- THE BIRDS is coming!\
Introducing New Screen Sensation\
- The green dress and the blonde hair is reminiscent of a parakeet. Seriously. Tippi is supposed to be a harbinger of the horror of birds gone wild. Her green dress also echoes the green color of the lovebirds she brings to Mitch''s sister.\
Pay attention. It''s a movie about birds. Tippi is supposed to remind you of a bird. She is vulnerable, brittle, flighty, colorful (in a birdlike way) and tenacious. She "ruffles the feathers" of those living in Bodega Bay.
- WAs Hitchcock respected in his day?
- Tippi should have had a better career too. Maybe if she had fucked Hitchcock. Nowadays though she looks better than her daughter and she must be 102.
- I was actually just talking about Rod Taylor with someone at dinner tonight.\
Don''t know why he wasn''t a bigger star, but I certainly have never forgotten his looks. I linked to him in that "truly handsome men" thread we had a while ago.
- The Birds is in no way the gayest Hitchcock film. "Rope" is a movie about homosexual lovers who murder a third man who may be gay himself. And "Strangers on a Train" is far gayer than The Birds. Bruno is obsessed with Guy.\
And doesn''t Johnny Aysgarth seem a little too close to Beaky Thwaite in "Suspicion"? \
And why is "Rebecca" described as "monstrous"? Mrs Danvers adored her and said that Rebecca laughed at all the men who desired her.
- I got to meet Miss Tippi Hedren and she signed my The Birds Barbie. It''s the gayest thing I own and I make no apolgies for it.
- She wears the green outfit as the story takes place over a day or so when she travels to Bodega Bay - she was hardly going to take several changes of clothes with her!\
Rod Taylor WAS a big star - one of those popular 60s leading men - rather like James Garner or Cliff Robertson - they were all more or less peaked by the end of the 60s. Rod was the lead in the 1960 Time Machine, one of the VIPs, Young Cassidy with Maggie Smith and Julie Christie, 2 Doris Day films and others. He seems to have been quite short though - but then Robert Redford also seemed very short when I saw him in person. Charlton Heston on the other hand towered over me ...
- I think this is one of Hitchcock''s best.\
And the "non-ending" is someone very spooky.
- Never thought of it that way, R2, but your post was quite convincing.
And I like the way you write
- I thought Rod Taylor''s career sank because he drank.
- I watched Strangers on a Train today. Farley Granger was a hot little number.
- R7, your Barbie is the coolest figurine I''ve seen all day.\
It''s even got the little lock of hair that fell out of her helmet bouffant!
- OP we had a thread on Rod Taylor a couple of months ago. You might be able to find it if you search.\
He is still alive, in his 80''s, and lives in Australia. His best role is probably "The Time Machine". You should probably check that one out.
- I think this movie is actually improved by the lack of superstar presence. Because all the lead actors had few other roles in famous films it''s easier to see them as their characters and not as this or that big name doing yet another familiar turn.
- True, R15. And that is a concept that many producers and directors could learn a lot from. Too much emphasis is placed on wanting to have known stars - when we already know them, we see them more as stars rather than as the characters they are playing.
- I love "The Birds" and I adore her green suit. The slight grayish tone to it is beautiful.\
Hitch had a wicked sense of humor, and I like to think he laughed as hard as I do at the rapid-fire editing and ultra stiff poses in the scene where Tippi looks out the window and watches the fire spread across the gas station lot.
- Oh, please, Tippi wore the green dress so all the bird shit wouldn''t show so badly.
- I think Hitchcock would have laughed hardest at r2''s explanation.
- OP, you''re right about the "repressed homo" aspect. All three of the female characters pinged off the charts.\
Suzanne Pleshette wins the award for the saddest, most pathetic character ever to have graced the big screen. It''s my memories of Annie Hayworth, lying dead outside her school house door, that I remember the most. You just know that her ghost haunted that place. Annie,\
was sad but tenacious. She wouldn''t let a little thing like death interfere with her obsession with Mitch.
- Tippi Hedren was truly horrified in that scene in which she was being attacked in the room upstairs. I think Hitchcock put her in that position because he had a sadomasochistic streak in him. When they were filming “The Birds”, Melanie Griffith was just a little kid, and he sent a tiny casket containing a message inside saying something like, your mommy is dead. Hitchcock used to think actors and actresses were completely stupid people. The scene in “North By Northwest” Cary Grant trying to run through a corn crop from an airplane flying down trying to kill him made Hitchcock howl with laughter. He thought it was hilarious that Carey Grant was getting dirty, and disheveled in his well-groomed attire and appearance tripping and falling in dirt.
- Young Cassidy with Rod, Julie Christie and Maggie Smith is on Turner Classic Movies Tuesday (6/8) at 12:45 pm est; 11:45 cst.
- Is Naomi Watts still tied to THE BIRDS remake or has that fallen through?
- Hey Op, I''m surprised that you described Tippi''s green suit as unflattering. I thought she dressed very classy. In the early 60''s, clothes were really elegant. Jackie Kennedy had a major influence on simple but yet elegant look.
- r19 doesn''t know what he''s talking about. Of course Hitchcock thought of her costume in the terms r2 described.
- One of Hitchcock''s dreariest films, though, if I recall, it was one of his favorites or at least one in which he invested a great deal of optimism at its outcome.\
For me, definitely one of his "off" works.
- You might not have noticed but there is no music soundtrack. Here is a scene. Today it would be full blast scary music. Here and throughout, none
- Hitchcock LIKED the color green, according to Edith Head (she did the costume design for several of his movies). It held a special significance for him. He considered the color green a harbinger of death, or at least the harbinger of death in his movies.
- [quote]And why is "Rebecca" described as "monstrous"? Mrs Danvers adored her and said that Rebecca laughed at all the men who desired her.\
Mrs. Danvers is the very definition of dyke drama.
- When I saw the movie as a young lad I always assumed Suzanne Pleshette was either Rod Taylor''s sister or a lesbiana. She has to be the most unbelievable rival for a man''s affections ever committed to screen.\
Oh and "bird" as many of you know is/was British parlance for "chick". The film is about those crazy hormonal women and the chaos they unleash because of their desire for Rod Taylor.
- Didn''t Grace Kelly wear a similar style green suit in REAR WINDOW?\
Hitch was very enamored with Kelly.
- r31, Hitch adored the "ice blonde" archetype. Kelly was his favorite. Once she became a princess, he had to find other actresses. So, we got Doris Day, Kim Novak, Eva Marie Saint, Janet Leigh and Tippi Hedren. Not too shabby.
- I assume that the idea was to make Suzanne Pleshette look as frumpy as possible so that Tippi could look better. If she had looked like a suitable rival for a man''s affections she would have took the focus off Tippi and her green suit. I still think she look pretty hot though, pinging into the high heavens, but still hot. \
Please tell me Naoimi Watts is not going to do a remake. I hope this movie never gets remade, it would be all scary music and cgi.
- Vera Miles was, surprisingly enough, Hitchcock''s replacement for Grace Kelly. She was suppose to be in the Birds but got pregnant and dropped out. Hitch never forgave her. I suspect Vera would not have out up with his psycho-sadism.
- "Please tell me Naoimi Watts is not going to do a remake. I hope this movie never gets remade, it would be all scary music and cgi."\
There''s already a t.v. remake from the 80s.
- I thought I read somewhere that he was bit in awe of Bergman and Kelly, and treated them relatively well and with more respect. It was after Kelly that he started playing more of the mind games with his actresses and got to be a little more sadistic behind the scenes.
- Agree with R33. Suzanne was very pretty. They could barely contain it, even though they tried.
- R34, wasn''t that Marnie you''re referring to?
- Ever have a Tippi Hedren moment?\
You''re casually walking down the street and then the shocking realization of the consequences of something you did or said play out in your mind like the gas station scene...oh, the horror!
- r34, Vera Miles was supposed to be in Vertigo but got pregnant and was replaced by Kim Novak.
- Remember the scene where the schoolchildren are in class singing a song while the birds are ominously gathering outside? I found that scene particularly chilling; the little children singing a strangely unsettling song unaware that death waits for them outside.\
The song they sang is called "Risseldy, Rosseldy." It''s an American variation of "Wee Cooper O''Fife",a well-known Scottish folk song about a cooper (someone who makes wooden vessels like barrels, buckets, casks, etc.) who beats his wife because she will not cook, clean or sew!
- [quote]It''s my memories of Annie Hayworth, lying dead outside her school house door, that I remember the most.\
What version of the movie did YOU see, r20? Annie met her demise on the front porch of her home.
- Love the hair, love the dress, get over it.
- the thing that bothered me was how TIppi''s face never ever emoted anything ever.
- My bad, of course you''re right. The years had shaped her home as part as part of the school in my head.
- Oh no one wants to see the awful Watts in a remake. Stop remaking perfectly good movies.
