Thursday, 10 February 2011

The Cutting Edge - The Birds

Fig 1.

The Birds (1963)

Director - Alfred Hitchcock

There's nothing that couldn't be more timid and unterrorfying than a bird. They flee at the very site of danger and couldn't be more scared of the humans. So to make that a concept for a scary movie might on paper seem like a stretch but Hitchcock here manages to capture a menace from the unmenacing. It seems like a real, tangible threat but could have easily been laughable. Film 4 says that it is "On screen it's absolutely nerve-wracking, flocks of carrion gathering malevolently before swooping in to peck away at Melanie's face." The one interesting aspect of the film is that in the first hour of the film there is bearly a moment of horror. It's spend devoted to the developement of the characters and during that you only see a samll glimpce of what is to come. But once it comes there is little escaping the repetitous attacks of our avian foe.

fig 2.

Hitchcock is a master of suspence and The Birds doesn't disappoint in that regard. The is moment of tranquility where the chorus of children singing can be heard from outside the school as crows one by one congregate on the school climbing frame adding to their numbers and to their menace. A replentless attack on a house with our main characters trapped inside leave the house battered as birds torpeedo themselves into the window and peek at the doors until they are battered. But once an attack has ended there is a calm durin which everyone can escape. Apon leaving the house suspence is raised again as they slowly escape to the car amongst thousands of resting birds with no fear of man that could attack at anytime. Truely an amazing performace was created by the bird themselves and as Time Magazine says "the most unforgettable performers in The Birds are the birds. They are utterly, terrifyingly believable as they go about their bloody business of murdering humanity."

Fig 3.

The Birds is Hitchcock at his best, fear and suspence. Empire Magazine "Genuinely disturbing thriller classic from the master of suspense." This film really does hit the spot and there's not a cheesy monent insite dispite a plot about killer birds. A must see.

Image Bibliography

Fig 1. The Birds, DVD cover, 1963 [photography],

Fig 2. The Birds, Movie Still, 1963 [photography],

Fig 2. The Birds, Movie Still, 1963 [photography],


Cinema: They Is Here, Time, [Online] avaliable at,9171,830097,00.html [Accessed 10 February 2011]

The Birds, Film 4, [Online] avaliable at [Accessed 10 February 2011]

The Birds, Empire Magazine, [Online] [Accessed 10 February 2011]

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