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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?. They are informed that they were the only survivors. The caged lovebirds brought along throughout the movie serve as a subtle justification to the bird attacks. However, they eventually reach the propeller shaft, where outside rescuers cut through the hull to extract them. One reason could be revenge/uprising. En route, several perish, including Frank Scott himself. 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. Trapped in the hull of the ship, a preacher, Frank Scott (Hackman), led a small group of often unwilling followers towards the bottom of the ship, trying to avoid the rising water level, and other such harzards.

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... Poseidon are faced with almost certain death as their immense 81,000 ton passenger liner capsizes and begins to sink. 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. On New Year's Eve, passengers aboard the S.S. 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. The general premise of the film follows that of the book. 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.
.

Unable to fight, she collapses onto the floor, nearly dying before Mitch comes and rescues her. The film is currently being remade, and is scheduled to be released in 2006, directed by Wolfgang Petersen. Birds attack her from all sides as she gazes at a gigantic hole in the ceiling. A sequel called Beyond the Poseidon Adventure had an equally star-studded cast, but was a box-office and critical failure. She grabs Mitch's flashlight and carefully examines the rooms, then cautiously treads the stairs, opens a door, and goes inside. The success of this film led to other all-star disaster films in the seventies, such as The Towering Inferno (1974) and Earthquake (1974). Later on, Melanie wakes up with the intuition that something is terribly wrong. A huge box office success, it was the top grossing film of 1973.

The power goes out, and Mitch gets a flashlight from the basement. Parts of the movie were filmed aboard the RMS Queen Mary. Finally, a clamor erupts, and Mitch quickly checks and repairs openings while the rest look on, terrified out of their wits. A renegade priest attempts to lead a small group of survivors to safety. In this claustrophobic environment, the four spend hours wondering when the next attack will come. On New Year's Eve, it is overturned by a wave caused by an earthquake, trapping all inside. 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. Poseidon, a luxury liner from the golden age of travel, on its final voyage before the scrapyard.

Melanie comforts Cathy and Mitch brings Annie inside, as the afternoon descends into dusk. The plot centered around the S.S. Annie lies dead on her porch, while a terrified Cathy uncontrollably sobs. It won the Academy Award for Best Song for "The Morning After" which also became a hit single for Maureen McGovern. Melanie sets out in search of Annie and Cathy. The Poseidon Adventure was a 1972 adventure movie based on a novel by Paul Gallico. At last, the screeching of the birds comes to an end. Academy Award for Sound - (Theodore Soderberg & Herman Lewis.

Finally, Mitch ventures into the storm and brings her back into the pub, where a woman accuses her of being cursed. Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song - Motion Picture - (Al Kasha & Joel Hirschhorn) for the song "The Morning After". 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. Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score - Motion Picture - (John Williams). The local fire department soon arrives to fight the fire and end up fighting the birds instead. Academy Award for Original Music Score - (John Williams). From that vantage point, she bears witness to the horrific spectacle as birds rush at her from all angles. Kress).

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. Academy Award for Film Editing - (Harold F. A trail of gasoline makes its way down the road, to where a man is lighting a cigarette. Academy Award for Costume Design - (Paul Zastupnevich). 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. Academy Award for Best Cinematography - (Harold E. Stine). 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. Academy Award for Best Art Direction - (William J. Creber & Raphael Bretton).

After fleeing the scene in a hysteria, Lydia begs Melanie to keep watch over Cathy during school the next day. BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role - (Shelley Winters). Lydia drives over to the farmer who sold her the defective chicken feed and discovers a gory corpse with his eyes gouged out. Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress - (Shelley Winters). From then on, things go from bad to worse as bird attacks increase, both in scope and in violence. Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture - Drama. Terrified guests rush into the house as birds scratch, peck, and bite at them ravenously and without motive. Academy Special Achievement Award for Visual Effects - (L.B. Abbott & A.D. Flowers).

All of a sudden, a bird swoops down and switches Cathy on the ear, and an attack on the party commences. Academy Award for Best Original Song - (Al Kasha & Joel Hirschhorn) for the song "The Morning After". As time goes on, however, the sound of bird calls grows louder, and a shadowy cloud appears over the festivities. BAFTA Award for Best Actor - (Gene Hackman). A peaceful flock of birds make their way across the clear blue sky as Melanie and Mitch walk along the beach. Leslie Nielsen: Captain Harrison. The next day, Cathy hosts a birthday party. Arthur O'Connell: Chaplain John.

Opening the door, Melanie discovers a dead crow sprawled on the ground. Pamela Sue Martin: Susan Shelby. After dinner, Melanie returns to Annie's house and the two chat about their past, when a thud is heard against the front door. Jack Albertson: Manny Rosen. 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. Shelley Winters: Belle Rosen. She then returns to Annie's house, rents out a room for the weekend, and heads over to Mitch's house for dinner. Stella Stevens: Linda Rogo.

Cleaning up her wounds, Melanie gives Mitch the alibi that Annie was an old friend of hers and she wanted to pay a visit. Roddy McDowall: Acres. On the way back, however, a seagull inexplicably swoops down and claws her. Carol Lynley: Nonnie Parry. Then, she travels out by boat and stealthily enters Mitch's house, placing the present in the living room. Red Buttons: James Martin. 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). Mike Rogo.

Outside, a flock of pigeons menacingly circle the sky. Lt. 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. Ernest Borgnine: Det. She pretends to be the shopkeeper, showing him various species of birds, until she accidentally lets out a canary. Frank Scott. There, she meets Mitch (Taylor), a lawyer that is looking for two lovebirds for his little sister. Gene Hackman: Rev.

A young lady (Hedren) visits a bird shop on a Friday afternoon.
. It may be noted that in Du Maurier's story, the birds attack Britain instead of California. In the film, various kinds of birds attack Bodega Bay, California, a seaside village.

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". The screenplay for The Birds was written by Evan Hunter, better known as crime fiction novelist Ed McBain. (Hitchcock also adapted Du Maurier's novel Rebecca into an acclaimed film) about birds mobbing humans. The Birds (1963) is a horror film by Alfred Hitchcock, based on a short story by Daphne Du Maurier.

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