- Love this film, although I understand that many don''t. It''s title is plainly a take-off on Aristophanes''s play, but with the birds become malevolent -- for inexplicable reasons, although the films suggests some possibilities.\
In any case, Hitch was preoccupied with form in this era, and color, in particular, is crucial. See also especially Vertigo, North by Northwest, Torn Curtain, and Topaz (the latter two are particular favorites of mine). It''s not always easy to work out a particular meaning for the clothing of characters, and Hitch didn''t really work that way; but he likes clean, monochromatic costumes.
- Annie Hayworth had to die. He''s mine. He''s MINE!! PEEP. CHIRRUP!!! CAW!!!!!
R2 channeling Melanie Daniels all in green plumage and talons aflare
- Next time you see it, closely watch Tippi''s French twists. They appear to have had lives of their own. Within supposedly time-continuous scenes, they sometimes go from folded to the right, to the left, pinned tightly and loosely pinned. I can''t see the film without wondering who was responsible for the visual consistency of Tippi''s up-dos. Hairdressers must get hysterical when they notice.
- Kathy has to be the most annoying child to grace the screen. I wish she had been killed off instead.\
Of course the Mary in me loved that Veronica Cartright and Suzanne were Karen and Jack''s mothers in Will and Grace. I thought Tippi could have been Will''s WASP mom too.
- Holy shit R50! I never thought about that until you just posted that. They totally were Jack and Karen''s moms.
- Man, I had to watch the "jungle gym sequence" as we called it at least a hundred times for a film class. That risselty rosselty hey johhny josselty song was drilled into my brain like a dentist''s drill. Then there was Hedren saying "Close the door" to Pleshette in that weird girly little puppet voice of hers. Those of us in film class working on the jungle gym sequence in film class used to greet each other with high pitched squeals of "Tippi!" Which was both insufferable to everyone (including ourselves) and exactly the kind of smug in-joke that made other people want to kill us.
- If you like the birds, you have to read Camille Paglia''s (yeah, yeah...I know...) take on the film. It''s brilliant and hilarious.
- I love how annoying Cathy is! Nobody does annoying and histrionic and awful as well as Veronica Cartwright. When they attack her stupid little birthday party I always hope they''ll carry her off and drop her onto some rocks beside the sea.
- The Chicago theater company, Hell in a Handbag, did a stage version of THE BIRDS...it has great!
- R46- I remember reading that the remake, if it ever happens, will be more like the Daphne du Maurier short story that was different from the screenplay for Hitchcock''s movie.
- Originally Grace Kelly had considered coming out of retirement for MARNIE.
- Kansas City Late Night Theatre also did their version of both THE BIRDS and VALLEY OF THE DOLLS. One of the trademarks of the LNT was that a 60''s go go dance number was always added. Heaven only knows where this musical gay-extravaganza was added for THE BIRDS or ROSEMARY''S BABY. I missed those too but I did see Late Night Theatre''s take on THE BAD SEED. \
I believe DL''s very own Price L. was a dresser or for the company. Or he might have played the Sharon Tate role in VALLEY. Not sure if I got this right.
- R47, I love the use of color in "North By Northwest." Everyone and everything is grey, right down to the hair, except Eva Marie Saint. Bright cool blonde who, in the auction scene, has a bright red and black dress. It''s lovely.\
R49, I''m quite sure the hair changes were deliberate. It''s part of Hitch''s subliminal psychological formula. The hair and purses in Hitch movies are metaphors. It''s subtle in "Suspicion" when Joan snaps her purse shut; it''s obvious in "Marnie" when the film opens with a close-up of her purse.
- Didn''t I read that Tippi Hedrun had a nervous breakdown making this movie?
- [quote]Love this film, although I understand that many don''t. \
Who''s this many you speak? No one I know doesn''t like it. It''s a fucking classic that still holds up today.
- I thought she was emotionally exhausted by Hitch''s constant coming on to her?
- I didn''t find the character of Kathy annoying. She was just a child, a child in a terrifying situation. I thought Veronica Cartwright gave a fine performance as the poor frightened little girl. \
Now Margaret O''Brien...SHE was the epitome of the annoying child, in every single movie she was in, especially her psychotic "Tootie" in "Meet Me In St. Louis."
- Hedren was physically and emotionally messed up after filming the scene where birds attack her upstairs, R60, and I believe she claims it brought on a breakdown. Later in "Marnie" she was freaked out by Hitch''s behavior, slightly stalkerish, which some think was deliberate to get a certain performance out of her.
- Another recommendation for Camille Paglia''s book on "The Birds."\
She breaks it down, shot-by-shot, with no socio-psycho-sexual stone left unturned.
- I may have misremembered this story, but didn''t Hitchcock, in one of his films, deliberately but very slightly keep altering the color of a getaway car, so that it seemed to be almost a living organism? The general idea is the audience would become terrified without quite knowing why.\
As for the reputation of The Birds, it''s interesting to compare its critical acclaim (95 on Rotten Tomatoes) with the more guarded response of viewers (on Amazon.com, a slight preponderance of customers give it less than a 5 rating). I think it''s too intense and intellectual for a lot of viewers -- especially the richly inconclusive ending.
- "I can assure you I know nothing about their brain-pans madam!"
Tippi to that bird expert woman
- You could check out the User Reviews section of imdb.com, R61, to see that scores of people don''t "get" this movie and dislike it intensely. They may be dull-witted but there''s no shortage of them.\
I agree with you, R63. I think Veronica Cartwright is fine as Kathy.
- Here''s a description of the original ending for the movie.
- "I''m going to go through life jumping into fountains naked!"
- I also agree with R63 and R68, Veronica Cartwright did a fine job as Kathy.
- Hey, thanks everyone! This has been a fascinating thread so far. I have a new appreciation of Hithcock. Never picked up on a lot the stuff that''s been mentioned (I was 14 the last time I saw it).
- I notice that Camille Paglia''s book is part of the British Film Institute series. Why did they pick her of all people to write about the film? Last person I would have thought of. I might pick it up anyway though. Seems interesting!
- Rod Taylor, unlike Rock Hudson, looked like he knew how to fuck.
- Rod Taylor as he is today (with his web mistress)
- Rod Taylor wasn''t gay though was he?
- Don''t know if he''s gay but his daughter was a local news anchor for NBC for years and now works for CNN. Love her.
- "I think it''s too intense and intellectual for a lot of viewers -- especially the richly inconclusive ending."\
"The Birds" is generally considered a horror movie. A lot of people these days expect a horror movie to contain lots of the following: graphic violence and sex/nudity. "The Birds" contains neither (the bird attack scenes are scary as hell but there are no buckets of blood and closeups of shredded flesh), so there are some people who consider it "tame" and "boring." Idiots.
- He''s not gay.
- [quote] It''s title is plainly a take-off on Aristophanes''s play\
Actually, its title is lifted directly from the short story by Daphne Du Maurier.
- Rod Taylor played Churchill in Inglorious Basterds.
- Is it just me or did Jessica Tandy seem truly bland and awkward and seemingly out of her element in this film. If this was her early screen work, thank the Lord she didn''t get to do STREETCAR.
- I thought Tandy was slightly out of place too, although that may have been Hitchcock''s intention. There is definitely something ''off'' about mummy.
- Reply 2 is exactly right. Hitchcock was brilliant. Not only is she supposed to look bird-like, but she's bringing a pair of lovebirds with her. And Rod's character and her character were "lovebirds" as well.
Tandy had an unhealthy, ummm, attachment to her son. Think Carly and Ben.
The whole film is allegorical. You could write several books of theories. What does Tippi's character represent? What does all the "blindness" signify? What does it mean that the birds are trapping people in "cages" (homes, schools, a phone booth) and then observing them menacingly? All the women are "birds" in a sense (which was slang for women). Is it some sort of allegory about some perceived threat posed to society by women? Is it a conservative movie about the dangers of modernity, and the destruction of a simpler more structured life? Why did Hitch pick THAT song for the children to sing? It's an old children's song about a man who beats his wife. No kidding.
This movie followed Psycho (with its stuffed birds). In these films it seems as if there's some "woman-panic" hysteria going on. There's also a lot of repressed sexual passion, some of it rather unseemly. Both films have mothers who have way too much interest in keeping other women away from their sons.
So-what does it mean? I haven't read Paglia's book- I loathe her with all my heart and soul, but now I'm curious.
- Tippi was supposed to look like the lovebirds (wearing the green dress). Thus, attracting the birds to attack.
- I think it''s Michael Bay who will be directing the new version of The Birds.
- [quote]Didn''t I read that Tippi Hedrun had a nervous breakdown making this movie?\
Yes, one of the birds tried to peck her eye out during the basement scene. They had to stop shooting for 2 weeks.
- R86 it''s, Rosemary''s Baby, Bay has been linked to.
- The hubris of any modern action director thinking they can remake classics like The Birds or Rosemary''s Baby is just laughable - do they think they can do them better? They would all just be CGI effects.\
The Hitch and Polanksi films are of their time, capturing that early and late 60s vibe perfectly. \
I can see Clooney or Watts thinking they could be as iconic as the originals though ... and Clooney has already done a new version of Solaris - which wasn''t that wonderful ! \
I must see now what the idiots who don''t like the Birds have to say over on imdb.
