Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Pecking Order: The Birds(1963)

I have only two Alfred Hitchcock directed films in my ever growing DVD collection, which I hope to remedy in the next couple of years. Until then I will be satisfied with the two(2) that I have, Psycho(1960), and a film released three years later, in 1963, in which the pecking order(no pun intended) between humans and our avian companions is reversed for about two hours. I'm referring to The Birds, a movie based on a story written by Daphne Du Maurier, and released by Universal Studios.

The film's story: a beautiful blonde named Melanie Daniels(Tippi Hedren) secretly follows a new male acquaintance, Mitch Brenner(Rod Taylor), north into the small, northern California seaside community of Bodega Bay. The blonde is inexplicably attacked by a single seagull. At first this incident is thought to be random, but the bird attacks become more frequent, and, unfortunately for the local populace, more savage. As the death toll mounts from the swarms of aggressive and marauding birds Brenner holes up in his house with his mother(Jessica Tandy), his kid sister, and Ms. Daniels, in the hopes that barricading the house will keep the suddenly berserker birds out. The avians, however, have other ideas(no spoilers).

Observations: a truly outstanding film. The cast, the directing, the action(and bird) sequences are stellar. The villains in this movie are (literally) foul . The DVD of this movie is also marvelous, with lots of extras, including production notes and photos, Tippi Hedren's screen test, the original ending, a deleted scene, storyboard illustrations, the theatrical trailer, a newsreel entitled "The Birds Is Coming", and a featurette about the movie. The DVD (inside) cover sleeve also has more info. One of the best DVDs in my collection, hands down.

The trailer for the film(including an intro by the movie's director, Alfred Hitchcock):