It had been a plan to watch Hitchcock's The Birds with my bestie, Ia, forever and we kept skirting the issue. "Oh, but it's the 64 and three quarter year anniversary of Gregory Peck's death, let's watch Roman Holiday instead..." But yesterday we decided to bite the bullet and watch it. Boy was that an experience. Sorry Mary Poppins, but I'm not gonna be feeding your bloody birds anytime soon. Deranged I tell you. Deranged.
The plot concerns a beautiful but slightly lost and wild society girl, Melanie Daniels. Daughter of a big San Francisco newspaper mogul, she often gets into scrapes. Most recently breaking a woman's window during a practical joke. At a bird shop buying a talking bird as part of another practical joke, lawyer Mitch Brenner goes to play a little joke on her.
When she realises that he is representing the woman whose window she broke in court, she takes him up on his joke request for two lovebirds for his sister and delivers them to his house in Bodego Bay near San Francisco.
I loved this film. It petrified me, but I loved it. It's beautiful in a morbidly fascinating way. The special effects of layered on birds are great - advanced for the period. This is a bit of a departure for Hitch as usually he's dealing with psychological plot-lines and complex, very emotional murderers. This time it's an uncontrollable force of nature relentlessly wreaking terror on regular people. But he does it with the grace and prowess that only he could.
Tippi Hedren (whose birthday it is today) walks her way into an extraordinary screen presence. She has the same amazing presence in Marnie, but she manages to create it by doing relatively little. She does play a similar part in both, but she does it very well. I'm not fully convinced by her accusations about6 Hitchcock's alleged harassment and stalking. It seems unlikely coming from a man who was so loved by people such as Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman. Anyway. That just sets me on edge about her in a way.
Rod Taylor is a fabulous actor. I love him in The V.I.P.s as well - he's very brave as an actor. This part could so easily have been played very brashly and aggressively but it wasn't. He holds the film together. Let's hear it for Rod Taylor.
One thing I found very disturbing psychologically was the hand nibbling. When the terrified people of Bodego Bay try to escape from a room the birds go and nibble their hands. OUCH! AHHHHH! I was generally pretty terrified by the whole thing. I can't even explain it. No more trips to the attic for me thank you very much. Also, no more trips to seaside towns or standing near climbing frames that could possibly become a perching spot for multiple homicidal birds.