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The Birds (film)

The Birds (1963) is a horror film by Alfred Hitchcock, based on a short story by Daphne Du Maurier. (Hitchcock also adapted Du Maurier's novel Rebecca into an acclaimed film) about birds mobbing humans.

The screenplay for The Birds was written by Evan Hunter, better known as crime fiction novelist Ed McBain. This film is notable in that it has no music score per se (other than brief source music); instead a montage of assorted bird calls and sound effects put together by perennial Hitchcock composer Bernard Herrmann provides the "incidental music".

In the film, various kinds of birds attack Bodega Bay, California, a seaside village. It may be noted that in Du Maurier's story, the birds attack Britain instead of California.


Synopsis

Spoiler warning: Plot or ending details follow.

A young lady (Hedren) visits a bird shop on a Friday afternoon. There, she meets Mitch (Taylor), a lawyer that is looking for two lovebirds for his little sister. She pretends to be the shopkeeper, showing him various species of birds, until she accidentally lets out a canary. When Mitch reveals after the incident that he knows her as Melanie Daniels, the daughter of a newspaper magnate, and tells her off for being a spoiled prankster, she decides to pay a visit to his house to get back at him and give his sister the lovebirds that he couldn't obtain. Outside, a flock of pigeons menacingly circle the sky.

When she arrives at the town of Bodega Bay, she seeks out Annie Hayworth (Suzanne Pleshette), the local teacher, in order to learn the name of Mitch's sister, Cathy (Veronica Cartwright). Then, she travels out by boat and stealthily enters Mitch's house, placing the present in the living room. On the way back, however, a seagull inexplicably swoops down and claws her.

Cleaning up her wounds, Melanie gives Mitch the alibi that Annie was an old friend of hers and she wanted to pay a visit. She then returns to Annie's house, rents out a room for the weekend, and heads over to Mitch's house for dinner. There, his mother, Lydia (Jessica Tandy), argues with someone over the phone that the chicken feed she bought was defective—her chickens wouldn't eat a bite—only to learn that the vendor's own fowl, who had been given a different brand, had the same problem. After dinner, Melanie returns to Annie's house and the two chat about their past, when a thud is heard against the front door. Opening the door, Melanie discovers a dead crow sprawled on the ground.

The next day, Cathy hosts a birthday party. A peaceful flock of birds make their way across the clear blue sky as Melanie and Mitch walk along the beach. As time goes on, however, the sound of bird calls grows louder, and a shadowy cloud appears over the festivities. All of a sudden, a bird swoops down and switches Cathy on the ear, and an attack on the party commences. Terrified guests rush into the house as birds scratch, peck, and bite at them ravenously and without motive.

From then on, things go from bad to worse as bird attacks increase, both in scope and in violence. Lydia drives over to the farmer who sold her the defective chicken feed and discovers a gory corpse with his eyes gouged out. After fleeing the scene in a hysteria, Lydia begs Melanie to keep watch over Cathy during school the next day. A flock of crows gather in the playground, and when Melanie evacuates the school, they viciously tear at the children, nearly killing one of them.

At a pub where a majority of the children have evacuated, Melanie bears witness to the death of a gas clerk across the street after a seagull attacks him. A trail of gasoline makes its way down the road, to where a man is lighting a cigarette. The cries of bystanders are in vain, and a shattering explosion alerts scores of birds, who attack those who rushed out to help the clerk. Melanie runs to assist, but quickly retreats to a phone booth as she is attacked. From that vantage point, she bears witness to the horrific spectacle as birds rush at her from all angles. The local fire department soon arrives to fight the fire and end up fighting the birds instead. A dying man leans against the booth, slowly collapsing and leaving a streak of blood on the glass, which begins to crack as birds endlessly peck and fly at it. Finally, Mitch ventures into the storm and brings her back into the pub, where a woman accuses her of being cursed.

At last, the screeching of the birds comes to an end. Melanie sets out in search of Annie and Cathy. Annie lies dead on her porch, while a terrified Cathy uncontrollably sobs. Melanie comforts Cathy and Mitch brings Annie inside, as the afternoon descends into dusk.

Cathy, Melanie, Mitch, and Lydia hole up in their house, boarding up all the windows, doors, and openings, with the exception of a single fireplace that has a fire going around the clock. In this claustrophobic environment, the four spend hours wondering when the next attack will come. Finally, a clamor erupts, and Mitch quickly checks and repairs openings while the rest look on, terrified out of their wits. The power goes out, and Mitch gets a flashlight from the basement.