- What''s even more hilarious is that Watts is being considered for the new MM biopic.
- Well I like Jessica Tandy in this, she wasn''t out of place. I especially like how she ended up "mothering" the motherless and needy Melanie at the end of the film when she had spent most of the movie being suspicious and jealous of her.
- Hitchcock once said that he wasn’t into showing gore in his films. He focused on the psychological fear. He thought it was much more intensely freighting. I totally agree with that statement. Sorry, by when you watch his films verses the suspenseful, horror films that are made today, they are really sloppy and they don’t have that timeless quality that Hitchcock films have. They need to see tons of blood and gore right in front of them to get scared. It’s easy to produce a scene in which someone is stabbed 500 times than an intense scene with psychological depth, skill, and thought. I think Hitchcock was genius. Myriads of classic films in general had a lot of innuendo, and you understood what they were talking about. You didn't need to see it right in front of you to get the point. Again, sex and gore. So many people on this thread made some fantastic observations about his films that I never thought of before. Thanks to many people on this thread, when I watch these films again in the future, I will remember what has been stated by your awesome comments.
I love all of Hitchcock’s films, but the film I really love a lot is Marnie. Man, Tippi gets, Mr. beyond gorgeous stud, Sean Connery. In addition, he was wealthy, and he wanted to take care of her. Honey? Marnie had it made by the end of the film, LOL.
I think Suzanne Pleshette was a beauty, and she was underrated.
- Pleshette on ''The Birds'' and working with Hitchcock. Starts at 6 minutes.
- [quote]one of the birds tried to peck her eye out during the basement scene\
Wow, r87. You aren''t much for details, are you?
Down is Up on Uranus!
- R93, that is not Pleshette, that''s Elizabeth Ashley!
- I liked Hitchcocks "Shadow of a Doubt" almost as much as "The Birds".
- Shadow of a Doubt is terrific, r96. The pervy relationship between Uncle Charlie and niece Charlie, and then all of Uncle Charlie speeches about fat useless women just begging to be slaughtered... the father obsessed with murder and the pathetic mother... and the setting in the sweet small town... it''s one of Hitch''s most delightfully fucked up movies. And it was his personal favorite.
- My favorite too, R97. Too bad Santa Rosa''s downtown no longer looks like it did in the film. Time and two earthquakes...
- [quote] I think Hitchcock would have laughed hardest at [R2]'s explanation
Wow. You know nothing about Hitchcock. Every detail of every scene in every Hitchcock film was exquisitely planned by him in advance. He storyboarded all of his films.
Colors were very important to him during his 1950s and 1960s epoch. The color green, in particular, was a color Hitchcock used quite often to signify eeriness. This comes directly from the theater. Hitchcock was a big fan of theater and spent nearly every night at a theater as a young man. Green is the color used in British theater to signify ghosts or something supernatural. When early movies came to be a form of entertainment, Hitchcock knew that's where he wanted to be.
Alfred Hitchcock was a graphic artist who worked in advertising in the early 20th century. He knew what "subliminal" meant. He wasn't some guy who happened to stumble upon some interesting visuals and concepts. He was a shrewd emotional manipulator. He used everything he'd ever learned from theater, graphic arts and advertising when he went into films. He spent his earliest filmmaking years in Germany, where art direction was taken very seriously in films. He worked with Murnau, who directed (Datalounge favorite Nostrandamus impersonator) "Nosferatu."
So if color was important to Hitchcock, then why did he make "Psycho" in black and white? He made "Psycho" in black and white out of jealousy. He was irritated that guys like Roger Corman were making cheapo horror films that cost little to make but brought in tons of money at the box office. He boasted that, because of his work in television, he could make a cheap horror film in a very short period of time which would swamp the returns of the increasingly popular horror flicks that were appealing to teenagers. "Psycho" was filmed like an episode from his television series, on a tight schedule and for less than a million dollars. Tony Perkins got the role of Norman Bates because he had been signed to a movie contract paying him for three films. He'd already been paid by the studio, which had no intention of making another film with Perkins, since his behavior regarding Tab Hunter had gotten him banned from sets in Hollywood. Hitchcock could care less -- to him, Perkins was working for free and that's all that mattered.
Hitchcock's boasting ultimately proved correct - his cheap little horror film blew every Hammer-like horror flick out of the water and and reigned supreme for years to come, until young directors, inspired by Hitchcock's "Psycho," tried their hand at making cheap horror flicks like "Night of the Living Dead," and "Halloween."
- Kim Novak''s roadster in VERTIGO was an unusual shade of green.
- Doesn''t Sean Connery rape ''Tippi'' Hedren on their wedding night in "Marni" -- and that''s supposed to be okay?\
Always had a problem with that...
- One of my favorite scenes from "The Birds."\
Hysterical mother in the restaurant.
- R93 - Great find. Thanks for posting!\
Yes Marnie was raped by Sean Connery but in 1963 a husband couldn''t rape his wife so the audience didn''t find it as shocking as we do today. \
It''s funny that actors all spoke with a weird accent in those days! And the scripts were so wordy, it''s especially noticeable in old TV dramas but it''s very noticeable in The Birds. Everyone sounds like they came from Oxford. Weird.
- "Risseldy, Rosseldy."\
I know he gets a lot of hate on DL, but Mario Cantone does a hilarious riff on The Birds in his stand-up act, including the seemingly endless repetition of this song. He also does an imitation of Pleshette, in her best truck-driver voice, screaming, "Run children!"
- I love Suzanne & Tippi''s scene when she stays overnight. "Don''t they ever stop migrating?" I wanted more Suzanne, I still do. I wish they release "Youngblood Hawke.
- Seagulls don''t migrate and anyone who lives in an island town knows that.
- [quote] the thing that bothered me was how TIppi's face never ever emoted anything ever.
She could barely act her way out of a paper bag. She was a lingerie model Hitchcock saw on a TV commercial.
The only two actresses who had major problems with Hitchcock were Tippi Hedren and Kim Novak. Neither woman was a particularly good actress. Melanie Griffith's mother, Janet Leigh, had no problem with Hitchcock. Only Melanie did and look at her -- she's a waste of space. If my mother was in an Alfred Hitchcock film and he gave me a coffin with a blonde doll in it for a joke, I would have laughed my ass off. Alfred Hitchcock was loved by American kids because of his morbid, offbeat humor. I watched his show from the time I was 7 years old (I was allowed to watch it in summertime, when we could stay up late because there was no school the next day). I had about 40 cousins and a hundred friends and we loved Hitchcock. He might appear with a hanged man in one scene while he introduced a station break; in the next scene he might have a noose around his own neck. There were ghouls and coffins and gallows on all of his shows as he made appearances to ridicule his sponsors.
That Melanie Griffith was too tard to get a Hitchcock joke should tell you something. She's an idiot. She ruined her face because she is an idiot.
- r107 = Antonio Banderas'' first wife
- [quote] scores of people don't "get" this movie and dislike it intensely.
I can see why. The film is dated. I love Hitchcock, love his films, love the "olden" days when people spoke in complete sentences in films. But for young people, that is old school and they just don't get it.
Some of them could get it if someone walked them through it, like in a film school class. But without understanding the time when it was filmed, the limitations of technology both in films and in real life, without having known people of Hitchcock's generation (my grandparents were his age), I can understand why they might roll their eyes at "The Birds" as a horror film. To film students, the triple jump shots in the phone booth are interesting, but to a modern audience they might look incredibly stage-y and overdramatic. We don't tell stories in that way anymore.
And what about the scene where the horse-drawn fire engine falls down? A horse-drawn fire engine in the NINETEEN SIXTIES? It's utterly ridiculous.
The woman in the bar and grill is way over the top. "WHO ARE YOUUUUUUU?" It was effective in the 60s; today, the lighting of her head, of her eyes, is a tad much.
And I feel sorry for the poor terrified canaries and finches being blown by a fan into Tippi Hedren. It's cruel to the poor animals and it is ridiculous to think a fully grown woman couldn't fight off tiny, terrified birds and would be brought to a breakdown by such frightened little tweeties. It is obvious that the birds in the room with Hedren in Mitch's house are pet shop birds being thrown at her.
I saw the film in 1968 when we showed it in our junior high school cafeteria. We charged 25 cents a person so we could go on a ski trip. We must have shown that movie 20 times and every time the cafeteria was packed. And we were terrified by it! The scene where the farmer and his wife are found dead at the top of the stairs always brought forth screams. Fake and real. We loved that movie. I still do. But by now, it is somewhat dated and we have seen more than a few spoofs ("The Clams!" "High Anxiety").
So, as much as I hate a philistine, I can understand why people of a certain age would find the film laughable, or overrated, or a big letdown. How many of you would have sat through Eisenstein's "Battleship Potamkin" as a teen or pre-teen, and understood what that film meant to the cinema without someone walking you through it?
