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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?. Areas that were shot on location (not recreated in a studio), and that still exist:. The caged lovebirds brought along throughout the movie serve as a subtle justification to the bird attacks. Visiting the San Francisco film locations (perhaps most famously in a subsection of Chris Marker's documentary montage Sans Soleil) has something of a cult following as well as modest tourist appeal. One reason could be revenge/uprising. Some have noted that in the numerous driving scenes shot in the city, the main characters' cars are almost always pictured heading down the city's steeply inclined streets. 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. Vertigo is notable for its extensive location footage of the San Francisco Bay Area, leading some to claim the city itself as an important character in the script; San Francisco is famous for its steep hills, expansive views, and tall, arching bridges.

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... In 2002, Vertigo was chosen the second greatest film of all time (behind Citizen Kane) by the Sight and Sound critics' poll. 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. The film has been deemed "culturally significant" by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry. 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. It was also exhibited for the first time in 70mm, the format for which it had been originally intended. 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. The new print featured restored color and an enhanced soundtrack with digital sound.

Unable to fight, she collapses onto the floor, nearly dying before Mitch comes and rescues her. Finally, after a year-long restoration effort by Robert Harris and James Katz, the film was re-released to theaters in its former glory in 1996. Birds attack her from all sides as she gazes at a gigantic hole in the ceiling. When Vertigo was re-released on film and home video in 1983, its critical fortunes soared. She grabs Mitch's flashlight and carefully examines the rooms, then cautiously treads the stairs, opens a door, and goes inside. Vertigo was not a commercial success when first released, and its critical reputation built slowly, due in part to its lack of availability: it was one of five films owned by the Hitchcock estate removed from circulation in 1973. Later on, Melanie wakes up with the intuition that something is terribly wrong. Vertigo was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Black-and-White or Color and Best Sound.

The power goes out, and Mitch gets a flashlight from the basement. Critics have suggested that Vertigo uses this recurring motif as a metaphor for sexual obsession, existential angst, liebestod, or original sin. Finally, a clamor erupts, and Mitch quickly checks and repairs openings while the rest look on, terrified out of their wits. Hitchcock used falling, and the threat of falling, in many of his films, for example Blackmail, Foreign Correspondent, Suspicion, Saboteur, Rear Window, To Catch a Thief, and North by Northwest. In this claustrophobic environment, the four spend hours wondering when the next attack will come. Those interested in Hitchcock's biography have often noted the similarities between Scottie Ferguson's attitude toward Judy and Hitchcock's own attitude toward his leading actresses; Hitchcock took an active interest in moulding the on-screen appearance of his actresses to fit his vision of the perfect blonde, and the sequence in which Scottie orders Judy to gradually transform herself into Madeleine is often cited as an example of Hitchcock dramatizing his own obsessions. 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 many of the key scenes Hitchcock essentially gave the film over to Herrmann, whose melodies, echoing Richard Wagner's Liebestod from Tristan and Isolde, dramatically convey Scotty's obsessive love for the woman he imagines to be Madeleine.

Melanie comforts Cathy and Mitch brings Annie inside, as the afternoon descends into dusk. The film's famous score was composed by Bernard Herrmann. Annie lies dead on her porch, while a terrified Cathy uncontrollably sobs. Vertigo is notable for the "Hitchcock zoom," an in-camera perspective distortion special effect created by Hitchcock that suggests the dizzying effect that gives the film its title. Melanie sets out in search of Annie and Cathy. It is believed by many that Hitchcock himself was primarily responsible for the character, structure, tone, and thematic richness of this, his most personal film. At last, the screeching of the birds comes to an end. When Taylor attempted to take sole credit for the screenplay, Coppel protested to the Writers Guild, who determined that both writers were entitled to credit.

Finally, Mitch ventures into the storm and brings her back into the pub, where a woman accuses her of being cursed. However, a number of elements survive from an earlier script by Alec Coppel, including the opening rooftop sequence, the Cypress Point kiss, the two visits to San Juan Bautista, and the famous nightmare sequence. 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. The final script was written by Samuel Taylor from notes by Hitchcock. The local fire department soon arrives to fight the fire and end up fighting the birds instead. Although the source novel's explicit references to the myth do not appear in the film, certain themes do, including the return of a dead beloved to life, and discovering the fatal consequences of "looking back.". From that vantage point, she bears witness to the horrific spectacle as birds rush at her from all angles. The film also alludes to the story of Orpheus and Eurydice.

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. However, Narcejac has subsequently denied that this was their intention. A trail of gasoline makes its way down the road, to where a man is lighting a cigarette. Francois Truffaut suggested that the novel d'Entre les Morts was specifically written for Hitchcock by Boileau and Narcejac after Hitchcock was unable to buy the rights to their previous novel, Celle qui n'était plus, which was made into the movie Les Diaboliques. 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. Taylor and Alec Coppel from the novel d'Entre les Morts by Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac. 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. The movie was adapted by Samuel A.

