Friday, October 23, 2009

The Birds

(1963) ****

Self-possessed, wealthy Melanie is in a San Francisco bird shop to pick up a mynah bird for her aunt, and is taken in by a minor practical joke at the hands of a mysterious stranger. Irritated and intrigued, Melanie tracks down the identity of the stranger and follows him to his family home in Bodega Bay, a quiet town hours north of the city. In the midst of perpetrating a practical joke of her own, Melanie is on her way back to town in a small boat when a seagull attacks, drawing blood. This attack is only the first of many, and the attacks increase in volume and ferocity until the entire town is under siege.

This was my first time seeing The Birds and I was relieved to discover that it is a bona fide horror movie (I was afraid it might be more thriller-ish). I loved the scenery, the slow buildup, the constant presence of birds whether overtly menacing or not, the special effects, the lack of a typical soundtrack, the absence of explanation for the birds' behavior, the humorous touches. I was impressed by the body count and presence of blood and gore. Overall the movie was well cast (woohoo, Veronica Cartwright!) and well acted (Tippi Hedrin did better than I expected, especially toward the end of the movie). Some of the dialogue rang false to me; partly it may have been that early 1960s style of talking, but it did take me out of the movie a bit. Another reason I couldn't grant a 5th star: I wasn't scared at all during the movie, nor creeped out afterwards.

Even worse, Mr. AC did not watch this with me, so don't hold your breath waiting for the haiku review... though come to think of it, I'd like to see that one too!

4 comments:

Octopunk said...

Arriving ravens
Black snow on the jungle gym
Their plumage

Fuck!

RUN!

Catfreeek said...

Perhaps those children
Singing endless now, now, now
Drove the birds insane

DCD said...

The birds go crazy
Pecking everything in sight.
Bird shit all over.

HandsomeStan said...

B-Day solution
Get portable jet engines
And just walk around

Since I joined Horrorthon, this has been one that I've been dying to review, because it was my Gateway Drug to Hitchcock. It's one of my absolute favorite movies of all time, and certainly the best thing he ever did, in my opinion. But the first time is always the best. Y'know, with drugs.

I know people will honk on mightiliy about Vertigo and Rear Window and all that stuff, but The Birds and Strangers On A Train are, for some reason, my fav 'cock movies. The rest are brilliant, to be sure, but I'm just sayin'...

I actually had a 20-minute "No Fucking Way" moment the other night, where I was combing through my DVD stacks thinking, "I KNOW I own this movie. I HAVE to own this movie. It must be here somewhere!" Alas, my valiant search efforts turned up the distressing fact that I do not, for some strange reason, own one of my favorite movies of all time.

Great review, AC, and I love that Mr. AC's influence colored the comments. I'm still SO jealous of him patenting the Haiku Review. Thon-Crush on him.

Real quick, as a filmmmaker, I find Hitchcock to have an absolute mastery over camera angles, among other things. Putting the camera in such a place to photograph the scene from an unexpected angle, while still not calling attention to the angle itself or distracting from the scene, is one of the elements of his genius.

I hope to get a review of this one soon, I just need to actually fucking HAVE one of my favorite movies of all time here.

Mr. Ac: Great
Haiku Reviews: Fantastic
Keep It Up: Oh Yes