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"The Girl" shows Alfred Hitchcock could be as creepy as his movies

Learning about great artists is always disappointing. Few of them are nice people, some are downright awful. And then there's Alfred Hitchcock.

As portrayed in "The Girl" (9 p.m. Saturday, HBO), the legendary English director was creepy, cruel and pathetic. The portrayal makes for a mildly flawed film that's sometimes compelling and often disturbing with an excellent performance at its center.

That performance isn't by "The Girl" of the title. It's by Toby Jones as Hitchcock. But let's talk plot first. The film begins in 1962, after the director has gotten acclaim for "Psycho," and is beginning to make "The Birds." With prompting from his wife Alma (Imelda Staunton), he casts Tippi Hedren (Sienna Miller), an ex-model with no acting experience. Tippi, grateful to have the confidence of someone of Hitchcock's stature, is brought to tears, and Hitch and Alma are too. It's the start of a beautiful relationship.

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