- Suzanne Pleshette as the repressed lesbian, Annie, made me want to come out.\
[quote]Don''t know if he''s gay but his daughter was a local news anchor for NBC for years and now works for CNN. Love her.[/quote]\
FELICIA TAYLOR? Former WNBC giggle queen? I don''t think she even has a job on CNN anymore. Beware, R77, Felicia is not well liked at the Datalounge.
- R109- you are way too kind and charitable. Stories aren''t told "that way'' anymore because most directors are hacks who would rather rely on special effects and gore. Everything, now, is shot like a crappy tv show. we don''t encourage young people to think critically, to engage in critique, or to analyse the subliminal content of things. Mainly because most "film makers" today can''t carry anything off that would require any of that.\
I just watched a horror movie and was struck by how the movie had no internal logic at all. I mean...none. It was a revenge picture, of sorts (of course). Innocent people were killed, guilty people went free. The movie tried to have atmosphere, to be dark, and to convey a sense of style. It utterly failed. It was just a mess. It was very loud, and violent, and it was fairly inexplicable. a lot of the violence was purely gratuitous. It''s too bad- young people could spurn Psycho and The Birds because those movies were clever rather than loud and gory.
- Why is it commonly accepted that Annie Hayworth is a repressed lesbian? Is it the writing, the way Pleshette played the role? I dunno I never got that vibe but always pretend I do because I don''t want to seem like a bumpkin. \
So do you think then that she wanted to get it on with Melanie and didn''t give a toss about Mitch. I''m confused!!
- r107, TIPPI HEDREN is Melanie Griffith''s mother. Janet Leigh is Jamie Lee Curtis'' mother. You are a bit confused there.
- R109, faulty memory.\
The farmer is found dead in a room on the first floor. There is no dead wife at the top of the stairs.\
Unless that was his wife in "Night of the Living Dead."
- [quote]Melanie Griffith''s mother, Janet Leigh, had no problem with Hitchcock.\
HUH?? Mel''s mother is Tippy.
- R112, let me guess. You''re under 30, yes?
- R116 Guilty as charged!
- Yeah, Felicia Taylor sucked.
Rod Taylor was an asshole in real life. But he was a very good actor. And he was one of the first Aussies to do an excellent American accent. I always found him believeable. I loved "The Time Machine."
And Rod wasn't gay. He was one of those creepy, misogynistic men of the 50s and 60s who was always fiddling around with young starlets.
Some people think Hitchcock was a misogynist. I think he was a very conflicted man who, ultimately, did not take himself and his peccadilloes all that seriously. But he took his films very seriously.
He liked to play around with gender roles. You'll find all kinds of effeminate men and masculine women in his films. The amateur ornithologist in "The Birds" is a very masculine woman. In "Suspicion, there is an obviously lesbian mystery author at a dinner party. The killer in "Murder!" is a transvestite. Norman Bates also dresses as a woman. In both "Murder!" and "Psycho!" the transvestites murder because of love for/attraction to women. Bruno in "Strangers on a Train," seems fey. Max's sister in "Rebecca" is masculine, but Rebecca's supposed cousin/lover, seems archly gay.
Remember, movie codes were very strict in those days. It was kind of surprising that he could put those characters in his films and get away with it. He was ecstatic when he was able to get a toilet past the censor in "Psycho." It had never been done before. Of course, he put Janet Leigh in a black bra to distract the censor while he showed a toilet in the background of the scene where Janet Leigh and her bf had just fucked in a hotel room on her lunch hour.
Mothers are a problem in Hitchcock films. Mrs Bates. Mitch's mother in "The Birds." Claude Raines's mother in "Notorious" is a cold-blooded killer. In "Shadow of a Doubt," Charlie's mother willfully ignores danger signs about her brother for years and completely ignores the danger her daughter is in. She knows Uncle Charley "changed" after his accident. She should be more aware of his behavior in relation to her children.
I really don't think there is anyone in cinema as rich in complexity and story-telling as Hitchcock. But I do believe he needs to be explained to a younger generation who don't have experience in the times during which he filmed his movies. It was a long time ago, when sensibilities were different. Some of us can directly relate to that. The homes I see in his films look like my grandparents' home. Lace, wallpaper, tschotschkes. A young person without an understanding of a world before cellphones and 24 hour cable television might not understand "Rear Window." Why is that guy watching his neighbors when he could be looking at porn? Downloading Netflix? Texting his friends? Surfing the net?
I remember the first Hitchcock film I ever saw. It was "Sabotage" and it was on tv on a rainy Saturday morning. I watched as a little boy attended a parade while a clock ticked away. His sister's husband had told him not to waste time, but to deliver the package by one o'clock. He got on a bus. The clocked ticked and blam -- one o'clock -- the bus exploded. I was shocked! NOBODY killed children in movies! My mother told me that people literally fainted in movie theaters when that was shown in the 1930s. (Later, the movie The Untouchables filmed a sort of salute to Hitchcock when they showed a little girl delivering the same kind of "package" and suffering the same fate as the boy in "Sabotage")
I was hooked.
- [quote]we don''t encourage young people to think critically, to engage in critique, or to analyse the subliminal content of things. \
Comic Book Guy - King of the Geeks
- [quote] I just watched a horror movie and was struck by how the movie had no internal logic at all.\
Movies today are filmed for an international audience. There is not a lot of plot because in order to convey plot, you need language. They don''t want to pay translators in Manila and Berlin and Dubai and Tokyo and Calcutta and Montreal (French and English, please!) and Africa (Afrikaans and English and French and Bantu and gawd knows what else), etc. Big, loud bangs and lots of bloody screaming are the way to go these days. You will never again see the cozy films of the 1930s-early 1990s that you watched on TV or in movie theaters any more than you will find hundreds of thousands of first world people working in decent-paying factory jobs. \
Those days are long gone and are never coming back.
- Snapped purses are symbols of tight vaginas.
- R112/116, a little butchiness goes a long way in old movies. \
Look closely. The Annie character is a woman willing to live a loveless life while pining over the man she will never have to have. This is after an affair -- or maybe NO affair -- with Mitch. It has nothing to do with Melanie.\
Most all people were in the closet in the 1960s. Many were so repressed they didn''t know what their sexuality was.
- Annie seemed to me to represent a woman who was neither lesbian nor heterosexual. She was someone who needed strict boundaries and that is why she chose to live in Bodega Bay. \
She didn''t just repress sexuality, she also repressed fun, nightlife, interesting people, movies, TV, parties, companionship of any kind. Even church. Annie''s life was "school/home." That was it. Rod Taylor and his mother gave her an excuse to lead an extremely circumscribed life. She seems to be the exact opposite of Melanie Daniels. Melanie is blonde, rich, well-traveled, well-spoken, a bit of a practical joker. Annie is dark, does not travel at all, keeps her nose to the grindstone, doesn''t try to attract attention. \
Melanie confesses she doesn''t like her jet set lifestyle. Annie confesses she doesn''t like her lonely life.\
They are mirror images of each other, brought together by a man and his mother.
- Good analysis r118.\
But the toilet in Psycho is shown at the Bates Motel, when Marion tires to flush some torn bits of paper, and not at the trysting hotel in Phoenix.(How the hell did Hitch get away with that scene?!)\
That was a helluva black bra, though, and the white one was pretty smashing, too.
- You are correct, r123, but old maids and attractive women who choose to lead sexless lives is also *code* for lesbian. Hitchcock loved that kind of stuff.
- I don't agree. When Hitchcock wanted to insinuate someone was a lesbian, he showed her as masculine. That was standard operating procedure throughout his career. Hitchcock's lesbians were unmistakeably lesbian.
Annie was not lesbian in any Hitchcockian way. Annie was one of Hitch's doubles. In many of his films, he had a double, an alternate version of a lead character. Charlie and Uncle Charley were doubles. Bruno and Guy were doubles. Madeline (sp?) and Hope Lange's characters were doubles in "Vertigo" in the sense that Hope Lange (was her name Midge? Having a blackout here) is caring, maternalistic, common sensical, down to earth and good for Jimmy Stewart while Madeline is mysterious, uncaring, ethereal and a bad influence on Stewart's unbalanced detective.
There is nothing in Annie's character that suggests a Hitchcock lesbian. I think you are looking at Pleshette from a "modern lesbian" perspective. She has short hair and a deep voice and you think she must be a lesbian because she doesn't have a man. But she clearly says that she loves Mitch and that her love was thwarted by Mitch's mother. Melanie confesses her own "mother problem" ( mother abandoned her the same way Norman Bates' mother abandoned him for a hotel man from the east).
- Hitchcock never showed attractive women as lesbians. His lesbians were unattractive. He wasn''t very progressive in that sense. \
Also, in terms of doubles, Marion was a light colored, green and yellow lovebird. Annie was dark and brooding, like a crow. She was doomed.
- [quote] Marion was a light colored, green and yellow lovebird.\
Marion was a Crane...HAHAHAHAHA\
(I think you mean Melanie, Marion was in Psycho).