Later on, Melanie wakes up with the intuition that something is terribly wrong. She grabs Mitch's flashlight and carefully examines the rooms, then cautiously treads the stairs, opens a door, and goes inside. Birds attack her from all sides as she gazes at a gigantic hole in the ceiling. Unable to fight, she collapses onto the floor, nearly dying before Mitch comes and rescues her. Realizing that she needs to get to a hospital, he tells the others that they have to leave, and daringly ventures outside to get the car. Here, Hitchcock offers one of the most surreal and apocalyptic scenes to appear on film, as a sea of birds move under a cloudy twilight. Mitch quietly enters the garage and turns on the car radio, which reports that bird attacks have occurred further inland, mentioning the town of Santa Rosa, about thirty miles away. He brings the car around front and helps Cathy, Melanie, and Lydia inside, then drives away, parting waves of birds that seem to lie in anticipation of something...

The ending to this movie is purposefully abrupt in order to allow the audience to make their own guesses as to why these birds attacked. One reason could be revenge/uprising. The caged lovebirds brought along throughout the movie serve as a subtle justification to the bird attacks. Could the birds be getting back at mankind for all the abuse, exploiting and hunting they have been through?


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Could the birds be getting back at mankind for all the abuse, exploiting and hunting they have been through?. She eerily begins to dance around for them on the sand, as she did when she was a child star, as the nightmare and the beautiful dream mingle. The caged lovebirds brought along throughout the movie serve as a subtle justification to the bird attacks. Jane obviously thinks they are her adoring public. One reason could be revenge/uprising. When she goes and gets two ice cream cones at the small stand, the police approach her and begin asking where her sister is as a crowd gathers. The ending to this movie is purposefully abrupt in order to allow the audience to make their own guesses as to why these birds attacked. After a silence, Jane says, with a childish smile, "Do you like ice cream?".

He brings the car around front and helps Cathy, Melanie, and Lydia inside, then drives away, parting waves of birds that seem to lie in anticipation of something... Jane turns to her and says pitifully, "You mean, all this time we could have been friends?". Mitch quietly enters the garage and turns on the car radio, which reports that bird attacks have occurred further inland, mentioning the town of Santa Rosa, about thirty miles away. Blanche tells her the truth of the dark secret she has kept because of her hatred of Jane. Here, Hitchcock offers one of the most surreal and apocalyptic scenes to appear on film, as a sea of birds move under a cloudy twilight. She begins acting like a child and covers her ears. Realizing that she needs to get to a hospital, he tells the others that they have to leave, and daringly ventures outside to get the car. As the sun comes up, Jane is sitting beside the ill and dying Blanche, who she has wrapped up in hot blankets. Blanche wants to tell her something about the night she was paralyzed, but Jane will not listen.

Unable to fight, she collapses onto the floor, nearly dying before Mitch comes and rescues her. Driving through Los Angeles at night, they wind up at the beach. Birds attack her from all sides as she gazes at a gigantic hole in the ceiling. She runs upstairs and gets Blanche. She grabs Mitch's flashlight and carefully examines the rooms, then cautiously treads the stairs, opens a door, and goes inside. Jane, realizing the police will be summoned, screams for Blanche to help her. Later on, Melanie wakes up with the intuition that something is terribly wrong. When he sees the skeletal woman bound and gagged, he then runs from the house in horror.

The power goes out, and Mitch gets a flashlight from the basement. While he is there, he hears a noise upstairs, as Blanche has managed to turn over her night stand in a cry for help, and goes up to her room against Jane's urgent pleadings. Finally, a clamor erupts, and Mitch quickly checks and repairs openings while the rest look on, terrified out of their wits. When a drunken Edwin comes back to confront Jane, she lets him in. In this claustrophobic environment, the four spend hours wondering when the next attack will come. He takes it as a rebuff and angrily storms away. Cathy, Melanie, Mitch, and Lydia hole up in their house, boarding up all the windows, doors, and openings, with the exception of a single fireplace that has a fire going around the clock. Edwin goes to the Hudson home, but Jane will not answer the door.

