10 January 2013 11:00 PM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Two new biopics of the master of suspense depict him as a bully who abused his leading ladies. But where does the truth lie?

The appearance of two new films about Alfred Hitchcock, widely considered to be the greatest of Britain's filmmakers, is a reminder that there was a time when he was also considered lovable. His unmistakable profile, his deadpan, Droopy Dog style, and his sense of humour helped make Hitch a star as well as a director.

Then, in 1983, came Donald Spoto's biography, The Dark Side of Genius. Spoto revealed that Hitchcock had harassed actor Tippi Hedren on the set of 1963's The Birds to the point of physical and psychological collapse. During the filming of the followup, Marnie, Hedren claimed that he also "made an overt sexual proposition", and when she resisted "became threatening", saying he would ruin her career. He never forgave her for turning him down, »

- Alex von Tunzelmann

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