Alfred Hitchcock made Tippi Hedren into a star—and then sabotaged her career when she rejected his advances:
It started at the end of The Birds. To depict the notorious final sequence, when Melanie is attacked by dozens of birds on her own in an upstairs bedroom, Hedren was reassured that mechanical birds would be used. Yet Hitchcock had always planned otherwise. She arrived on set to discover cages of live birds were being put in position for the terrifying denouement. The reality was as horrific as the film. ‘I just kind of did it,’ says Hedren, with her eyes shut. ‘It was hardly even acting. They put bands around my waist and these bands had elastics pulled in different places through my dress. And the bird trainers tied the elastics to the feet of the birds, so they were all around me. One was even tied to my shoulder. At one point, it jumped up and almost clawed my eye.’
The torment went on for five days. ‘At the end, I was so exhausted I just sat in the middle of the stage, sobbing.’ In the BBC film, Hedren is shown with clothes ripped, skin bleeding from pecks, hysterical, while Hitchcock impassively looks on, almost as if he is willing his film to break her.