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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?. Apart from that, he uses a mobile phone to make the decisive call. The caged lovebirds brought along throughout the movie serve as a subtle justification to the bird attacks. In other words, the husband (Douglas) hires his wife's lover to kill her. One reason could be revenge/uprising. A Perfect Murder (US; Andrew Davis, 1998) is a remake starring Michael Douglas and Gwyneth Paltrow in which the characters of Halliday and Lesgate are combined. 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. There is also some police inspector around, and the setting is also very British.

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 the end, the baddie turns out to be her own husband (Harrison), too. 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. In Midnight Lace, another thriller, a woman (Day) receives harassing telephone calls that escalate until she is in physical danger. 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. Dial M for Murder must not be confused with a film with a similar setting and subject-matter, Midnight Lace (US; David Miller, 1960), starring Rex Harrison and Doris Day. 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. We can see Hitchcock in a black-and-white reunion photograph sitting at a banquet table among former students and faculty.

Unable to fight, she collapses onto the floor, nearly dying before Mitch comes and rescues her. The angle of the camera is also of interest (several times shot from the ceiling, a sort of bird's eye view). Birds attack her from all sides as she gazes at a gigantic hole in the ceiling. Most of the action is restricted to a single set. She grabs Mitch's flashlight and carefully examines the rooms, then cautiously treads the stairs, opens a door, and goes inside. Apart from a few short outdoor shots—Tony Wendice approaching and leaving his flat etc.—the claustrophobic atmosphere of other Hitchcock films (Rope, Rear Window) can also be found here. Later on, Melanie wakes up with the intuition that something is terribly wrong. Tony's wife being sentenced to death is altogether missing from the stage play; it is only reported.

The power goes out, and Mitch gets a flashlight from the basement. This part of the film is done in a highly stylized way: The camera is on Sheila/Margot, there are no props (only colours), and the various people present at a trial are only introduced by means of voice-over. Finally, a clamor erupts, and Mitch quickly checks and repairs openings while the rest look on, terrified out of their wits. There is no real courtroom scene. In this claustrophobic environment, the four spend hours wondering when the next attack will come. This is a miniature race against time full of dramatic music, complete with a cut to the automatic telephone exchange. 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. It is already past eleven when he notices that it has stopped: He gets up from the table, hurries to the phone booth, has to wait there and eventually calls his flat well after 11 o'clock, at the very moment Lesgate is about to leave it again, believing that he has waited in vain.

Melanie comforts Cathy and Mitch brings Annie inside, as the afternoon descends into dusk. One of the finest scenes is when we see Tony Wendice at the stag party, slightly nervous and frequently looking at his watch. Annie lies dead on her porch, while a terrified Cathy uncontrollably sobs. A commentary on Dial M for Murder ascribed to Hitchcock goes like this: "As you can see, the best way to do it is with scissors." This refers at the same time to the film's pivotal scene, in which Grace Kelly stabs her would-be murderer with a pair of scissors, and to the clever editing which is a hallmark of his movies. Melanie sets out in search of Annie and Cathy. It's one of the top-ten movie images ever.). At last, the screeching of the birds comes to an end. (A movie-poster producer or other image-vendor should offer a still of Hubbard's quiet private smile in that scene for sale.

Finally, Mitch ventures into the storm and brings her back into the pub, where a woman accuses her of being cursed. The modesty of Hubbard's victory dance, plus its being hidden from public view, makes it more attractive than those other gestures, because it's less likely to lead to subsequent hubris. 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. This gesture is the understated British equivalent of the victorious American gunfighter's gesture of coolly blowing smoke away from his gun-barrel, or of the victorious Greek (Perseus) triumphantly holding aloft the Gorgon's severed head. The local fire department soon arrives to fight the fire and end up fighting the birds instead. He permits himself a small smile of satisfaction at having confounded a particularly knavish trick, and absent-mindedly removes a tiny comb from his pocket and smoothes his mustache with it, giving the impression of mildly patting himself on the back. From that vantage point, she bears witness to the horrific spectacle as birds rush at her from all angles. In the final scene, the murderer has been taken off and the happy couple has departed, leaving Hubbard, a Holmes who has convincingly impersonated a Watson, alone in the room.

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. When he takes the key from under the stair carpet he gives himself away. A trail of gasoline makes its way down the road, to where a man is lighting a cigarette. Some time later, Tony comes back. 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. She does not, so that clears her of any suspicion. 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. What Hubbard wants to find out is if she knows the hiding place under the stair carpet.

After fleeing the scene in a hysteria, Lydia begs Melanie to keep watch over Cathy during school the next day. Her key—actually Swann's—does not fit into the lock, so she cannot open the door. Lydia drives over to the farmer who sold her the defective chicken feed and discovers a gory corpse with his eyes gouged out. Meanwhile, Hubbard has brought Sheila to the flat. From then on, things go from bad to worse as bird attacks increase, both in scope and in violence. He notices that he is wearing Hubbard's raincoat and goes off to the police station to exchange it. Terrified guests rush into the house as birds scratch, peck, and bite at them ravenously and without motive. Now Tony's key to the flat is in the pocket of his raincoat, so on returning to his flat some time later he realizes that he cannot get inside.

