The Birds (1963)

the birds poster 1963 movie alfred hitchcock
9.5 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 10/10

Great creepy horror with Hitchcock flare

Nothing

 
Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Birds

Studio:  Universal Pictures

Genre(s):  Horror/Mystery/Suspense

Release Date(s):  March 28, 1963

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated

the-birds-playground

No…that’s perfectly normal…

Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren) is a celebrated socialite with a perchance for trouble. When she meets Mitch Brenner (Rod Taylor) who disapproves of her spirited public behavior, Mitch catches her interest.  Melanie decides to surprise by taking a trip up the coast to Bodego Bay with a pair of love birds for his younger sister Cathy (Veronica Cartwright). Though his mother Lydia (Jessica Tandy) disapproves of her and she’s sharing a room with his old flame Annie Hayworth (Suzanne Pleshette), Melanie persists at her quest. When strange attacks begin occurring involving birds, a new terror will force Melanie, Mitch, Lydia, and Cathy together closer than ever just to survive.

the-birds-phone-booth-attack

AT&T…I’m having the worst reception right now!

The Birds was directed by Alfred Hitchcock and the follow-up to Psycho in 1960. The movie adapts the short 1952 story “The Birds” by Daphne Du Maurier (Hitchcock also adapted her novel Rebecca for his only Best Picture win). The movie was well received and nominated for an Oscar for its special effects. The unrelated sequel (with Tippi Hedren) The Birds II: Land’s End was released in 1994 and there has been talk of a remake (please no).

The Birds is an odd Hitchcock film. Unlike his other pictures the movie is driven by an outside force that isn’t tortured and misunderstood and the film is more like a horror film as a result. Psycho was such a big hit and classified as horror, but was much more psychological in reason. Here, the characters are menaced by things with no reason and that are attacking with no explanation.  This format was used by countless “when animals attack” films in the 1970s.

the-birds-hitchcock-cameo

There’s Hitch!

Despite being the horror film, Hitchcock still makes it a psychological film and the strong actors help make it. The whole relationship between Mitch and his mother is odd and this forms a weird love triangle between Mitch and Melanie and Lydia. Add in Annie as the former lover who points that Mitch’s momma’s boy problems have sabotaged multiple relationships, the bird attacks almost seem incidental and separate. The house becomes almost a lifeboat with a bunch of strangers trying to share the same space and adjusting to each other in face of the attack.

the-birds-ending

Always creepy…

The special effects on The Birds are great. The chilling sound of the attacking gulls is remembered by anyone who sees it. Like with Psycho, Hitchcock shows a lot of the same editing that allows you to see the action, but doesn’t really show you anything. Quick cuts and cutaways really amplify the terror of the attacks (especially when Hedren gets stuck in the attack with the birds). The film is beautifully shot and holds up well.

The Birds is a great film. It almost doesn’t feel like a Hitchcock film, but there enough Hitchcock effects to remind you. It actually is a pretty frightening concept…as the woman in the movie states, if the animals and birds ever team-up against humans we would have a serious problem. The last shot of the film with them creeping through the sea of birds is always engrained in my mind. Thankfully, a final sequence in which the birds pursued their car was never shot because I think it is creeper as it is. Hitchcock followed The Birds with Marnie which also starred Hedren.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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