the Candelabra” with 15 nominations. Michael Douglas is tipped to win over Toby Jones in the Best Actor category for a TV or Miniseries for his superb portrayal of Liberace.

The Girl leaves empty handed at the BAFTAs

At the BAFTA awards in London, Hitchcock drama The Girl lost out in every category – Best Single Drama, Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress. Toby Jones and Sienna Miller joined the stars on the red carpet in the rain, only to lose out to Ben Wishaw for his stunning portrayal of Richard II and Sheridan Smith for her role in Mrs Biggs. The television drama, a joint production between the BBC and HBO, has been mired in controversy ever since its release last autumn. Associates close to Hitchcock, including cast and crew, have angrily defended the director, saying that the drama was one-sided and inaccurate in its portrayal. Although being nominated 8 times, The Girl only won an award for production design.

Why The Girl shouldn’t win at the Baftas

The Girl is nominated for 4 Baftas at this weekend’s TV awards. Here are 10 good reasons why we think it shouldn’t win.

  1. Crew members from The Birds and Marnie who were interviewed for the TV drama, Rita Riggs and Jim Brown’s widow, deny the sensationalist portrayal of Hitchcock. Other crew members who were not interviewed – Virginia Darcy, Lois Thurman, Hilton Green and actress Louise Latham – have also spoken out against the drama.
  2. The film has deeply upset the Hitchcock family, including grandchildren and great grandchildren, who have chosen to remain silent instead of justifying the movie with a response.
  3. Scenes suggest that Hitchcock put his leading lady in physical jeopardy, while the production records show that all due care was taken on the set, for both cast members and the trained birds. The American Humane Association was on set all the time when birds were used.
  4. The depiction of the telephone booth and attic filming is contradicted by the production archives at the Margaret Herrick Library and also on-set witnesses Virginia Darcy, Rita Riggs and Lois Thurman.
  5. Production was not shut down after the infamous filming of the bird attack in the attic. Co-star Veronica Cartwright confirms that they carried on filming while the leading lady recovered. Production records also show that the movie’s secretary Suzanne Gauthier reported she wasn’t harmed but needed three work days of rest, returning on Thursday 7th June 1962 to film the sand dune scene.
  6. Hitchcock producer Norman Lloyd called the TV movie ‘basically bullshit’ to Variety magazine – here speaks the wisdom of a 98 year old.
  7. The script is one-sided masquerading as objective truth. There is no mention of Noel Marshall, who the leading lady was engaged to at the time, which was a major reason for Hitchcock being upset, leading to the famous falling out.
  8. Star Kim Novak has publicly defended Hitchcock: “I never saw him make a pass at anybody or act strange to anybody. And wouldn’t you think if he was that way, I would’ve seen it or at least seen him with somebody? I think it’s unfortunate when someone’s no longer around and can’t defend themselves.”
  9. Hitchcock never raped or intentionally injured anyone – unlike some other directors. He lived his life in fantasy which is reflected in his movies. Vertigo has been named the Number 1 film of all time.
  10. “Hitch was in fact a wonderful human being as well as a master filmmaker,” says Norman Lloyd. “He deserves to be remembered that way.”

Hitchcock author casts doubts on ‘ruining my career’ claims

A new book by Scottish author Brian Hannan cast doubts on the widespread media reports that Hitchcock tried to ruin his leading lady’s career after she spurned his advances. In this new book Hitchcock’s Hollywood Hell, published by Baroliant Press, the author refutes claims that the director was vindictive enough to block other directors from hiring his star, saying that ‘Hitchcock took an enormous risk’ and ‘Hollywood did not bite’. Hannan persuasively argues a more tangled scenario of Hollywood business, box office returns and the leading lady’s age as reasons for the break in contract. This echoes other reports, most notably by Laura Truffaut, Francois Truffaut’s daughter, which has also refuted the allegations.
You can read the whole story here: