The Birds


The mark of a great horror film is its ability to make the imaginary seem threatening, the fanciful seem plausible. Hitchcock did just that with The Birds, his only full-on fright flick. The birds contained therein are so damn creepy, and there is nothing supernatural about them. They're birds. Crows, sparrows, seagulls...y'know, birds. I guess that's why Alf is called the master of suspense. This is a terribly suspenseful motion picture. It's hard to breathe during some scenes, especially the "chute scare" and the whist, unruffled climax. By unruffled, I mean silent. The Birds doesn't have a score. Hitchcock uses the shrill screaming of our feathered assailants and the occasional thwack of a 2X4 to heighten the tension. Let me tell you, it works. I can't imagine this film with a soundtrack.

If you couple quiet audio channels with a very deliberate pace, you get a movie that a lot of people aren't going to sit through. Many cinephiles feel that The Birds is overrated because of its slow first half. While I agree that the first 30-45 minutes are trying (and even illogical), the rest of the film is too enjoyable for me to say that The Birds is overrated. Once the title peckers take flight, it's a stupendous watch. Hitchcock even throws in a shot of unexpected gore. Moreover, the cast is full of veteran a-listers. Suzanne Pleshette and Tippi Hedren turn in multi-faceted performances as a jaded schoolteacher and a heady flirt, respectively. Jessica Tandy is convincing as an overprotective mother to Mitch Brenner, the town playboy. Rod Taylor plays Brenner with a mature edge that gives his role a spectrum of shades to pull from.

Everyone is three-dimensional. As per usual, Hitchcock fully develops his characters before he puts them in harm's way. The Birds could have been a tasteless cult oddity, but instead, it's a legitimate classic. Perfect? I'm afraid not. Overrated? Hell no. Memorable? Most definitely. Check the bottom of the page to view a few cool Hitchcock trailers.


  1. I've always loved this movie. I tried to watch it with melissa recently but we got bored, I think because I sensed the slow pace bugged her, but when I see it alone I really dig it.

    I've always noticed the lack of a score and it does work, you're right, It's more unnerving this way.

    This year at Screamfest Tippi Hedren came and I was so stoked. Besides this movie I've always loved her in Marnie, even if the movie suffered from melodrama in the worst degree. She was the one celebrity I was going to meet this year, but that kind of change when I arrived. Found out she was the priciest and charging for things others didn't. My friends step-father got her autograph and didn't find her that friendly and approachable. At her Q&A (Which was interesting), the man beside me told me the same thing when he met her. So, I saved my funds for some other celebrities.

    I was in the front row of the Q&A, have the pictures from Melissa's step-father, so it will have to do. I have to say she's amazingly gorgeous for her age and hasn't changed that much. She was a good speaker with the Q&A and the movie she spoke of the most was, of course, The Birds. I'm trying to remember if she said anything interesting about the Birds that stands out but my mind is going blank (of course) I know training the birds and getting them to coorperate was difficult.

  2. Oh, and I REALLY want this: