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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?. Gruber hangs on by Holly's watch and so McClane undoes the watch causing Gruber's evil smirk to disappear into a flash of terror as the villain falls to his death from the 32nd floor window. The caged lovebirds brought along throughout the movie serve as a subtle justification to the bird attacks. McClane rushes to save her and manages to hang on to her, while Gruber aims his gun in an attempt to finish them both off. One reason could be revenge/uprising. Hans Gruber falls from the window but takes Holly with him. 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. With only two rounds in a gun hidden on his back, McClane manages to kill two of the remaining three gang members, including Gruber, and rescue Holly.

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 film climaxes with a battered and beaten McClane confronting Gruber one last time. 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 alerts Gruber that Holly, who wisely hid her marriage to John from him, is Johns wife by seeing her in a picture along with the kids shown on TV as "McClane's children". He deduces that she is an ideal hostage. 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. Meanwhile, an irresponsible TV reporter finds out about McClane's activity in the building and goes to his children's home for an easy news story. 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 FBI cuts the electrical power to the building, allowing Gruber's gang to bypass the last electromagnetic seal on the vault.

Unable to fight, she collapses onto the floor, nearly dying before Mitch comes and rescues her. In an exciting scene, John jumps from the roof with a fire hose tied around his waist. Birds attack her from all sides as she gazes at a gigantic hole in the ceiling. Fighting off a martial arts terrorist (Karl) by strangling him, John drives the hostages off the roof and barely manages to escape himself when Gruber sets off the explosion. She grabs Mitch's flashlight and carefully examines the rooms, then cautiously treads the stairs, opens a door, and goes inside. McClane figures out their plan which involves blowing up the roof with the hostages on top. Later on, Melanie wakes up with the intuition that something is terribly wrong. Eventually, after numerous deadly engagements during which Powell is McClane's only ally among the authorities, Gruber recovers the detonators after an ambush in a computer lab where John frantically escapes from.

The power goes out, and Mitch gets a flashlight from the basement. What follows is a cat-and-mouse game as Hans Gruber tries to implement his group's plan while recovering the detonators and simultaneously trying to stop McClane from interfering further. Finally, a clamor erupts, and Mitch quickly checks and repairs openings while the rest look on, terrified out of their wits. McClane has taken the detonators for the explosives that were in the possession of one of the slain gang members. In this claustrophobic environment, the four spend hours wondering when the next attack will come. The problem for them is that John McClane, upon seeing the incompetence and overly-cautious attitude of the LAPD caused by hard-headed police chief Dwayne Robertson, begins to fight the terrorists from 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. However, this was part of Hans Gruber's plan, and he intends to manipulate them into helping pierce the vault and set up their escape, as will become apparent later.

Melanie comforts Cathy and Mitch brings Annie inside, as the afternoon descends into dusk. With proof of a terrorist attack, the LAPD respond in full force. Annie lies dead on her porch, while a terrified Cathy uncontrollably sobs. In one last desperate effort, McClane throws one of the dead criminals on top of Powell's police car, forcing the cop to call frantically for backup as the terrorists scare him away with gunfire. Melanie sets out in search of Annie and Cathy. After killing two more members of the gang who storm into his room while he tries to break a window to signal Officer Powell, McClane learns to his horror that the cop - his last chance to get help - is leaving the scene. At last, the screeching of the birds comes to an end. Al Powell played by Reginald VelJohnson is sent to investigate the building and is fooled into thinking all is in order, because one of the terrorist is dressed as a security guard at the front desk and informs him that all is well.

Finally, Mitch ventures into the storm and brings her back into the pub, where a woman accuses her of being cursed. While McClane is fighting for his life, Sgt. 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. Unfortunately for McClane, Gruber's gang overhears this attempt and already have a member in the lobby to pose as a security guard to divert investigators. The local fire department soon arrives to fight the fire and end up fighting the birds instead. Only when the police hear automatic-weapons fire as three of Gruber's minions attack McClane do they respond. From that vantage point, she bears witness to the horrific spectacle as birds rush at her from all angles. Grabbing his two-way radio, McClane desperately calls for help from the roof, but the police don't believe him and are more concerned about him calling in another false alarm from the same location.

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. One member of the Euro-terrorist gang is sent to investigate and kill the meddler, but John kills him instead as they roll down a flight of stairs together. A trail of gasoline makes its way down the road, to where a man is lighting a cigarette. When he pulls the fire alarm, the gang detects it and call the fire department to report it as a false alarm. 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. John McClane manages to slip away and, shoeless and armed only with his police Beretta pistol, tries to call for the authorities. 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. Secretly, they are also planning to murder all their hostages with explosives in a cold-blooded scheme to fake their deaths in order to hide their escape.

After fleeing the scene in a hysteria, Lydia begs Melanie to keep watch over Cathy during school the next day. When the director refuses to give the access codes to the vault, he is shot dead with a headshot and the gang implement their secondary plan to break into the vault. Lydia drives over to the farmer who sold her the defective chicken feed and discovers a gory corpse with his eyes gouged out. Once alone, they reveal that they are not terrorists, but actually criminals who are posing as terrorists in their plan to steal $600 million worth of bearer bonds from the Nakatomi Plaza's main security vault. From then on, things go from bad to worse as bird attacks increase, both in scope and in violence. Then they take the entire staff of the Nakatomi head office as hostages and take the regional director Takagi for some private business. Terrified guests rush into the house as birds scratch, peck, and bite at them ravenously and without motive. Unknown to them, a gang of terrorists, led by Hans Gruber, invades the building and seizes control of the security and communication systems, isolating them from the outside.

All of a sudden, a bird swoops down and switches Cathy on the ear, and an attack on the party commences. After an initial meeting which included strained greetings with her boss (Joseph Takagi) and an oily colleague (Ellis), the couple have an argument over their separation and her decision to be addressed by her maiden name "Gennero." Holly rejoins the party while John stays in a room kicking himself for picking a fight with his wife. As time goes on, however, the sound of bird calls grows louder, and a shadowy cloud appears over the festivities. He meets her at her place of work, a large office building called the Nakatomi Tower, which is in the middle of a Christmas party. A peaceful flock of birds make their way across the clear blue sky as Melanie and Mitch walk along the beach. The film opens with New York City police detective John McClane coming to Los Angeles to reunite with his estranged wife, played by Bonnie Bedelia, for the 1987 Christmas holidays. The next day, Cathy hosts a birthday party. A previous attempt at a fourth Die Hard eventually evolved into Tears of the Sun.

Opening the door, Melanie discovers a dead crow sprawled on the ground. In Die Hard 4.0, John McClane will not be a cop, his eldest daughter will have a prominent role, and the plot may include themes of information warfare. 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 fourth film in the series, currently in production, is titled Die Hard 4.0. 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. The film has spawned two sequels, Die Hard 2: Die Harder (1990) and Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995). She then returns to Annie's house, rents out a room for the weekend, and heads over to Mitch's house for dinner. Many parts of the movie are very similar to the book, despite the years that passed between the book's publication and the movie's 1988 release.

Cleaning up her wounds, Melanie gives Mitch the alibi that Annie was an old friend of hers and she wanted to pay a visit. Leland must battle the terrorists and rescue his daughter. On the way back, however, a seagull inexplicably swoops down and claws her. The novel's hero is Joe Leland, a cop who is in a Los Angeles skyscraper when a terrorist named Tony Gruber takes over the building, with his daughter in it. Then, she travels out by boat and stealthily enters Mitch's house, placing the present in the living room. The movie is based on a 1970s novel by Roderick Thorp titled Nothing Lasts Forever, itself a sequel to the book, Detective, which was previously made into a movie starring Frank Sinatra). 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). It revitalized Willis' career, giving him more credibility in action and dramatic roles, and helped Alan Rickman become a popular player of villains in American film.

Outside, a flock of pigeons menacingly circle the sky. The film features Willis as a sympathetic hero with typical human weaknesses, unlike the ‹bermensch heroes typically played by Arnold Schwarzenegger. 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. It was a smash success that started a subgenre of films unofficially nicknamed "Die Hard in a..." where a solitary hero fights a deadly cat-and-mouse game against a group of villains in an isolated building or large vehicle. She pretends to be the shopkeeper, showing him various species of birds, until she accidentally lets out a canary. de Sousa, starring Bruce Willis, Bonnie Bedelia, Alan Rickman, William Atherton, directed by John McTiernan. There, she meets Mitch (Taylor), a lawyer that is looking for two lovebirds for his little sister. Die Hard is an action film released in 1988, written by Jeb Stuart and Steven E.

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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