Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Script to Screen - The Birds, 1963, Film Review


This film is an iconic thriller horror from 1963, Directed by Alfred Hitchcock this film has not lasted the test of time too well for the average, modern audience. The Birds, a film that pitches our protagonists who are a small family like collective, and a small town against hordes of killer birds that have gone feral and start attacking all humans. Many of the scenes in this movie can be considered questionable, though there are some scenes that are clever and prime examples of subtle horror and using tension to build up a threat. "The crows alight, one by one, in the schoolyard above Bodega Bay. They are summoned by the nursery rhyme sung by the children, or drawn by the green glow of Tippi Hedren's matching skirt and jacket, or maybe lured by the pungent scent of her lit cigarette. By the time she turns her head, the climbing frame is thick with them." (Brooks, 2012)

The acting in this film is a highlight, it is almost as if this was a fly on the wall style picture, the actors are just, so real with there conversations and mannerisms. It keeps more with real life social interactions then typical cinematic ones, with characters talking over each other in hectic situations and some dialogue being innaduble. What also adds to this is the fact there is no score for this picture.  “The soundtrack of The Birds is literally that: voices, sounds, atmospheres. No violins. It rejects all musical coding traditionally employed to inform us of how we should care/think/feel/project at any point in the film. The absence of music is a specific 'sound of silence' which greatly enhances the The Birds' peculiarly perverse dramatic tone.” (Brophy, 1999)


The origin of the attacking birds is never really explained, they hint to origins of it and theres some foreshadowing at the beginning of the film, but besides that we are pretty much left in the dark as to the source of the random homicidal birds

Besides a warning concerning the birds, the film seems to convey a message of mass Unity and the danger it entails. The addition of more women than men in most scenes also seems to have a relation to the presence of birds, it some times seems like the more women there are on screen, the more mayhem takes place. Even the films title "The Birds" could be associated with the English Slang word "Bird" which implies lady, thus the title of the film could be reinterpreted as "The Women".“The entire bird world, chagrined to be the pawn in a devious woman's game, gets its revenge. Thereafter, it's women on the verge of a feathery freak-out, all the way” (Bidisha, 2010).


Brooks, A, 2012: http://www.theguardian.com/film/filmblog/2012/jul/31/my-favourite-hitchcock-the-birds
Brophy, P, 1999: http://www.philipbrophy.com/projects/sncnm/Birds.html
Bidisha, 2010: http://www.theguardian.com/film/2010/oct/21/alfred-hitchcock-women-psycho-the-birds-bidisha

Illustration List

Fig.1: https://thelatestpictureshow.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/poster-birds-the_02.jpg
Fig.2: http://i.livescience.com/images/i/000/023/102/i02/hitchcocks-birds-child-edit.jpg?1325620177


  1. Nice one Brad :) Don't forget the italics for the film name too...