- There is a lot of subtext in the Suzanne character. A LOT. Keep in mind- Hitch had many gay friends. MANY. He was drawn to gay people.\
Don''t exclude anything from a Hitch character. There were always lots of layers, and it was all deliberate. He certainly had issues with women, and I think that was filled with complexity as well.
- [quote]And what about the scene where the horse-drawn fire engine falls down? A horse-drawn fire engine in the NINETEEN SIXTIES? It''s utterly ridiculous.\
I always wondered about that. I just figured it was because the town was still kind of backward. Was there some other meaning?
- Great question! horse drawn fire engines were retired in the early 1900''s. But isn''t there a lot about the town that seems antiquated and out of time? what about that schoolhouse, for example? A one room schoolhouse with a single teacher? There are peculiarities to this town- it doesn''t seem like the 1960''s in many ways.
- R126- that''s not correct. His gay characters were not always coded via their "masculinity" or "femininity". The older lesbian in the movie who gives the lecture about bird species is clearly coded- but mainly through her style of dress and appearance.
- That was Barbara Bel Geddes in Vertigo (remember that funny painting she made of herself in a sexy pose, but wearing glasses!)
- The horse-drawn fire wagon isn''t as unbelievable as you think. Then as now, small remote towns had to make do with whatever firefighting equipment they had at their disposal. \
I wonder if anyone on this long thread has yet mentioned that the birds themselves are a metaphor for any inexplicable disaster, natural or man-made, that strike the human race from time to time. Consider the Black Death that killed half of Europe or the senseless slaughter of World War One or the bomb that fell on the people of Hiroshima. We live in the shadow of the knowledge that at any time at all our peaceful existence might take a sudden turn for the worse.
- Metaphor or not, birds deciding en masse they will wreak vengeance on humanity is not too credible. \
But as a little kid I was suitably creeped out.
- Grace Kelly was supposed to make Marnie, but she dropped out before signing a contract.
- I like Hedren''s performance in both "The Birds" and "Marnie." \
She''s a lovely woman in real life. She said that she turned down Hitch''s sexual advances in Marnie and he refused to talk to her for the rest of the shoot and tried to have her blackballed in the industry.\
But she has a sense of humor about it and obviosuly loves to be part of the Hitch canon.
- R101, Connery''s character isn''t supposed to be a good guy, he really isn''t, but people often don''t realize that. I think it''s an indication of how messed up Marnie is that she ends up with a nasty piece of work like him, and Hitch knew how creepy it would be, even if it was an unconscious reaction on the part of the audience.
- Not just a child, R118, a child and a puppy! I was shocked, then I laughed my ass off. It''s so Hitch. On an interview with Dick Cavett, Hitch said that he regretted killing the boy and his puppy because the real horror was in the suspense of will-it-or-won''t-it, it doesn''t matter HOW the tension is released, so there was no need to kill for shock value. Still, I think it''s marvelous.
- No comments on Psycho''s shirtless John Gavin? He may be the only shirtless hunk in any Hitchcock film.
- The wonderful things about The Birds is that nothing is clear and everything is open to interpretation. Just see the discussion above about Annie - she''s a lesbian, she''s a double, etc...\
I think Jessica Tandy is great in this and she manages to create tension in almost every scene she''s in.\
For those interested, read Robin Hood''s essay on the movie. Much more interesting than Camille''s book. He refers several interpretations, the more interesting is a scene by scene analysis over why the birds attack when there is a tension / rupture between the characters.
- "Metaphor or not, birds deciding en masse they will wreak vengeance on humanity is not too credible."\
Wow. You''ve read this whole thread, yet you still don''t get that it was SYMBOLIC? Oh honey- not too much goin'' on upstairs, is there?
- Sorry, it''s Robin Wood, link for anyone interested. It is really a good read, and has several chapters on gay subtext on Hitch films.
- [quote] No comments on Psycho''s shirtless John Gavin?\
Big Republican. Was Ambassador to Mexico thanks to his buddy Ronald Reagan.
- John Gavin was the poor man''s Rock Hudson
- Whatever Gavin was, he looked good.
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_Ne5Lb2SiFHg/SHNzkW_5Y9I/AAAAAAAANkk/YF9YXFL_UVI/s1600-h/psycho gavin 01.jpg
- Two other of Hitchcock''s lesbians -- Isobel, a mystery writer and Phyllis, a woman in a suit and tie who dines with Isobel, her brother and the Aysgarths in "Suspicion." Isobel and Phyllis call each other "Izzy" and "Phil."
- Great thread!
- A symbolic interpretation of the horse-drawn fire engine is that it represents the sudden loss of man''s ability to harness animal power. If I remember correctly, the horses panic and the wagon topples. It''s a visual example of a reversal of the natural order: the birds attack, the horses go crazy and the human race''s familiar dominion over the animals is rendered higgedly-piggedly.
- Mrs Jeremy Irons was in a recent stage version. Apparently they intended to have birds onstage, but they kept dying during training.
- R149- GREAT observation.
- This thread is DL at its best.
- Just to come to Rod Taylor's rescue: As an early poster noted, he WAS a star, it's just that these days he is only known for his two best films: THE TIME MACHINE and THE BIRDS.
But he labored for years as an attractive supporting actor in A CATERED AFFAIR, GIANT, RAINTREE COUNTY and SEPARATE TABLES. All were very big films in their day.
He got TIME MACHINE because he was under contract to MGM and the film was considered a programmer -- not a top notch 'A' picture but a technicolored sci-fi adventure, that no big star would have touched.
But the film was a huge hit and he became a star from it. All the films I mentioned above show up on TCM, as does THE V.I.P.s, SUNDAY IN NEW YORK and YOUNG CASSIDY. With the possible exception of the last-named, all these films were box office hits. So were the two he did with Doris Day, DO NOT DISTURB and THE GLASS BOTTOMED BOAT (which often show up on the Fox Movie Channel).
There were also a clutch of pictures that are rarely seen on cable these days, but which were big at the time: A GATHERING OF EAGLES, FATE IS THE HUNTER, THIRTY-SIX HOURS and HOTEL. So he was one of the most popular leading men of the early-mid '60s.
The problem is that he didn't take his craft seriously, didn't care what movies he made as long as the salary was good, and was a heavy drinker and brawler. As early as THE BIRDS, you can see that alcohol bloat has made him thick across the middle (though he was still wildly hot).
I don't think he took Hollywood or his career that seriously, and he probably found the pressure to be a 'star' crushing and not worth the anxiety.
But make no mistake: he was Mel Gibson before Mel Gibson.
- The first picture I saw him in a was a 1968 African adventure movie called Dark of the Sun; I remember him as being very manly, (I was a pre-adolescent but already knew I liked boys) and there was a terrific scene where someone''s head was almost crushed by a locomotive.\
Here''s an except from the Times'' review:\
[quote]Rod Taylor clearly has a fine time as a tough, no nonsense guy who finally reveals his gentle heart by running amok, slaughtering a German murderer to avenge (co-star) Jim Brown and then, and this is the plot stroke, turning himself in for court martial. Yvette Mimieux, who mostly pines about for him, is O.K. ...The film is basically low grade. It seems to have more than its quota of violence about the head (heads held under advancing engine wheels and so on) and yet, at moments, it rises far above itself and becomes worth seeing and almost fine. It opened yesterday at Loew''s 83d Street and other neighborhood theaters.
- Taylor was someone who held himself back from his own potential.
- This is like the best thread I''ve ever read, I am so crying as I type this!
- Years ago I remember reading that Hitchcock filmed the horsedrawn fire engine scene because he once saw a bad accident when he was a kid of a horsedrawn fruit and vegetable cart and he always wanted to put a scene like that in a film. So he made the fire engines horsedrawn in The Birds. \
There was also something about "Frenzy" having an anachronism from Hitchcock''s youth in it too, but I can''t remember what it was.\
Spoto''s book on Hitchcock is quite good. Hitchcock''s daughter went around trash talking it for years, but I found it very thoughtful. He did not at all try to tear Hitchcock down in any way.
- You are making it up or misremembering, R157.\
There was no horse-drawn wagon. The fire engine was a regular fire truck of the day. The horse-drawn wagon had a load of chickens and eggs.
- One of my favorite ''Tippi'' images from THE BIRDS the still freeze frame reaction shots of her face when the car and driver go up in flames at the gas station. She''s in the diner.
- Oh dear...I mean to say, "There was no horse-drawn fire engine." \
Sorry. Dorothy Kilgallen walked by, and her prosthetic chin fell off--it distracted me.
- I''ve always wondered why the Bodega Bay shopclerk sounds as if he lives in Vermont. Had he just been sitting around in storage since "The Trouble with Harry?"
- I see Annie as very butch and if I were to meet her today, I would assume she was a lesbian.
- I laugh my bottom off when they''re attacking the children! LOL
- I read Daphne DuMaurier's "The Birds" when I was a kid. My mother was given a bunch of books from "Reader's Digest" which reprinted stories which had appeared in the magazine. I remember it was the first tine I had seen the word "abridged."
The story was very spare and bleak. It took place in the English countryside in late fall/early winter shortly after WWII. I remember the narrator said that the "weather turned overnight" and I had to ask my mom what that meant. The narrator is a farm laborer who notices birds gathering out at sea. There is an attack. The laborer believes the birds are deliberately flocking with malicious intent. He makes sure his house has working shutters to close during the next bird attack. He ascertains the birds attacks have to do with the tides. He can predict the next attack and works to quickly repair damage before the next tide.
He and his wife listen to the wireless. There are some reports of bird attacks. He realizes the birds are following inland waterways. He imagines people in London, pointing at the birds, enjoying the spectacle of all the birds as they begin to gather over the city. But the bird attacks intensify throughout the country. People say no problem, we'll just shoot them. During bird attacks, the farmhand and his wife hear airplanes and machine gunfire. When the tide goes out, the farmhand leaves his house and sees the postman lying dead on the ground. He notices there are no signs of life from his neighbors homes. There are dead birds everywhere. But there are survivors, and the surviving birds watch him from a distance.
The story ends with no explanation for the birds behavior, no prediction of how or when it might be stopped. The farmhand and his wife sit by the radio.
They await the next attack.
It was very chilling.
I also remember two more DuMaurier stories in the book. One is about a bored woman has an affair with a clubfooted photographer while on vacation. She doesn't believe anyone will ever be the wiser. She dumps the photographer and leaves the vacation area. She finds she is pregnant and
that clubfoot is hereditary.
The other story was called "Kiss Me Again, Stranger" and it was about a mechanic who leads a dull life, but falls in love with a girl who works at a movie theater. He follows her onto a bus and she tells him her stop is the cemetary. And an RAF officer is found murdered the next day in the the cemetary,,,
- R153, did you perhaps post to film groups on Usenet back in the day? I ask because your style of capitalizing the titles reminds me of several posters on Usenet years ago. Don''t mean to pry, I am just curious.
- Ever since I was a kid, watching that scene of John Gavin shirtless in Psycho, I''ve had a thing for handsome hunky men in dark dress pants and no shirt. \
Thanks for posting the still r146!
- In the 70''s I worked on a regional stock production of the musical MAME. John Gavin''s wife Constance Towers played Mame Dennis. Mr. Gavin was very nice, very pretty. He replaced Ken Howard in SEESAW on Broadway. Not a natural musical comedy star but yes, always beautiful to look at.
- Mark, I don''t want to go to jail, I''d rather stay with you.
- Sorry for interrupting, but I love threads like this which point out things and moments (and their meanings or interpretations) that you never noticed before. Threads like this make me rewatch the topic''s movie (in this case: Hitchcock''s The Birds).
- I agree R169- I plan to watch THE BIRDS again when I get back to town.
- There was a little question raised about the ads at the time the picture came out -- should it be\
"The Birds" is coming.\
"The Birds" are coming.
- Oddly, I think the film is far more interesting today viewed as a period piece, than it was at the time of its premiere.
- Worth noting that "Silent Spring" was published in 1962. "The Birds" came out the following year. Folks at the time were well aware of the connection.
- [quote]Worth noting that "Silent Spring" was published in 1962. "The Birds" came out the following year. Folks at the time were well aware of the connection.\
R173, "The Birds" was based on a story written by Daphne Du Maurier in 1952.
- It''s "The Birds is coming," just as it would be "Sex in the City is coming."\
I can''t do italics here but that would basically be it.\
I love this movie. Life - even movie life - was so different then. The way she makes her way up to Botega Bay from SF, finds the house, arranges for the motorboat and gets herself in there (heels first) and motors to the house always fascinated me. And for all her trouble, a gull pecks her on the forehead. \
Hitchcock was so good at turning us into voyeurs of just normal people doing ordinary things.
- Hitchcock''s own ads for the film said "The Birds is coming." One ad featured him smoking a cigar with a stuffed raven perched on it.\
Hitchcock hated birds, btw, and played several cruel jokes involving canaries. Me, I don''t like to see any animal suffer and I am amazed at things like little tiny hummingbirds migrating thousands of miles. Or just seeing a plain little brown sparrow take off and fly over the tops of the trees in my yard. I couldn''t mistreat an animal like that when it is so obvious that I have so much power over it. Bad karma that is.
Like schoolboys pulling the wings off flies, so are we to the gods.
- r176, you only have "so much power over it" if you can catch the little fucker.
- Canaries are in cages, r 177. Hitchcock bought them at a pet shop. \
And people shoot birds all the time. They don''t need to catch them to kill them. And suburbanites let their cats out to finish off the little fuckers.
- Context, people. This was the early ''60s. If a grown man gave two seconds'' thought to how a bird felt or the trauma it went through, they''d lock him up.\
How well I remember those days.
- R174- he''s talking about the book that brought "ecology" and environmental concerns into the public consciousness.
- Hitchcock gave not a toss for "Silent Spring" and couldn't care less about DDT and birds. He based his movie on a 1952 novelette. He just wanted to make a horror movie about birds attacking people. He didn't like birds, found them to be a harbinger of death (he was AngloIrish and the old Irish believed if a bird flew in your house, someone known to the people in the household would soon die). He fully admitted there was no meaning to the movie at all, except for what you saw -- that birds were attacking people and it was scary.
The novelette and the movie are very different, but the ending to both is this - nobody knows why the birds are attacking and nobody knows if it will ever stop.
There are small hints in the novelette that people believe god is punishing them for inventing airplanes and then flying them as instruments of mass death during WWII. That it was unnatural for man to be killing from the sky and that is why the birds are attacking. That birds fly because they were created by god to fly, they are the natural rulers of the sky, and god has now programmed them to kill the humans who so presumptively took the act of flying and turned it an act of mass murder.
- I thought this movie was hilarious.
- Hitchcock knew how to play off of contemporary anxieties, R181. "Silent Spring" was relevant because it first brought home to people how human activity was increasingly hostile to the environment; and "The Birds" showed nature fighting back, in a spooky and terrifying way. It didn''t take a genius to link the two together. Hitchcock''s own opinions about the film are of no consequence whatsoever.\
Here''s a Polish advertisement for the film. The image is terrifying in its own right.
- "I thought this movie was hilarious."\
If you find this movie "hilarious" I suggest you schedule an appointment with a good psychiatrist because you are one sick fuck.
- Most everyone who wasn''t a young kid, teen or twenty-something when "The Birds" was released finds it hilarious because it was hokey and Hitch was becomong outdated, i.e., out of touch with the fashions of popular culture, at the time. There are glaring anachronisms in the film. And the special effects are corny now -- you can see the mechanical birds, you can tell they are "running down the street" in front of a screen. Us old folk still love it, though.\
Speaking of films based on Daphne duMaurier stories which made us laugh, I''d heard for years about how frightening "Don''t Look Now," was and what a shock the surprise ending gave everyone. I finally saw it a few years ago and laughed my ass off at the ending.
It Takes All Kinds
- I wonder if that Polish ad was for the original release or for a subsequent re-release, or part of a festival.
- I have that Camille Paglia book, I love how she dissects Tippi Hedren''s lighting of the cigarette in front of the jungle gym. If memory serves me correctly Hitchcock had her study the way courtesans were trained to light their cigs in a slutty yet lady like fashion.
- The word "hilarious" - is that really EXACTLY what you mean? Like CADDYSHACK?
- "novelette" - ??\
It''s called a novella you moron.
- The Birds is "hilarious?" Did you find Psycho a belly laugh as well? Did the part where she is stabbed in the shower elicit big yuk yuks?\
- "Novelette" is campier, R189. Which fits Daphne du Maurier, "The Birds", and this thread.
- "If memory serves me correctly Hitchcock had her study the way courtesans were trained to light their cigs in a slutty yet lady like fashion."\
If Paglia said that, she made it up. Hitch never collaborated like that with his actors. He would have told her exactly how to position herself, how to pose- but he wouldn''t have brought her into the process like that. He really believed that actors should be treated like cattle, and he behaved accordingly. I''ll skip Paglia''s book- I''m sure it''s mostly fiction based upon her own libido.
- Yes he did, r192. Suzanne Pleshette said point blank in her archived "official" interview about her career that Hitch did NOT give HER or any other seasoned performer direction other than blocking and basics. But, for a novice like Tippi Hedren, he would become "Otto Preminger" or George Cukor to coax and help them find the character and move them along. It all depended upon the performer. She also said that the "cattle comment" was so blown out of proportion. It was more of an expectation that professional actors in his movies be able to simply do their jobs and not NEED all that special attention. It wasn't a nod to any disrespect for actors. She says in the interview (which is on Youtube) that Hitchcock spent a LOT of time with Hedren to get a halfway decent performance out of her.
Hitchcock was not into method acting. That much IS for sure. He had his whole picture outlined in his head before any film was put in a camera. The whole thing. Sets, camera angles, script. The story he wanted to tell was storyboarded to the nth degree. He used his actors as technical "chess pieces" to tell the movie he already had shot in his mind. He was a more cerebral/visual director than one who was about deep character development. He liked to get scenes in one take, too.