All of a sudden, a bird swoops down and switches Cathy on the ear, and an attack on the party commences. Then the inspector, who has not given up the case yet but who pretends he has, uses his final trick: He says good-bye and deliberately takes Tony's raincoat instead of his own. As time goes on, however, the sound of bird calls grows louder, and a shadowy cloud appears over the festivities. Pressed for an answer, Tony manages a final impromptu lie in front of both Max and the police: He tells them this is the money Sheila had ready when she met Swann but that she changed her mind and killed him instead of paying him off. A peaceful flock of birds make their way across the clear blue sky as Melanie and Mitch walk along the beach. This is when Max discovers Tony's attaché case filled with the remaining one pound notes. The next day, Cathy hosts a birthday party. Then Inspector Hubbard arrives at the flat again, allegedly to ask Tony about the money he has been spending lately.

Opening the door, Melanie discovers a dead crow sprawled on the ground. Max argues that all this could be altered, and that Tony could put all the blame on himself, claiming that it was he who had done all that. After dinner, Melanie returns to Annie's house and the two chat about their past, when a thud is heard against the front door. Max argues that during Sheila's trial all arguments revolved around three things only: (1) Max's letter found on Swann; (2) the fact that no key was found on Swann (and that there was no forced entry either); and (3) Sheila's stocking. 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. On the day before Sheila's execution Max visits Tony to propose a very unusual thing to him: Rather than seeing his wife hanged, he could come up with a completely new story, confess at the last minute that he hired Swann to kill his wife and save her life by going to prison for some years himself instead. Ironically, Max has come up with exactly what Tony ACTUALLY did. She then returns to Annie's house, rents out a room for the weekend, and heads over to Mitch's house for dinner. They do, but Tony is not aware of it.

Cleaning up her wounds, Melanie gives Mitch the alibi that Annie was an old friend of hers and she wanted to pay a visit. There are two things Tony has not reckoned with: (a) that Swann replaced the key under the stair carpet immediately after using it rather than when leaving the flat again and that, accordingly, the key Tony takes out of the dead man's pocket is the key to Swann's own flat; and (b) that getting rid of £1,000 in cash (the money he would have paid to Swann, which he does not have to now that he is dead) by paying bills here, there and all over the place is a conspicuous thing to do bound to be investigated by the police. On the way back, however, a seagull inexplicably swoops down and claws her. Soon Sheila is seen as the main suspect, arrested, and eventually tried. Then, she travels out by boat and stealthily enters Mitch's house, placing the present in the living room. Also, he extracts Sheila's key (he thinks) from one of Swann's pockets and puts it back into his wife's handbag. 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). For another, before the police arrive at the scene of the crime, he puts Max's letter into one of the inside pockets of the dead man's suit—which will go to show that he actually was blackmailing Sheila.

Outside, a flock of pigeons menacingly circle the sky. For one thing, he hides Swann's scarf (in the film, he burns it in the fireplace), replaces it with one of Sheila's stockings from her mending basket and hides the other stocking beneath the blotter on the desk. 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. In the course of the police investigations, led by Inspector Hubbard (John Williams), Tony succeeds in cunningly and artfully planting clues in a way that gets his unsuspecting wife deeper and deeper into trouble. She pretends to be the shopkeeper, showing him various species of birds, until she accidentally lets out a canary. This would mean that she will be hanged, and that he will inherit her money after all. There, she meets Mitch (Taylor), a lawyer that is looking for two lovebirds for his little sister. By now it has been established that Swann came in through the hall door rather than the French windows leading into the garden, as his shoes are not dirty.

A young lady (Hedren) visits a bird shop on a Friday afternoon. And this is it: He realizes he can make it look as if Sheila had been blackmailed by Swann, that the blackmailer came to her flat in person and that she actually let him in with the intention of murdering him (rather than killing him in self-defence).
. Tony's mind has to work fast now if he wants to come up with an alternative plan. It may be noted that in Du Maurier's story, the birds attack Britain instead of California. Then they both find out that it is high time they called the police. In the film, various kinds of birds attack Bodega Bay, California, a seaside village. In his (temporary) panic, Tony tells his sobbing wife not to touch or do anything until he has come home, which he hurriedly does.

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". E.g., he could have showed Tony carelessly and emphatically spindling items onto it early in the film, and Sheila glancing at him and saying, "Watch what you're doing or you'll skewer yourself.") He falls to the floor and is dead at once. The screenplay for The Birds was written by Evan Hunter, better known as crime fiction novelist Ed McBain. With it on the desk, Hitchcock could "foreshadowed" coming events. (Hitchcock also adapted Du Maurier's novel Rebecca into an acclaimed film) about birds mobbing humans. (A more likely-to-be-on-desk and more credible weapon would have been a "spike", a common item used for impaling old bills, receipts, etc., that would have had the penetrating power and lethality of an ice pick. The Birds (1963) is a horror film by Alfred Hitchcock, based on a short story by Daphne Du Maurier. When she does, the plan goes really wrong: Swann attacks her from behind—with Tony all the while listening in to what is going on over the phone—but Sheila turns out to be rather strong and eventually stabs Swann in the back with the scissors.

