In a recent “Awards Chatter” podcast with The Hollywood Reporter‘s Scott Feinberg, Dakota Johnson (The Lost Daughter) mentioned a well-known complaint about legendary director Alfred Hitchcock.

Johnson stated that her grandmother, Tippi Hedren, now 91, was hit on by Hitchcock during the making of The Birds (’63) and especially Marnie (’64), and paid a price because she didn’t acquiesce. “Hitchcock ruined her career because she didn’t want to sleep with him,” said Johnson, “and he terrorized her, [and] was never held accountable.”

Okay, no argument but Hedren’s acting talent had, I believe, some effect on her Hollywood fortunes.

Hedren is reasonably effective in The Birds but less so in Marnie. One of the reasons that film is so hard to get through is that she’s too clenched and brittle. That’s who the character is, of course, but you can sense that “clenched” and “brittle” is all that Hedren has. (Grace Kelly, whom Hitchcock had sought for the role, would have somehow made Marnie into a fuller, more sympathetic figure, or so I suspect.) Hitchcock told Francois Truffaut that Hedren “didn’t have the volcano,” and I think that’s a fair statement.

I’m not disputing that Hitchcock made things difficult for Hedren after she turned him down sexually, but I don’t think her career would have developed either way. Hedren had a limited amount of talent. She had the chops of a good-enough supporting player or TV performer, but overall she was far from Ingrid Bergman.