- R193- 192 here. Thanks! I never knew he did that! was it at all connected to his, ummm, desires? The fact, perhaps, that Tippi was his "type"?
- ''Tippi'' bump
- With "Tippi" Headrinse as the birdbath.
- [quote]In "Shadow of a Doubt," Charlie's mother willfully ignores danger signs about her brother for years and completely ignores the danger her daughter is in. She knows Uncle Charley "changed" after his accident. She should be more aware of his behavior in relation to her children.
Hmmm... I have mixed feelings abut this. It's true that Emma Newton is dreamy and out of it most of the time, but it's because she's basically the soul of love, and incapable of imagining anything bad whatsoever about anyone in her family. Both her daughter Charlie and her brother Uncle Charlie seem to agree that this is a kind of special blessed state, and the greatest weapon in Uncle Charlie's arsenal is his threat that if he's arrested Charlie's mom will discover the truth about him. Two of my favorite scenes in the whole movie address this further: one is right before Uncle Charlie's speech, when Emma is trying to understand how the garage door could have closed on Charlie and nearly got her killed: at some level she knows the only rational explanation is that her brother rigged the door, but she's too good a person to believe that. And the other is her beautiful "forgetting you're you" monologue after the banquetm where she explains to everyone how sad and lonely her life is and you see why she has to see her family through rose-colored glasses (if she didn't, her life would seem unbearably purposeless).
Patricia Collinge gives a classic performance--it may be the very best supporting performance in any Hitchcock film (the only possible competition, as I see it, would be Judith Anderson in "Rebecca" and Barbara Bel Geddes in "Vertigo"). She's a silly, dreamy, chattery woman, but she adores her brother and her children and her husband, and they all treat her as special even though she's so maddening.
- I remember when I first moved to San Francisco in 1974 I went to the pet shop from the birds that actually existed on Maiden Lane. I think it was called Robinson''s. There were hoards of birds in there, all different kinds of finches, lovebirds, small parrots. I went there frequently because the place where I worked was close by. I almost bought a dog there a Seelyham Terrier. They were very expensive. I don''t know if they are still there.
- Broadway engagement
- [quote] "Novelette" is campier, [R189]. Which fits Daphne du Maurier, "The Birds", \
I didn''t find anything campy in Maurier''s novella.
- I thought you should know.
- When I was five years old (1966) my parents let my older sisters babysit my four year old brother and me so they could go out. The Birds was playing on TV and my sisters MADE us watch it. Then they sent us straight to bed and told us when we fell asleep the birds in the movie were going to fly out of the TV and kill us in our sleep.\
I got so scared from that I started vomiting and couldn''t stop. My sisters had to go to the neighbor''s mom and get her to help. They got in so fucking much trouble for doing that.\
Oddly enough that never had a lasting impact on me, birds are my favorite creature and I love the movie.
- People that find well made classic serious subject movies "hilarious" are pathetic. They probably laugh themselves silly when they see a person dead on the street from a car accident.
- The Birds is one of Hitch''s most overrated films. Horribly dated, with god-awful "special effects", even for 1963 (esp those tacky hand-puppets attacking Hedren), and crow sounds that don''t even remotely sound like crows.\
Hedren didn''t have a career because she wasn''t a very good actress (of course neither was Victoria Principal, but she would sleep with anyone, and did, to get a head, I mean, ahead).\
Taylor was gay (as has probably been mentioned) and as with others of his generation (Hudson excluded), that was a major obstacle for stardom, but the main reason was he was discovered too late...too old, too soon.
- r204 is full of shit. Rod Taylor WAS A BIG STAR back in the day. He was in such films as Giant and Raintree County when he was in his mid 20''s. He made The Time Machine when he was 30. His age was never a problem and he was also not gay. %0D\
Where you people get this shit is beyond me.%0D\
The only statement I remotely agree with is that Hedren was not a very good actress.%0D\
The rest of the stuff about The Birds? IT WAS ALL ON PURPOSE. Hitchcock WANTED those types of effects. He was a genius filmmaker. planned out the entire film, INCLUDING every camera angle, shot and special effect on storyboards before the cameras ever rolled.%0D\
And he was clearly smarter than the dimwit poster at r204.
- Sheesh r205, I guess the truth hurts.\
Okay, so Taylor was in some films in the 50''s. He''s not remembered at all for those films. The Time Machine was a relatively successful film, but his only hit was The Birds.\
Your argument that Hitchcock wanted the effects to basically look fake and tacky, is just laughable. But he succeeded in that regard.\
Hitchcok was certainly a great director, and made many top-notch thrillers, yes, all storyboarded and planned out the yazoo: North by Northwest, Rear Window, Strangers on a Train, Psycho, Shadow of a Doubt, among others. \
He also made a lot of crap: I Confess, The Paradine Case, Stage Fright, Rope, Under Capricorn, and the extremely overrated "Vertigo", which might have been truly great, were it not for his obsession with the vacuous and inept Kim Novak.\
The Birds is set to be remade, which should be an improvement.
- r205, Rod Taylor was a star, not a big star. He was a known working actor, But there were so many of them out there. It depends on the definition of "big" star. Could Taylor carry a movie or open a movie big based on his name? NO. not a big star.\
Also -- Rod Taylor, NOT gay. Pluuuuleeze. \
At the Lena Horne Yahoo fan group, they polled that Lena could have played the Melanie Daniels part perfectly. At least as perfectly as Tippi Hedren did it. (Other choices were Mrs. Robinson, Cleopatra, Martha in Virginia Woolf -- LOL).
- I never understood this movie.
- R206= blind and retarded.
- R204/R206 doesn''t know shit from shineola about film. He probably thinks the term paper he did on "Mamma Mia" gives him cred.
- So much jealousy in show business R210.
- Thanks to those who recommended the Paglia book on the subject of this movie - it was interesting and I never would have heard about it otherwise.
- [quote]Your argument that Hitchcock wanted the effects to basically look fake and tacky, is just laughable. But he succeeded in that regard.%0D\
Your own suggestion that a film as thought-provoking as this one requires drop-dead realism in its special effects just shows how shallow you are. The effects were not lame by the standard of their period. They were state-of-the-art. True, they are clunky enough in a few places to elicit occasional laughter rather than fear. But if you really think the spectacle of the bird attacks is the main point of this movie you ought to stick to JURASSIC PARK and the STAR WARS prequels. Juvenile fodder like that is probably more your speed.
- Glad you liked it R212!
- [quote]The Birds is set to be remade, which should be an improvement.\
Not bloody likely! The godawful Naomi Watts is supposed to star. I''d take Tippy anyday over Watts.
- That''s one of my favorite performances--Jessica Tandy in the Birds. She''s so cold and uptight. It''s fascinating . . .
- There is no reason to remake THE BIRDS. Why does everything have to be remade - are their really no more new ideas?
- FYI - The Birds is on Cinemax this month - including On Demand.
- "The Birds is set to be remade, which should be an improvement."%0D\
Yeah, like the remake of "Psycho" was an improvement over the original. You are such an idiot. %0D\
As for the special effects...you nitwits don''t seem to realize that this movie was from a time period where special effects were relatively primitive. What did you expect to see, special effects on a par with the ones you see today? Maybe you''re all just so used to seeing crap movies that are nothing but expensive special effects that you can''t appreciate any other kind of film. Yes, that must be it.
- Have any of you evaluated the dated special effects in "The Wizard of Oz" and dismissed that movie because of it?
- Uh, no R222, because for the most part, the effects in "Oz" hold up remarkably well, especially the tornado scenes, which basically weren''t surpassed until "Twister" showed up 50-some years later.\
THAT film is indeed a masterpiece.
- And who the fuck are you, R223--Andrew Fucking Sarris?
- Someone strike a nerve Tippi, I mean R224?\
Time for your meds dear.
- I was being sarcastic. The sets and special effects in "OZ" are absolutely crappy compare to today''s. But many movies are MORE than just effects, nitwits.
- The movie is indeed a masterpiece. I saw just a few years ago in a restored movie palace and the place was packed. Perhaps if the birds had broken out into tap dancing and song you''d appreciate it more reply 223.
- If they were to update The Birds, Christian Bale and Tea Leoni would be my choice for the leads.
- ooooooooo....I love Tea Leoni. But doesn''t she come off as a tad...oh I don''t know...stupid?
- Oh, gawd, r228 Leoni is even worse than Watts. The only way I would want Leoni in there is if she got eaten by the birds.
- Oh come on, Leoni has played the orphaned adult onscreen in that disaster movie. She did a better job than Tippi to boot.
