Thursday, 16 February 2017

"The Birds" (1963)

Fig. 1 "The Birds" Poster
Three years after Alfred Hitchcock’s successful horror film “Psycho” (1960), comes another masterpiece “The Birds”. “The Birds” is an American horror-thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock in the 1963. Nevertheless, such great film was also based on “The Birds” novel written by Daphne du Maurier in 1952. The film focuses on sudden and unexplained violent bird attacks, leaving viewer to be shocked from bird scenes. As Joseph Pellegrino writes in his review: "[…] it is Hitchcock we stay, but take away the birds and there is no film left" (Pellegrino, 2011). (Fig. 2)

Fig. 2 Hitchcock with birds
From the very beginning, the audience couldn’t think of birds as enemies, but the film develops birds to seem like serial killers. The first half of the film consists of romantic acts, as the main character Melanie Daniels falls in love with Mitchell Brenner from the first sight.(Fig. 3) As the story of the film progressed from the romantic looking scenes it comes to be a thrilling horror film.
Fig.3 Melanie and Mitchell in the bird shop
Moreover, at the start of the film when Mitchell sees Melanie at the bird shop, the camera moves like eyes. Looking form Melanie's high heels to her face, this not only shows the camera movements, but also provides audience with information that Mitchell relishes her beauty. Later, the camera shots become more sufficiently strict, showings black crows and close-ups of character faces, making the problem more personalised. As Alastair Sooke explains in his review: “Hitchcock makes the malevolent birds seem like manifestations of his character’s mental unease – especially that of Mitch’s mother and his former lover, Annie, now a local schoolteacher”. (Sooke, 2015). In Hitchcock’s film the birds become a symbol of jealousy, envy and possibly hate, which corrupts the city as un-killable disease. Nevertheless, the jealousy is only among women, making this film reveal woman’s emotions toward another candidate to beloved man’s heart. Instead of making women fight for man’s heart, Hitchcock lets the birds to their job.(Fig. 4)

Fig. 4 The birds
Another key element which makes this film more unique is the diegetic sounds. As Schwatz states in his review: "It's also worth noting that The Birds used a synthesized score consisting entirely of bird sounds, not music. This helped create the eerie mood throughout." (Schwartz, 2007). The sounds of many birds flapping their wings give uneasiness to the scene. The noise gives this feeling as if someone is always chasing you and you can’t escape it. 
Fig. 5 Chaos
In conclusion, watching “The Birds” for the first time, it can be hard to understand what Hitchcock tried to represent. He throws everything at viewers and leaves it to their imagination. As Brooks sums up in his review: "The Birds floats free. There is no motor driving it, no music to tether it, and nothing to hold it aloft apart from that up-draft of sensual atmosphere and existential dread. Hitchcock reportedly worried at length over how to wrap things up. He eventually ditched the scripted final scene in favour of a non-resolution, an open ending – the perfect closing image that leaves the world in the balance and its mysteries all intact." (Brooks, 2012). “The Birds” is worthy to be called legacy of cinema and also it should be watched at least a few more times to fully understand the mysterious yet chaotic continent.(Fig.5)
 Brooks, X. (2012)My favorite Hitchcock: The Birds review. At: (Accessed on 16/02/2017)
Pellegrino, J.  (2011) "The Birds" At: (Accessed on 16/02/2017)
 Schwartz, D. (2007) "Perhaps only a director of Hitchcock's caliber can mane such a fowl story fly" review At: (Accessed on 16/02/2017)
Sooke, A. (2015) "The Birds", review :'disturbing'. At: (Accessed on 16/02/2017)
 Illustration List:
Fig. 1 "The Birds" Poster At: (Accessed on 16/02/2017)
Fig. 2 Hitchcock with birds (Picture of Hitchcock) At: (Accessed on 16/02/2017)
 Fig, 3 Melanie and Mitchell in the bird shop (film still) From: "The Birds" Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock Released: United States At: (Accessed on 16/02/2017)
Fig.4 The birds (film still)  From: "The Birds" Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock Released: United States At: (Accessed on 16/02/2017)
Fig. 5 Chaos (film still)  From: "The Birds" Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock Released: United States At: (Accessed on 16/02/2017)

No comments:

Post a Comment