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The Birds

The Birds

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Published by Kym Mumford

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Published by: Kym Mumford on Feb 04, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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The Birds
(1963) Alfred Hitchcock
The Birds
is a 1963 suspense/horror film directed byAlfred Hitchcock loosely based on the 1952 story of thesame name byDaphne du Maurier. 
Drawing from therelatively invisible literary talents of Daphne DuMaurierandEvan Hunter,Alfred Hitchcockhas fashioned a major work of cinematic art
” (Sarris, 2005)
The Film starts off with Melanie Daniels meeting Mitch
Brenner in a bird shop. He’s looking to buy love birds forhis sister’s birthday, and he pretends
to mistake her for asales woman, which she is not happy about. He says
they have met before but she doesn’
t remember.Intrigued she tracks him down to his home in Bodega Baybringing with her the two love birds she bought herself.She uses a boat to get to his house and leaves the lovebirds there without being seen. During her escape Mitchsees her and intercepts at the other side of the dock andwitnesses a seagull attack and injure Melanie. The two of them develop a relationship as the town starts toexperience more random bird attacks. Many are injuredand one man is found dead in his home after a bird attack.
Melanie and the Brenner’s barricade themselves in the
Brenner home. The birds attack the home trying to getthrough the windows and doors. The attack eventually subsides and Melanie hears somethingupstairs she goes to investigate and finds a whole in one of the rooms and gets attacked by the flockof birds. She is rescued by Mitch but is severely injured and needs to get to a doctor. So they bravethe birds outside while they seem to be complacent and drive off in the car.The film is very misleading the way it starts off withthe tension between Melanie and Mitch and howshe then goes and follows him to Bodega Bay,meeting his ex-lover and overprotective mother thefilm has all the makings of a romantic drama. Evenwhen Melanie first gets attacked by the gull it breaksthe romantic spell but not completely as you are stillcaught up by the sexual tension between Mitch andMelanie and the obvious jealousy of Annie. But it issoon obvious the film has nothing to do withromance as the bird attacks start to escalate and sodoes tension in the town. There are some that feelthat the beginning is more of a comedy than a romance but they still agree that the movie starts off as one genera and ends as a completely different one.
What starts out as a kind of low-keyscrewball comedy ends up as an effective, fright-filled horror flick
(Puccio, 2000)Figure 1.
Theatrical release poster 
(1963)Figure 2.
The BIrds
Like a lot of Hitchcock
s films
The Birds
is more about the tension between the characters and thebuilding suspense throughout the movie rather than the actual gore. The bird attacks in the filmremain unexplained and many critics have spent a lot of time analysing the meaning behind the film.One of the theories is that the birds actually represent the woman in the film. The three mainwomen all vying for the attention of one man, Melanie the new woman in the picture is the firstattacked after her run in with Annie, the jealous ex-lover. As the film goes on you notice moreemphasis is put on the relationships between the women rather than the men, they seem to be theones with the most dramatic scenes and it
s a women who accuses Melanie of being the cause of allthe bird attacks. It
s is also a women that disputes the legitimacy of these attacks. The femalecharacters in the story are much more in depth than those of them men, and hold a lot moreinterest. Towards the end the last shot before you see all the birds is Melanie and Mitch
s mother inthe backseat and there seems to be an acceptance there, which could be linked to the fact that noneof the birds try to attack as they leave it
s almost as if the tension between the women has subsided.This idea is supported by Tim Dirk
s who has a more in depth view
It is about three needy women(literally 'birds') - and a fourth from a younger generation - each flocking around and vying forvarying degrees of affection and attention from the sole, emotionally-cold male lead, and the fragiletensions, anxieties and unpredictable relations between them. The attacks are mysteriously relatedto the mother and son relationship in the film - anger (and fears of abandonment or being leftlonely) of the jealous, initially hostile mother come to the surface when her bachelor son bringshome an attractive young woman. Curiously, the first attack has symbolic phallic undertones - itoccurs when the man and woman approach toward each other outside the restaurant in the coastaltown.
(Dirk, 2000)

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