Figure One - Poster
The Birds is a 1963 suspense/horror film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, loosely based on the 1952 story "The Birds" by Daphne du Maurierries of widespread and violent bird attacks over the course of a few days.
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
· Screenplay: Evan Hunter
· Genre: Suspense/Horror
· Duration: 119 Minutes
The film starts off with a young blond Melanie Daniels, another blond beauty in Hitchcock’s films not that one is complaining, is at a pet shop when she bumps into Mitch who’s looking to buy love birds for his sister and Melanie tries and helps him, this shows that Melanie has feelings toward Mitch, I guess one could say there’s a link between Mitch searching for love birds and Melanie stalking Mitch to his house.
The film takes its time to get going but of course having two good looking protagonists keeps most the audience interested up till when things start to get going. The fact that the birds attack human is never explained is probably the strongest point for the film others might say its the weakest but personally the film works well without explaining why, leaving it up to the viewers to decide for themselves.
"The fact that it is never revealed to the audience why normally peaceful birds suddenly start attacking humans is a technique that Hitchcock used frequently in his movies. It is called a MacGuffin (or McGuffin), which Hitchcock defines as "The plot device, of little intrinsic interest, such as lost or stolen papers, that triggers the action.” (Murray: 2011)
Figure Two - Famous Scene
Suspense is built up greatly in “The Birds”, especially the scene where Melanie is outside the school waiting for Mitch’s sister and sits down and the camera focusing on her and the background where the school climbing frame is and then back to her smoking looking around while the children signing is clearly heard and slowly the crows start to land on the climbing frame, the scene goes on for a few minutes which builds the suspense up and the children singing going on for awhile, added to the suspense.
“Genuinely disturbing thriller classic from the master of suspense.” (Newman 2007)
Karma seems to play a big part in the film, Melanie turns up at Bodega Bay and is attacked by a seagull as she crosses the lake to get to Mitch’s home on the first day she’s their and after that things only go downhill. Also throughout the film she is wearing the unlucky colour green which also implies karma not being on her side.
Figure Three - Dead Man Scene
The film is an effective horror film for a number of reasons, first, as one is watching the film, mainly near the end due to the film slow pace is that this could happen, its very unlikely but it could because all it is at the end of the day is birds going crazy and attacking. Secondly, what the film does well is it has great suspense but doesn’t go crazy into gore aspect, there’s a few gouged out eyes but the film keeps it to the minium which works better than over indulging in gore.
“The Birds is an effective horror movie, although in typical Hitchcock style, there is far more scary anticipation than actual gore.” (Webster 2000)
Murray, John - http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0056869/faq