Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Birds (1963)

"The Birds" is a very good horror picture from suspense master Alfred Hitchcock.  For no apparent reason, birds are attacking everyone in a small town on the California coast line.  

The movie is very good.  The suspense really works well and it is actually quite scary.  The scariest scenes are of those that take place after an attack from the birds.  Images of bodies with their eyes pecked out and a body lying at the foot of the front porch are some of the truly terrifying scenes this movie displays.

I thought the performances were very good in this film.  Rod Taylor and Tippi Hedren seem to have real chemistry.  I liked how Hedren's confidence slowly deteriorates as the film progresses.  The best performance from "The Birds" is from Jessica Tandy as Rod Taylor's mother.  I thought she was very convincing in showing her terror.

I also thought the effects were quite good.  It really seemed like people were being attacked by birds, when in reality, they were animated.  A lot of the special effects were done by Ub Iwerks.  Iwerks is actually the first animator Walt Disney hired for his studio back in 1919.

I really enjoyed the use of sound in this film.  One of the best examples of its use is when the main characters are trapped in their house and they hear the birds outside.  It is so scary just hearing the birds, but not actually seeing them.  Another way Hitchcock uses sound so well is when Taylor's little sister's teacher dies.  Taylor decides to bring the teacher's body back into her house, but the audience does not see this.  Instead the camera focuses on Hedren consoling the little girl.  The audience only hears the sound of the body being dragged.

While this is not Hitchcock's best work, "The Birds" does remain to be a true classic of suspense.

B+  I recommend it.

1 comment:

  1. I've always felt that Hedren's performance was underrated in this one; most contemporary critics didn't "get" the film. Excellent review!