After fleeing the scene in a hysteria, Lydia begs Melanie to keep watch over Cathy during school the next day. Judy, however, has secrets of her own, and the movie inevitably takes a final, tragic turn. Lydia drives over to the farmer who sold her the defective chicken feed and discovers a gory corpse with his eyes gouged out. About a year later, Scottie, still brooding about Madeleine, encounters a woman, Judy Barton, who reminds him strongly of his dead love, and he resolves to bring Madeleine back to life again. From then on, things go from bad to worse as bird attacks increase, both in scope and in violence. However, Scottie's balance disorder renders him unable to help her when he is most needed, and Madeleine's apparent death occurs as a result. Terrified guests rush into the house as birds scratch, peck, and bite at them ravenously and without motive. Despite her trancelike, sometimes obsessive behavior and her suicidal tendencies, the detective falls in love with her and resolves to save her from herself.

All of a sudden, a bird swoops down and switches Cathy on the ear, and an attack on the party commences. Vertigo tells the story of a retired San Francisco detective, Scottie (James Stewart), who suffers from balance disorder and is hired to follow Madeleine Elster (Kim Novak), the wife of an old friend. As time goes on, however, the sound of bird calls grows louder, and a shadowy cloud appears over the festivities. The film is usually taken as a classic of the genre and is considered by many critics to be Hitchcock's masterpiece. A peaceful flock of birds make their way across the clear blue sky as Melanie and Mitch walk along the beach. Vertigo is a 1958 suspense film directed by Alfred Hitchcock. The next day, Cathy hosts a birthday party. DePalma's 1984 movie Body Double also featured many plot elements from Vertigo.

Opening the door, Melanie discovers a dead crow sprawled on the ground. Director Brian DePalma remade Vertigo in 1976 as Obsession with Cliff Robertson and Genevieve Bujold. Bernard Herrmann, who scored Vertigo, also scored Obsession. After dinner, Melanie returns to Annie's house and the two chat about their past, when a thud is heard against the front door. The flashing green neon of the "Hotel Empire" sign creates a ghostly effect for Judy's transformation into Scottie's make-believe vision of Madeleine, although the neon sign was replaced when the Hotel was re-named The York Hotel. 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. Judy's room is located on the third floor of the hotel, whose interiors were all created back in Hollywood. She then returns to Annie's house, rents out a room for the weekend, and heads over to Mitch's house for dinner. The York Hotel [1] (http://yorkhotel.com/) 940 Sutter Street: When Scottie first catches a glimpse of Judy Barton, he follows her back to her hotel and invites her to dinner at Ernie's.

Cleaning up her wounds, Melanie gives Mitch the alibi that Annie was an old friend of hers and she wanted to pay a visit. Across the street from the southern (most elevated) end of Buena Vista Park. Excellent views of the back of the building, dramatically situated on Buena Vista heights, are available from the Corona Heights neighborhood park. On the way back, however, a seagull inexplicably swoops down and claws her. Now apartments but looks the same from the outside. Then, she travels out by boat and stealthily enters Mitch's house, placing the present in the living room. 351 Buena Vista East: the sanitarium where Scottie recovers. 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). Across the street from the Fairmont Hotel, where Hitchcock usually stayed when he visited and where many of the cast and crew stayed during filming.

Outside, a flock of pigeons menacingly circle the sky. "The Brocklebank" (1000 Mason Street): Gavin and Madeleine's apartment building still looks essentially the same. 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. Coit Tower (appears in many background shots but is not featured). Hitchcock once said that he included it as a phallic symbol. She pretends to be the shopkeeper, showing him various species of birds, until she accidentally lets out a canary. California Palace of the Legion of Honor: the Carlotta Valdez portrait was lost after being removed from the gallery, but many of the other paintings in the background of the portrait scenes are still on view. There, she meets Mitch (Taylor), a lawyer that is looking for two lovebirds for his little sister. Cypress Point, a well known location along the 17 Mile Drive near Pebble Beach.

A young lady (Hedren) visits a bird shop on a Friday afternoon. Big Basin Redwoods State Park, although the film claims these scenes are from Muir Woods National Monument.
. Fort Point National Historic Site and the Golden Gate Bridge. It may be noted that in Du Maurier's story, the birds attack Britain instead of California. Eventually, the headstone was removed as the Mission considered it disrespectful to the dead to house a tourist attraction grave for a fictional person. In the film, various kinds of birds attack Bodega Bay, California, a seaside village. Mission Dolores, where for many years tourists could see the actual Carlotta Valdez headstone featured in the film.

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". Hitchcock had first visited the Mission before the tower was torn down due to dry rot, and was reportedly very displeased to find it missing when he returned to film his scenes. The original tower was much smaller and less dramatic than the special effects version however, so in the end the change could be considered fortuitous. The screenplay for The Birds was written by Evan Hunter, better known as crime fiction novelist Ed McBain. Mission San Juan Bautista, although the all-important tower had to be matted in with a painting using studio effects. (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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