Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Birds


The Birds
1963
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Cast: Rod Taylor, Tippi Hedren, Jessica Tandy, Suzanne Pleshette



My Friend Amy's The Summer of Hitchcock




The first time I saw The Birds it terrified me much more than Psycho.

What are the chances I'd ever be checking into a run down motel off the beaten path where I'd meet a disturbed mamma's boy? Not good.

What are the chances I'd ever see birds all flocking together in great numbers on telephone wires or a school jungle gym, for example? Almost every blessed day.

That is what is so terrifying. You see birds "innocently" hanging out in a flock daily. By the time I watched Psycho for the first time, I knew there was a terrifying shower scene, but even knowing the birds are going to attack doesn't really prepare you for the reality. It's the flocking, the grouping. We expect to see flocks of birds and we normally ignore them. We know birds hang around in gangs, but how can we tell if or when these gangs might decide to turn to the dark side? I think The Birds, although it does have some blood and gore, is another good example of the story also helping to create the suspense and horror more than the actual blood.

My nephew, Movie Dude, often talks about remaking old classic movies (or even not so old or classic movies). Looking at the movie today and knowing about the many advances made in special effects, I'll admit that the bird attacks don't always look very real. What I'm afraid of in any remake, however, is that the blood, gore, and special effects will be the main emphasis, thus losing all that delicious suspense. Suspense, like in the scene where Tippi is sitting outside the school and every time the camera angle includes the jungle gym behind her... more birds. I feel the terror when the kids are running down the street. I'm not sure if more blood or realistic bird attacks would be an improvement. I've always found the birds terrifying enough just as Hitchcock filmed it.

2 comments:

heidenkind said...

I didn't enjoy this movie as much as Psycho. Yeah, the birds were scary, but they were hardly in the film. There was like a total of 10 minutes of birds in a two-hour movie! And the whole Mitch/Melanie plot was ridiculous, imo.

Lori L said...

Were we watching the same movie? LOL!
I just watched it again Friday night and seem to remember much more than 10 minutes of horrifying bird attacks, but, then, we've already established the fact that the idea of the birds scares me, so maybe it's me.
I do agree with you that the whole Mitch/Melanie love story was ridiculous and really unnecessary.