Alfred Hitchcock (Hitch as his actors and actresses called him) was one of the most controversial Directors of the last century. Hitchcock was one of the most prolific and determined horror and suspense movie Directors of our time.
Hitchcock’s movie career spanned over forty years and he created shocker horror suspense movies such has “Rear Window, Vertigo (one of my favorite Hitchcock movies), North by Northwest and Psycho. But, one of his best horror achievements was a movie called “The Birds”
The Birds laid the ground work for many future horror movies. Hitchcock’s use of normal every day situations and familiar landscapes and environment coupled with his methods of turning a normal day into a nightmare for the movie goer became one of his trademarks. The Birds did just that. It took a peaceful community and its most harmless occupants “The Birds” and turned them both into something scarier than demonic possession.
The cinematography in “The Birds” is cutting edge. Hitchcock’s film experience went back to the 1930’s. His filmed thrilled viewers with deep rich colors of early color film photography and scared people to death using the depth and shadow of black and white filming techniques. Two of my favorite films, Vertigo and Psycho were two completely different films as they were viewed on the silver screen. But both movies used large panning shots, moving close up shots and stunning scenery to get the viewer involved in the film. The birds used these same techniques wrapped into one stunning film.
Hitchcock was by all accounts a very talented and temperamental movie Director. It is rumored that he had rough way of man handling his female stars. His lack of sense humor shows through in all of his movies. There is little no no tongue and cheek to be found in any Alfred Hitchcock movie.
Then came “The Birds” was released in 1963 and starred Rod Taylor, Tippi Hedren and Suzanne Pleshette. The plot of the movie moves quite slow in the beginning not giving the viewer much to go on besides some very laid back acting and limited interactions between the stars. Tippi Hedren plays a young lady with what appears to be a well to do background who has a strange and somewhat infatuated attraction to the leading man Rod Taylor. Hedren’s character seems to possess a sociopathic personality. She thrives on chaos and tempts fate through her display wanton disregard for peoples privacy and callous approach to life. Her actions as a woman are fairly ahead of her time as she acts out in a very twenty first century manner. However as the plot progresses the director and the script dig pretty deep into the relationships of all of the characters. The plot eventually evolves into a love story on multiple levels. Hitchcock puts us in the shoes of the each person. But just when it all seems pretty boring stuff about boyfriend, girlfriend, moms and dads. The local birds begin to act pretty strange. The next this the viewer knows is that no one in the case can walk out the door without looking to the sky with great apprehension and fear. Because all different species of winged creature is swooping down from the sky killing unsuspecting humans. Some attacks are by very few birds and then other massive attacks take place in the town of Bodega Bay California. One guy early in the movie even has is eyes pecked out. It right about that time that the audience realizes that this is not going to end well.
The best scene of the movie is the climax, when thousands of seagulls descend upon the small town and attack and kill the residents there. The film gives us a birds eye view of large gulls sweeping in from the sky as the town below burns.