According to (Tony's) plan, Swann secretly enters the Wendices' flat shortly before 11 o'clock, hides behind the drawn curtains, a scarf in his hands, and waits for the telephone to ring and for Sheila to come out of her bedroom to answer it. When she has finished the tiresome job she goes to bed, carelessly leaving the scissors lying on the desk next to the phone. Sheila finally consents and for that reason takes a (seemingly) huge pair of scissors out of her mending basket (which also contains a pair of her stockings). Tony has a hard time persuading his wife to stay at home and stick some old newspaper clippings of his when he was a tennis star into an album instead.

This is true of Sheila, too: Instead of listening to the radio in her bedroom when Tony and Max are away, she tells her husband of her (own) plans to go to the cinema that night. Max, a writer of crime scenarios, says at one point that theoretically he, Max, would be able to plan the perfect murder but that it would be impossible to carry out any plan of his because in real life people just do not act according to other people's plans. Before leaving for the stag party, Tony steals Sheila's key out of her handbag and hides it under the stair carpet outside their flat for Swann to use. There are only two keys to the Wendices' ground floor flat.

Sheila will come to the living-room to answer the phone, and then she will be murdered by Swann. He has told Swann that he is going to phone his own flat at exactly 11 p.m. The idea is that the police should think that a burglar was surprised by Sheila, that he panicked, attacked and strangled her and left without the loot. For Saturday night, Tony has invited Max to join him at some stag party in a nearby hotel—this is how he secures himself an alibi.

Finally, Swann accepts the deal. There is no time to lose, as he has planned the murder for the following night. When Swann arrives at 61A Charrington Gardens that Friday night, Tony gets down to business very quickly. Under some pretext—he has to prepare an urgent report for his boss—he has Sheila and Max go to the theatre and, when they are gone, he invites Swann round to his flat under another pretext—wanting to buy an expensive American car from him.

Now he uses the opportunity of Max's return to London to carry out his plan. When the action starts Tony's careful preparations have been going on for a year. Tony knows that now he will be able to blackmail Swann into murdering his wife. He also singles out the perfect man to do the job: C A Swann, who now calls himself "Captain Lesgate", an old schoolmate of his who embarked on a life of petty crime already when they were at school together.

This is the money he wants to pay the contract killer with. In order not to arouse any suspicion, Tony withdraws small amounts of money for a year—always more than he and his wife need to live—and this way collects £1,000 in (used) one pound notes. He even watched them having a little farewell party (eating spaghetti with mushrooms) in Max's studio flat in Chelsea. Sheila has no idea that Tony knows all about her relationship to, and love for, Max, but he does: He went to great lengths to steal his own wife's handbag containing one of Max's letters, and then he even assumed the role of an anonymous Brixton-based blackmailer to find out whether his wife was prepared to pay any amount of money for the retrieval of the letter (she did, but he only asked for £50).

As Tony and Sheila have both made their wills, with each other as the beneficiary, Tony decides that after Max has left for America the time has come to act: For one year, he meticulously plans Sheila's murder. Eventually, they also stopped writing each other. for one year. Sheila is not in love with her husband though: She had a relationship with Max (called Mark in the movie) Halliday (played by Robert Cummings in the movie), a crime writer for American TV, but they broke it off when Max went to the U.S.A.

To please his wife, he has given up tennis and now has a job selling sports equipment. There is just one setting in the play of Dial M for Murder: the living-room of the Wendices' flat in London (61A Charrington Gardens, Maida Vale) (Hitchcock's film includes a second setting in a restaurant, almost halfway through the film when Tony is waiting for it to be time to call home.) Tony Wendice is a former tennis player who has succeeded in marrying Sheila (called Margot in the movie) only for her money, without the naïve young woman realizing that. Generally, Knott's work tends to focus on women who innocently become the focus, and the potential victims, of evil plots. in 1954, has only written one other well-known play, Wait Until Dark (1966), which was filmed in 1967 starring Audrey Hepburn as a blind woman in New York City who happens to come into possession of a doll filled with heroin.

Knott, who moved to the U.S.A. The screenplay for the film was written by Knott himself and is almost identical with the stage play (Samuel French acting edition ISBN 0573011028). The original Naturalvision system, which required two projectors operating simultaneously, has been rarely used in the film's presentations but a single projector 3D version was re-released in the 1980s. The film was shot in full colour "Naturalvision" 3D against the wishes of Hitchcock.

Dial M for Murder premiered in 1952 as a BBC television play before being performed on the stage in the same year (West End, June; Broadway, October.) One of the classic examples of a stage thriller, it has been revived again and again ever since. 1918). It is based on the stage play of the same title by English playwright Frederick Knott (b. film directed by Alfred Hitchcock starring Grace Kelly and Ray Milland as a married couple.

Dial M for Murder (1954) is a U.S.

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