Melanie comforts Cathy and Mitch brings Annie inside, as the afternoon descends into dusk. She tells her son the stories of Jane's trying to kill her own sister, but he tells her off. Annie lies dead on her porch, while a terrified Cathy uncontrollably sobs. In the meantime, Dehlia has recalled the old gossip about the Hudsons. Melanie sets out in search of Annie and Cathy. She takes away the body in the trunk of the car at night. At last, the screeching of the birds comes to an end. As she walks in and sees Blanche bound and gagged, Jane picks up the hammer and murders her.

Finally, Mitch ventures into the storm and brings her back into the pub, where a woman accuses her of being cursed. Jane finally gives it to her. A dying man leans against the booth, slowly collapsing and leaving a streak of blood on the glass, which begins to crack as birds endlessly peck and fly at it. She is taking off the bolts with a hammer and screwdriver when Jane returns and finds her. Elvira demands the key to the door. The local fire department soon arrives to fight the fire and end up fighting the birds instead. Elvira waits until Jane leaves, then returns to find Blanche's door locked. From that vantage point, she bears witness to the horrific spectacle as birds rush at her from all angles. Elvira comes by, but Jane tells her that Blanche is sleeping and that she is fired.

The cries of bystanders are in vain, and a shattering explosion alerts scores of birds, who attack those who rushed out to help the clerk. Melanie runs to assist, but quickly retreats to a phone booth as she is attacked. He is not sure she is serious about her act, but is drawn to the promise of money. A trail of gasoline makes its way down the road, to where a man is lighting a cigarette. He is not exactly what Jane imagined, but she hires him. At a pub where a majority of the children have evacuated, Melanie bears witness to the death of a gas clerk across the street after a seagull attacks him. At the urging of his mother, Dehlia Flagg (played by Bennett), a fat piano player, Edwin Flagg (played by Buono), who has no other job, goes to the Hudson home to apply. A flock of crows gather in the playground, and when Melanie evacuates the school, they viciously tear at the children, nearly killing one of them. She ties Blanche up in bed and begins starving her to death.

After fleeing the scene in a hysteria, Lydia begs Melanie to keep watch over Cathy during school the next day. Afterward, she calls back and, imitating Blanche's voice, tells the doctor that it was a mistake, that all is fine. Lydia drives over to the farmer who sold her the defective chicken feed and discovers a gory corpse with his eyes gouged out. She then beats and kicks Blanche. From then on, things go from bad to worse as bird attacks increase, both in scope and in violence. Jane returns during the call. Terrified guests rush into the house as birds scratch, peck, and bite at them ravenously and without motive. Eventually, she crawls downstairs to call her doctor for help.

All of a sudden, a bird swoops down and switches Cathy on the ear, and an attack on the party commences. She then sees where Jane has been practicing writing the signiture Blanche Hudson. As time goes on, however, the sound of bird calls grows louder, and a shadowy cloud appears over the festivities. She finds a box of chocolates and devours them ravenously. A peaceful flock of birds make their way across the clear blue sky as Melanie and Mitch walk along the beach. While Jane is away, Blanche goes to her room in her wheelchair. The next day, Cathy hosts a birthday party. She buys more liquor, has replicas made of the costumes she wore in 1917, and places an ad in the paper for a musical accompanist.

Opening the door, Melanie discovers a dead crow sprawled on the ground. She embezzles Blanche's money, cashing forged checks at the bank. After dinner, Melanie returns to Annie's house and the two chat about their past, when a thud is heard against the front door. Jane decides to revive her childhood act. There, his mother, Lydia (Jessica Tandy), argues with someone over the phone that the chicken feed she bought was defective—her chickens wouldn't eat a bite—only to learn that the vendor's own fowl, who had been given a different brand, had the same problem. She serves disgusting things, such as a dead rat, and gets a big kick out of Blanche's repulsion. She then returns to Annie's house, rents out a room for the weekend, and heads over to Mitch's house for dinner. Imitating Blanche's voice, she tells him she has changed her mind about selling the house.

Cleaning up her wounds, Melanie gives Mitch the alibi that Annie was an old friend of hers and she wanted to pay a visit. She then goes downstairs and calls the lawyer. On the way back, however, a seagull inexplicably swoops down and claws her. She tears out her buzzer and phone cord. Then, she travels out by boat and stealthily enters Mitch's house, placing the present in the living room. The movie turns to horror as Jane begins to grotesquely abuse Blanche. When she arrives at the town of Bodega Bay, she seeks out Annie Hayworth (Suzanne Pleshette), the local teacher, in order to learn the name of Mitch's sister, Cathy (Veronica Cartwright). She says, "The studio was too busy giving you the big buildup!" When she asks about the call and gets a reply, she calls Blanche a liar.

