Birds, The (1963)

Hitchcock! Hitchcock! Hitchcock!

Hitchcock! Hitchcock! Hitchcock!
As if birds are scarier than random shower stabbings!

Genre: Apocalyptic Drama Horror Thriller

Starring: Rod Taylor (101 Dalmatians; The Mercenaries), Tippi Hedren (Marnie; I Woke Up Early the Day I Died)

Directed By: Alfred Hitchcock (Lifeboat; The Wrong Man)

Overview: A woman shows up in Bodega Bay to contemplate a love interest when the wildlife starts getting randy...

Performance:

So we have Tippi Hendren trying to woo this guy Rod Taylor, whose name is indeed a perfect fit for this mildly macho sly-grinning character. Aside from a great near-catatonic reaction from Tippi as the attacks become more serious, the best acting came from the kids and the birds, honestly. If we need to be drawn in to a budding romance, then make the couple have some chemistry for God's sake.
Rating: 7

Cinematography:

You have got to give it to them on this one. Still to this day you wonder how they pulled off 370 effects shots. I think the magic about this project was that this had a lot more than birds on wires and rear projection at play. This is intricate, and for as much as most of the film's romantic scenes had very standard cinematography, besides the amazingly well done bird attacks there's some really poignant moments like the diner and the farmhouse that sets this film apart in the visual side. This is what makes the film such a classic. It's impressive.
Rating: 9

Script:

Kill me. All we wanted to do for the first half was fast forward to the good bits. The only crap going on was this woman fawning all over this man, and the both of them were dropping subtle hints to the audience about their past, and I think the group sentiment was either tell us or don't but don't frustrate us even more with all this boring and senseless yammering. Of all the things to fill a horror thriller with, budding romance would certainly not have been my first choice, God.
Rating: 6

Plot:

The story is all about a happy pretty little bay and how suddenly, while two rutting horny adults try to get in each other's pants the birds seem to be freaking out on humanity. Right when the doubt become solidly murky, the birds decide to surprise everyone by starting a war. Check out how suspenseful it gets, cause it's awesome, just make sure you're ready to sit through the whole boring beginning bit.
Rating: 7

Mood:

The mood is disturbing. By that I don't mean I was disturbed by how haunting it was, I mean I was disturbed at how impractical the romantic subplot was. If I were to make this film, I would start with a happy family with a budding-into-maturity daughter dating someone the family doesn't like until he ends up helping them, and gets killed in the process, you know, Bollywood style. I could really care less about the poor woman who was left by the wayside in preference for this new girl wearing astroturf green in every scene. I find this film very strange, almost like there was all this filler that needed to be added to frame the wicked-awesome rage-filled birds. Overall disjointed.
Rating: 7

"Hurry children, before the woodpeckers burrow into your brains! Oh that sped them up a bit..."
"Hurry children, before the woodpeckers burrow into your brains! Oh that sped them up a bit..."

Overall Rating: 72% (For The Birds)
Aftertaste:

Yes, much debate went into the premise of whether on not this was Pre-Apocalyptic. You see the whole bird thing starts where our characters do, but the radio lets us know that it is the center of an expanding phenomenon, which brings an interesting premise as to how society would look ten years into a war against our avian enemies. If you ask me, you'd see a lot less trees, a lot more DDT and once the initial waves of onslaught subsided, construction projects that all begin indoors...

Much as it was with Dawn Of The Dead, you'd have rednecks taking care of a lot of the problem, especially if compensation were awarded by the carcass or by the pound. It would make for an interesting sequel's premise... Imagine how architecture would change fifty years into a great bird Apocalypse.

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This is one that I was indifferent to for a long time, but I've since warmed up to it a bit. I used to always think of it as an "Emperor's New Clothes" film. That is, people found stuff that wasn't really there ,just because it was Hitchcock. I watched it again recently, and something clicked this time. My take on "The Birds" is that it's kinda about xenophobia. "They didn't come until SHE showed up" The whole film revolves around Tippi Hedren coming into this closed society and upsetting everything.

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