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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?. Marvel Comics has reportedly promised not to revive the "Son of Satan" name, in response to pressure from Christians concerned about glorifying Satanism. The caged lovebirds brought along throughout the movie serve as a subtle justification to the bird attacks. The success of the Omen series inspired Marvel Comics to revive the Son of Satan series, whose eponymous hero has the civilian name of "Daimon Hellstrom." Hellstrom, despite his ancestry, wielded his pitchfork for the side of good--at least until the end of his series, and a revival under the slightly-altered name of Hellstorm. One reason could be revenge/uprising. Until the Omen series, the most prominent Damien would probably have been Father Damien of Hawaii, who died while establishing leper colonies there--a saintly rather than demonic figure. 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. Its primary reference however is to the daemon of Socrates, which was a positive moral force.

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 name "Damien" sounds somewhat like the English "demon," and is indeed etymologically related. 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. This story was continued in the fifth novel, Omen V: The Abomination, which resulted in the death of that character. 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 solution reached was that one dagger could kill Damien's physical body, but not his soul. 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. This novel attempted to patch one of the Omen series' more glaring plot-holes, namely the question of whether the antichrist could be slain by one of the seven "daggers of Megiddo" (which occurred in Omen III) or only by all of them (as stated in the first book and movie).

Unable to fight, she collapses onto the floor, nearly dying before Mitch comes and rescues her. Its premise was that Damien Thorn's one-night stand with a journalist resulted in an act of sodomy, and thence the (rectal) "birth" of another diabolical entity called "the abomination" (presumably after the "abomination of desolation" from the book of Daniel). Birds attack her from all sides as she gazes at a gigantic hole in the ceiling. The fourth novel, Omen IV: Armageddon was entirely unrelated to the fourth movie, but continued the story of Omen III. She grabs Mitch's flashlight and carefully examines the rooms, then cautiously treads the stairs, opens a door, and goes inside. The second and third novels were novelizations of their respective movies, and reflected movie continuity (for example, in the matter of the name change). Later on, Melanie wakes up with the intuition that something is terribly wrong. Among the adaptations was a name-change for Damien's father (from Robert to Jeremy).

The power goes out, and Mitch gets a flashlight from the basement. The first Omen movie was based on a novel by the same name, also by Seltzer. Finally, a clamor erupts, and Mitch quickly checks and repairs openings while the rest look on, terrified out of their wits.
. In this claustrophobic environment, the four spend hours wondering when the next attack will come. The Omen spawned several sequels. 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. You have been warned.

Melanie comforts Cathy and Mitch brings Annie inside, as the afternoon descends into dusk. You are one day closer to the end of the world. Annie lies dead on her porch, while a terrified Cathy uncontrollably sobs. Tagline: Good morning. Melanie sets out in search of Annie and Cathy. On the first day of shooting, the principal members of the crew survived a head-on car crash. At last, the screeching of the birds comes to an end. During the course of filming, the production was plagued with a series of "curses," which the crew suggested were perhaps supernatural forces trying to prevent the movie - the plane for scriptwriter David Seltzer was struck by lightning; Richard Donner's hotel was bombed by the Provisional IRA; Gregory Peck canceled a flight to Israel, only for the plane he'd chartered to crash, killing all on board.

Finally, Mitch ventures into the storm and brings her back into the pub, where a woman accuses her of being cursed. Aside from the choral work, the score includes lyrical themes portraying the pleasant home life of the Thorn family, which are contrasted with the family's confrontation with evil. 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. "Hail, Satan!"). The local fire department soon arrives to fight the fire and end up fighting the birds instead. "We drink the blood, we eat the flesh"), interspersed with cries of "Ave Satani!" (trans. From that vantage point, she bears witness to the horrific spectacle as birds rush at her from all angles. The refrain to the chant is, "Sanguis bebimus, corpus edimus" (trans.

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. The score features a strong choral segment, with a foreboding Latin chant. A trail of gasoline makes its way down the road, to where a man is lighting a cigarette. An original score for the film was composed by Jerry Goldsmith, for which he received the only Oscar of his long career. 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. Early on, the movie boasted one of the most disturbing scenes in cinema as a character hanged herself at a birthday party attended by young children, with a look of joy on her face. 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. Nevertheless, the movie has chilled and terrified generations of viewers, which is the true test of time for a horror film.

After fleeing the scene in a hysteria, Lydia begs Melanie to keep watch over Cathy during school the next day. Some critics contended that the movie's attempt to portray apocalyptic symbology lacked a scholarly understanding of actual prophetic texts, and was written more for popular appeal. Lydia drives over to the farmer who sold her the defective chicken feed and discovers a gory corpse with his eyes gouged out. The Omen was memorable for its chillingly effective use of symbolism, such as the birthmark of the number 666 on Damien's scalp, the effective uses of crucifixes and statuary for foreshadowing, and the wallpapering of a room with pages from a Bible to ward off evil spirits. From then on, things go from bad to worse as bird attacks increase, both in scope and in violence. Damien's family is unaware that he is actually the offspring of Satan and destined to become the Antichrist. Terrified guests rush into the house as birds scratch, peck, and bite at them ravenously and without motive. The story tells of the childhood of Damien Thorn, who was switched at birth with the murdered child of a wealthy diplomatic family.

All of a sudden, a bird swoops down and switches Cathy on the ear, and an attack on the party commences. Unlike the Left Behind series, this movie had no obvious evangelical intent and its reading of the prophecies is fairly superficial, using them only as a premise to unleash a supernatural menace on the hapless world. As time goes on, however, the sound of bird calls grows louder, and a shadowy cloud appears over the festivities. The premise of The Omen comes from the end times prophecies of fundamentalist Christianity. A peaceful flock of birds make their way across the clear blue sky as Melanie and Mitch walk along the beach. The Omen is a 1976 horror film directed by Richard Donner and starring Gregory Peck, Lee Remick, David Warner, Harvey Stephens, Billie Whitelaw, Patrick Troughton, and Leo McKern. The next day, Cathy hosts a birthday party. Gordon McGill, Omen V: The Abomination. (Futura, 1985).

Opening the door, Melanie discovers a dead crow sprawled on the ground. Gordon McGill, Omen IV: Armageddon. (Futura, ??). After dinner, Melanie returns to Annie's house and the two chat about their past, when a thud is heard against the front door. (Futura, 1980). 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. Gordon McGill, Omen III: The Final Conflict. She then returns to Annie's house, rents out a room for the weekend, and heads over to Mitch's house for dinner. Joseph Howard, Damien: Omen II. (Futura, 1978).

Cleaning up her wounds, Melanie gives Mitch the alibi that Annie was an old friend of hers and she wanted to pay a visit. David Seltzer, The Omen. (Futura, 1976). On the way back, however, a seagull inexplicably swoops down and claws her. Omen IV: The Awakening (1991, made-for-TV). Then, she travels out by boat and stealthily enters Mitch's house, placing the present in the living room. Omen III: The Final Conflict (1981). 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). Damien: Omen II (1978).

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

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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