- Anyone who cannot find the weird humor in Hitchcock's films clearly does not appreciate them. For instance, watch "Psycho" again. There is a wonderful moment when Tony Perkins says "mother is not herself today." Like all masters of the macabre, Hitchcock could laugh (and whistle)past the graveyard.%0D
The final word on Hitchcock is by Francis Truffaut. Read his work and ignore Paglia (a third tier critic who is no match for Truffaut or Andrew Sarris). Truffaut--a director himself--has remarkable insights into Hitchcock's work. You also might want to rent Claude Chabrol's "Le Bucher." In France, Hitchcock is revered and his influence even today is powerful (rent "Cache"). One more thing.%0D
The fact that Tippi Hedren cannot "act" is a strong factor in the sucess of "The Birds." She works more on instinct than anything else, and seems to land here and there with her acting. Everything about her works because she is not "acting" the way we would expect a Grace Kelly or Ingrid Bergman.%0D
Btw, a friend of mine swears that all the women in the film match up to different types of birds. I should call him and he can go on about that one, lol.
- Laura Elena Harring also does not act like a trained actress in "Mulholland Drive", and it works in much the same way as with Tippi Hedren in "The Birds."
- I always thought that Melanie Daniels longed for a mother. She tells Mitch in a broken voice that her own mother didn''t care about her. Mitch''s mother, though, was distant and wary with Mitch''s girlfriends, including Annie, because she was so afraid she would lose him to "another woman".%0D\
However, after Melanie is almost killed by the birds, Lydia not only bravely comes to her rescue along with Mitch, but finally accepts Melanie and holds her close in the backseat of the car in the final eerie scene. %0D\
So both Melanie and Lydia end up with what they were missing: Melanie has the mother she longs for and Lydia has another daughter instead of losing her son. The birds are satisfied and stop attacking (OK, the last part is a stretch).
- Could you ask them to lower their voices, please? They''re frightening the children.
- Hey, bitches.\
As I was driving through Bodega Bay yesterday, I spotted a banner atop the Tides'' sign: TIPPI HEDRON COMING TO THE TIDES! SEPT 4-5.\
I thought you should know.
- That farmhouse freaks me out more than anything else. From what I can see, it was originally a small house but was given a large extension that included a living room, a dining room and a kitchen, off the back.
- Always LOVED Tippis green suit. Very stylish and ladylike. It''s torn to shreds by the end of the film. \
Edith Head''s costumes for films could at times be stuffy and heavy, like her clothes for Patricia Neal in "Breakfast at Tiffany''s" (quite hideous). Other times she could be youthful like the clothes she designed for "Sweet Charity".
- Great link for old Hitch movies, online.
- Wow, r240. Thanks!
- "The Birds" is one of my all time favorite movies. Filmed in the spring of 1962 and release in April 1963. I'm looking forward to the 50th anniversary activities coming up. Tippi Hedren was gorgeous and perfect for the part. She had just turned age 32 in January 1962. I liked her green suit by Edith Head. Edith chose a green wool knit fabric that would snag easily for the attack scene. Tippi indicated she had six identical suits in production wardrobe. I guess this is standard procedure in films in case a costume needs cleaning or repair. Filming won't be interupted. I also loved her sports car, a moonbeam gray 1954 Aston Martin DB 2/4 drophead (convertible) coupe. It was owned by MCA studio executive Jules Stein and loaned to Hitch for the film. This car was recently for sale on the Internet by a classic car broker for a high price. It was repainted dark green. It should have been left original.
The color of the outfit worn by Hedren is called 'Eau de Nil; which mean 'Nile water'. Head knew that Hitchcock liked the color. I think that it's the same color of a suit Grace Kelly wore in REAR WINDOW.
If you recall, originally she was just going to drop the birds off at Mitch's apartment in S.F. but found out from a neighbor (Richard Deacon) that Mitch "goes home every weekend" to Bodega Bay which the neighbor tells her is an hour north. Melanie thought that she'd just make a day of it. Once she ends up staying over and talks Annie Hayworth into letting her rent a room overnight, she apparently went back to the general store. After she's had dinner with the Brenners she goes to Annie's to stay for the night. At one point she holds up a paper bag and exclaims to Annie, "my luggage". She pulls out an ugly heavy woolen nightgown. "That's pretty (looks sarcastic). Where did you get that, Brinkmeyers ?," inquires Annie. Melanie nods affirmatively.
- Even today, there's no place in Bodega Bay that a woman like Melanie Daniels could buy clothing - other than a tourist t-shirt of course. There are no clothing stores, the inhabitants must drive to Petaluma or Santa Rosa to shop.
Imagine if on the second day, she was wearing her mold-green suit with a tourist t-shirt instead of the blouse...
- Tippi goes there once a year and signs autographs; the proceeds benefitting her animal reserve.
Even at 84, she looks like a million bucks.
- Whatever Rod Taylor movie he made with Doris Day where they are in London, there is scene of him just in pajama bottoms that is definite jo material. What a man! WHERE are the men like that today? I am tired of David Beckham types.
- You're thinking of DO NOT DISTURB (1965).
DAY & TAYLOR were also in THE GLASS BOTTOM BOAT the following year.
DAY also made 2 movies with JAMES GARNER;
3 with ROCK HUDSON.
- [R245] thanks for refreshing my memory.
one of the cable channels seems to rerun Do Not Disturb quite often.
Hermione Baddely is also in it, pre-Maude, and she looks quite nice.
- Taylor was indeed hot as fuck in 1963. But by the 1990s he was a booze-bloated, rheumy-eyed, rosacea-faced old tossah (WELCOME TO WOOP WOOP).
- Someone had mentioned earlier that they were puzzled as to why he did not become a bigger star. I always liked Rod Taylor, his performances. What I have read though is that he became rather full of himself, difficult and those qualities didn't have the studios running after him by the late 60s.
- Rod Taylor WAS considered a movie star after THE TIME MACHINE. He had been an MGM contract player from the mid-'50s and had good featured roles in a number of big '50s movies like CATERED AFFAIR, GIANT and SEPARATE TABLES.
After reaching official star status he top-lined a number of big '60s films like SUNDAY IN NEW YORK, THE V.I.P.S, YOUNG CASSIDY and HOTEL. In those days a picture didn't have to gross $100 million domestic to be considered a success. He was in a number of hit movies, but except for TM, and TBs none are considered good enough to be well-remembered now, so people have the idea he was a two-hit wonder.
Even at the time, he was considered hot as fuck by women and gay men. And as a beautiful, hot Australian, he can be seen as the precursor to Mel Gibson. Like Gibson, Taylor was a rabble-rouser and big drinker (though not a known racist and crazy person) and the drinking destroyed his good looks by early middle age. But he was gorgeous in his prime. And famous into the 1970s.
- I think that shade of green was actually popular at the time.
Don't forget GIANT and RAINTREE COUNTY.
- Rod Taylor is GORGEOUS in this.
- Taylor was only 32 when this was made. Definitely in his prime.
Q: Is it just me, or does he look older to you ? IMO, he looks almost 10 years older. For 32, he already possessed a slightly matured, world weariness on his face.
- I agree that he looks older than 32, I think it's the creases in his forehead.
He probably lied about his age, most actors do. Or maybe he drank like Don Draper.
- I saw the green suit at a museum exhibit called "Hollywood Costume." It's in pretty sad shape. It doesn't even look green anymore; the color was more grayish/blackish than green.
Green was quite a symbolic color for Hitchcock. I remember "Vertigo"; when Judy is transformed back into Madeleine via a new hair color and hairstyle and grey suit she comes forth in a kind of dreamlike greenish mist.
- I don't know if it's true but I heard that several copies of the dress/suit were made for the film. Reason being that films are not usually filmed chronologically. Also, in case they have to go back and re-shoot etc...
- Please don't remake this. It's perfect the way it is. It was truly Hitch's last decent film. I think he made "Torn Curtain" after this with Paul Newman and Julie Andrews - it was terrible.
- Unless a film is being remade because the original was a
* a silent movie and now we have sound
* original was made before 1939 and the dialogue and/or delivery is antiquated;
I cannot cite a single remake that was better than the original.
- R258, The Ten Commandments?
You think that one of those versions made after the one in 1956 was better ? Which one ?
- Sorry R260, I was dating myself. I was referring to the silent version, which was surpassed by the 1956 version. I forgot totally about the TV movie.
- The cable TV movie sequel, BIRDS II: LANDS END, was awful. The only saving grace was the beautiful Brad Johnson and his ever-present VPL.
- Ok, gotcha. That's what I was saying initially #258, that I can understand doing a remake because the original was a silent.
- I just came across a good deal on Amazon: I bought a collection with Rear Window, Vertigo, North by Northwest, Psycho, and The Birds on Blu-Ray for $32.49 (list price $79.98).
- Loved Rod's furry chest.
- Thanks R264. I plan to order this collection too. I was planning on getting the Expensive 15 disc set but read that these five titles were the only ones remastered for blu ray. Thanks again for the heads up.
- Why do you say that Rod Taylor became a difficult man to work with? Can you support this?
- Scenes that would NEVER today play out like they did then -
The one where Melanie, playing a sweet song on the piano for Mitch's sister, asks Mitch about his area of legal expertise, and he explains about a case where he defended a guy who murdered his wife. Melanie, "Why'd he do that?" "He was watching football." Melanie, "Hmmm? (I don't understand.)" Mitch: "She changed the channel." And Tippi and Mitch's sister giggle about that.