Friday, 22 February 2013

FILM: The Birds (8/10)

Why did I watch it?
I watched this as part of my voyage through some of Hitchcock's more famous films.

What's it all about?

San Francisco socialite Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren) visits an isolated Californian coastal town to track down bachelor Mitch Brenner (Rod Taylor). What she doesn't bargain for is the town being violently attacked by masses of birds.

Should you watch it?
I hadn't even heard of The Birds until a few weeks ago, let alone just never watched it. Now I am glad I have. In The Birds, Hitchcock created a really suspenseful 'monster' film, not with aliens or the like, but with the common bird fulfilling the 'monster' role. Using vast numbers of birds in some excellent shots, he skilfully gives the bird masses, in particular the crows, a menacing nature you would not think possible.

The attack scenes vary from somewhat camp and over the top to terrifying, think of the birds pecking through the front door in the final attack. By choosing not to use a score, Hitchcock ratchets up the suspense as the audience listens out for the crowing warning sounds of another attack.

Imagine the droppings
Underneath the bird attacks, the central story passes along a little slowly to begin with, serving only to get the protagonists in place, but I guess this, and the acknowledgements that something seems amiss with the local bird population, only builds up the suspense for what is to come later.

That the bird attacks are never explained only adds to the terror, was it the lovebirds, or was the terrified lady right, was it Melanie herself?

An accomplished horror based on a simple idea.

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