The Birds (1963)

The Birds (1963) , Universal Pictures.
The Birds (1963) , Universal Pictures.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock

Cast: Tippi Hedren, Rod Taylor, Suzanne Pleshette

This weekend, we had the chance to a give a classic film, Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds, a second viewing. We hadn’t seen the film since we were kids and were excited to view it again with new eyes.

The story centers around the affluent Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren) who happens upon leading man, Mitch Brenner (Rod Taylor), in a San Francisco pet store. Daniels decides to surprise Brenner’s younger sister with a gift and follows him to his mother home in Bodega Bay where she befriends the local school teacher, Annie Hayworth (Suzanne Pleshette).

Hitchcock uses the first half of the film to develop our cast of characters, their motivations, and backstory. Then something odd begins affecting the birds of Bodega Bay. Slowly, they start pecking their way into the story. The suspense continues to build as the interactions between the characters and the winged beasts become more hostile and aggressive. Before long, they’ve taken over.

The Birds (1963), Universal Pictures.
The Birds (1963), Universal Pictures.

I won’t say anything else for those of you who haven’t seen it already. It’s surprisingly disturbing, and you should add it to your list of horror movies to watch for the season.

I knew the movie was universally praised and would be a fun watch, but I was skeptical about whether it would truly be scary. However, the lack of motive or explanation for their hostile behavior makes these creature feature villains extremely unsettling. Once I found out the story was loosely based on real life events, the premise became even more unnerving.  Often, animals do take a stab back at humanity.

I’ll admit, days after we finished the movie, I still get a twinge of unease and suspicion when I spot a crow or gulls cawing from the trees.

Are you afraid of The Birds? Is it worth adding to your Halloween movies list? Share your memories of the film and thoughts below!



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