The Birds (1963) Alfred Hitchcock The Birds is a 1963 suspense/horror film directed by Alfred Hitchcock loosely

based on the 1952 story of the same name by Daphne du Maurier. “Drawing from the relatively invisible literary talents of Daphne DuMaurier and Evan Hunter, Alfred Hitchcock has 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 for his sister’s birthday, and he pretends to mistake her for a sales 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 Bay bringing with her the two love birds she bought herself. She uses a boat to get to his house and leaves the love birds there without being seen. During her escape Mitch sees her and intercepts at the other side of the dock and witnesses a seagull attack and injure Melanie. The two of them develop a relationship as the town starts to experience more random bird attacks. Many are injured Figure 1. Theatrical release poster and one man is found dead in his home after a bird attack. (1963) Melanie and the Brenner’s barricade themselves in the Brenner home. The birds attack the home trying to get through the windows and doors. The attack eventually subsides and Melanie hears something upstairs she goes to investigate and finds a whole in one of the rooms and gets attacked by the flock of birds. She is rescued by Mitch but is severely injured and needs to get to a doctor. So they brave the birds outside while they seem to be complacent and drive off in the car. The film is very misleading the way it starts off with the tension between Melanie and Mitch and how she then goes and follows him to Bodega Bay, meeting his ex-lover and overprotective mother the film has all the makings of a romantic drama. Even when Melanie first gets attacked by the gull it breaks the romantic spell but not completely as you are still caught up by the sexual tension between Mitch and Melanie and the obvious jealousy of Annie. But it is soon obvious the film has nothing to do with Figure 2. The BIrds (1963) romance as the bird attacks start to escalate and so does tension in the town. There are some that feel that 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-key screwball comedy ends up as an effective, fright-filled horror flick.” (Puccio, 2000)

Like a lot of Hitchcock’s films The Birds is more about the tension between the characters and the building suspense throughout the movie rather than the actual gore. The bird attacks in the film remain 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 main women all vying for the attention of one man, Melanie the new woman in the picture is the first attacked after her run in with Annie, the jealous ex-lover. As the film goes on you notice more emphasis is put on the relationships between the women rather than the men, they seem to be the ones with the most dramatic scenes and it’s a women who accuses Melanie of being the cause of all the bird attacks. It’s is also a women that disputes the legitimacy of these attacks. The female characters in the story are much more in depth than those of them men, and hold a lot more interest. Towards the end the last shot before you see all the birds is Melanie and Mitch’s mother in the backseat and there seems to be an acceptance there, which could be linked to the fact that none of 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 for varying degrees of affection and attention from the sole, emotionally-cold male lead, and the fragile tensions, anxieties and unpredictable relations between them. The attacks are mysteriously related to the mother and son relationship in the film - anger (and fears of abandonment or being left lonely) of the jealous, initially hostile mother come to the surface when her bachelor son brings home an attractive young woman. Curiously, the first attack has symbolic phallic undertones - it occurs when the man and woman approach toward each other outside the restaurant in the coastal town.” (Dirk, 2000)

List of Illustrations Figure 1. The Birds (1963) [Poster] At: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Birds_(film) Figure 2. The Birds (1963) From : The Birds Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock [Film Still] At: https://www.google.com/search?um=1&hl=en&safe=off&tbo=d&biw=1366&bih=667&tbm=isch&sa =1&q=the+birds+hitchcock&oq=the+birds+hitchcock&gs_l=img.3...2899.2899.0.2951.1.1.0.0.0.0.0.0.. 0.0...0.0...1c.1.2.img.y4N0ePRIAVk#imgrc=KhMg7fZfI1Te9M%3A%3BGxTtRtaVMf8QOM%3Bhttp%25 3A%252F%252F2.bp.blogspot.com%252FPKZz7eZ1ce8%252FUNyhFxGOaWI%252FAAAAAAAACsU%252FxLv7CizIHCU%252Fs1600%252FBirds %252B1.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fintheframefilmreviews.blogspot.com%252F2012%252F12%2 52Fthe-birds-classic-hitchcock-on-blu-ray.html%3B1280%3B692 Bibliography Sarris, Andrew (2005) The Birds In: Villagevoice.com [Online] At: http://www.villagevoice.com/200510-18/specials/the-birth-of-the-voice-1955-1965/5/ Puccio, John (2000)The Birds In: Rottontomatoes.com [Online] At: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/1002448-birds/reviews/#page=2 Dirk, Tim (2000) The Birds In: Filmsite.org [Online] At: http://www.filmsite.org/bird.html

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