Outside, a flock of pigeons menacingly circle the sky. When Blanche replies yes and gives more detail, Jane tells her that she made a picture that year too, that it was never even shown in the United States. When Mitch reveals after the incident that he knows her as Melanie Daniels, the daughter of a newspaper magnate, and tells her off for being a spoiled prankster, she decides to pay a visit to his house to get back at him and give his sister the lovebirds that he couldn't obtain. When Blanche tells her she was watching it, Jane angrily asks if she remembers what year she made that picture. She pretends to be the shopkeeper, showing him various species of birds, until she accidentally lets out a canary. She then comes upstairs where Blanche is sitting in her wheelchair watching one of her movies on TV and abruptly turns off the set. There, she meets Mitch (Taylor), a lawyer that is looking for two lovebirds for his little sister. Jane eavesdrops on the call.

A young lady (Hedren) visits a bird shop on a Friday afternoon. Blanche calls her lawyer and asks him to sell the house.
. The weekly cleaning woman, Elvira Stitt (played by Norman), sees through Jane and tries to get Blanche to have her committed. It may be noted that in Du Maurier's story, the birds attack Britain instead of California. Blanche (played by Crawford) is an invalid stuck upstairs in her bedroom. In the film, various kinds of birds attack Bodega Bay, California, a seaside village. Jane hates and resents her sister, as well as the confounded buzzer she uses to summon her.

This film is notable in that it has no music score per se (other than brief source music); instead a montage of assorted bird calls and sound effects put together by perennial Hitchcock composer Bernard Herrmann provides the "incidental music". Bates (played by Lee), who asks her to tell Blanche how much she has been enjoying her old movies that are airing on television. The screenplay for The Birds was written by Evan Hunter, better known as crime fiction novelist Ed McBain. She is rude and snubs the neighbor, Mrs. (Hitchcock also adapted Du Maurier's novel Rebecca into an acclaimed film) about birds mobbing humans. Jane (played by Davis), who is completely forgotten by the public, is now a grotesque, drunken figure who wears a ton of make-up. The Birds (1963) is a horror film by Alfred Hitchcock, based on a short story by Daphne Du Maurier. The years have passed.

Blanche allowed her to stay on and care for her and her house as a flunky. She had guilt and remorse. As she was drunk, she could not remember trying to murder her sister. Jane was found drunk by the police in a hotel room.

Blanche was paralyzed by the crash. The crash is heard, as well as a piercing scream. All that is seen in the movie is the lower part of the body of the young woman walking up to the gates, the other woman putting the car in gear and slamming her foot down on the gas pedal, then the woman in front of the gates begin to run. One evening, as they returned from a party, one of the sisters got out of the car to open the gates.

Jane would get drunk at parties and mimic and mock Blanche, who she was jealous of. She lived with her sister in Blanche's Hollywood home. Jane could not act and went nowhere in Hollywood. When they grew up, Blanche Hudson became a famous movie star.

Their mother comforted Blanche. Her sister, Blanche (played by Gillespie as a child), watched with sadness as Jane, who always got her way, was idolized by her adoring public. Her father gave in. Jane Hudson (played by Allred as a child) was a child star of the vaudeville stage in 1917 who was billed as "Baby Jane." She was a spoiled brat who demanded an ice cream, or else she would not greet her fans.

134 mins.; black-and-white. It began a trend of movies featuring older women in peril or on the brink of insanity, a genre colloquially referred to as psycho-biddy. It was nominated for Best Actress in a Leading Role (Bette Davis), Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Victor Buono), Best Cinematography, Black-and-White and Best Sound. The movie won the Academy Award for Best Costume Design, Black-and-White.

It was adapted for the screen by Lukas Heller, based on the novel What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? by Henry Farrell. This classic was directed by Robert Aldrich. psychological/horror motion picture starring Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, with Victor Buono, Marjorie Bennett, Maidie Norman, Anna Lee, Julie Allred, and Gina Gillespie. What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? is a 1962 Warner Bros.

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