Tuesday, September 30, 2008


The Birds-1963-Alfred Hitchcock


As a lazy, midwestern suburbanite I have done the unthinkable. No, it is not what might come to mind, such as killing or something involving cannibalism. And before you even think it, yes I have seen Hitchcock's 1963 masterpiece The Birds. what I have done though or haven't might be the case, does involve that film. Alright, alright, I can hear your screams and whimpers "Get to the point!" I know, you don't read this blog to read blabbering, in fact you don't read this blog at all(This is my attempt at a Rodney Dangerfield type humor...not funny? I know, but I tried).

To get to the task at hand, answering the question I brought up in the first paragraph. While having seen The Birds, and trying to write a well versed in-depth analysis, I realized something. First, I must tell you, I did not get the chance to rewatch the film at hand. I thought to myself "Oh, Shawny boy, you've seen that film a few times, why would you need to rewatch?" "Well..." I said to myself, "We cannot simply go off a memory, and while I do some research ahead of time, such as names, dates and some incriminating plot details, I don't want to steal anyone's thoughts before I am able to assimulate my own." Then my wife walked in and saw me talking to myself in the mirror, totally nude, except my tube socks. It was a weird situation. So, where were we? Oh yes, The Birds. So I wanted to have my own clear and articulated thoughts, while also not taking the time out to rewatch the film. Why not rewatch the film? What's the harm? Well, while I am not the busiest person, I do have work, school, a wife, a friend or two, and various other activities I am involved in. This isn't to say I am not dedicated to this blog. Or is it? I guess that's up to the reader. But I do love to watch films and I really love to write about films, but there are so many I have not seen or ever written about that I wish to write about and see soon. I really need to catch up on those unseen films, and while I am working on that had decided not to rewatch The Birds.

So I will present you with some talking points I had already made up that I was already planning on writing about.

-While I do think that the woman of the story that surround the leading man have a major purpose in the story, also giving the name it's ironic title The Birds (in regards to the literal birds and the woman), I do not think that this is the main theme that Hitchcock is investigating. I simply say this because the story does not surround the man(as most Hitchcock films do).

-One major thing I always thought The Birds was was a metaphor for Melanie's guilt for the things she had done in the past. She seemed to be running away from something to follow this man to some random island, and her guilt followed her, and harmed other people. After her guilt finally got to her(in the famous bedroom attack scene) they were able to get away. I could be wrong about this though, but it was the first theme to manifest itself in my mind after initially seeing it a while ago.

-Hitchcock's uncanny ability to bring us in and not have to explain any extraneous details to us (i.e. where the hell these birds are coming from and why they are so hostile). Which is something many of his worshippers do not seem to understand(for a PERFECT example of this I give you M. Night Shayamalan's The Happening, which had a great premise and had to give us explanation after explanation leaving very little to the imagination).

-The atrocity that is Michael Bay(Armageddon)/Naomi Watts(Funny Games)/Martin Campbell(Casino Royale) planning a remake of The Birds for 2009.

This is only the tip of what I wished to speak of, but as you can tell, I was planning it out a bit and just ran out of time and well... just time really.

I hope this read was at the very least somewhat enjoyable.

I will for sure have a Strangers On A Train analysis up tomorrow as well as TS's (Screen Savour) analysis of Notorious.

Definitely be checking out TS's blog because for the entire month of October he will be going way, way in depth with Hitchcock and totally trumping anything I have done here.


FilmDr said...

I could never appreciate The Birds as much as other Hitchcock films because I never found birds all that frightening, and Tippi Hedren lacks some of the presence of, say Janet Leigh. There are some impressive scenes involving the attacks on the school, and the diner. And I like the way the bird behavior is never adequately explained, but the film still seems to mark the beginning of Hitchcock's decline as a director.

James Hansen said...

Did you see Martin Henriks project that was floating around some blogs a bit ago? Fun conceptual project where he removed all of the birds from "The Birds"...some people think its pretty ridiculous, but I can't stop thinking about it. Either way, its fun to look at...


darkcitydame4e said...

"Definitely be checking out TS's blog because for the entire month of October he will be going way, way in depth with Hitchcock and totally trumping anything I have done here."

Hello! Deadpan,
Very nice! reviews covering Alfred Hitchcock's work on film. As a matter of fact, I have been reading your reviews as kind of a primer (or as if I were a student enrolled in a Hitchcock Film Theory 101 class) as I prepare to read a different... (maybe, not so different perspective on "The Master's" work on film tomorrow.)...perspective from T.S.'s writings about Alfred Hitchcock's films on his blog tomorrow. (Which could be referred to as Hitchcock Film Theory 102)
ps I don't think that his (T.S.)intention(s) is/are to "trump" your very interesting reviews about Alfred Hitchcock's films, but to "add" to your fine writing. (Especially, after I read his comment to you about Hitch's film Rear Window, but then again! I can't speak for him!)

Personally, I consider your reviews about "Hitch's films" a kind of, like a prerequisite which is required in order for something as to happen...)

Tks, dcd
Btw, keep up the good work! and "hang in there!"

Dead Pan said...

Filmdr---I can understand your plight, and while I wasn't particularly frightened by the birds I was affected by the way in which they attacked and how the people reacted. As well as by the underlying themes that Hitchcock always presents us with. I will say that this is probably my least favorite of the Hitchcock films I have seen, this or Lifeboat.

James Hansen---I have heard about that, but have yet to watch it. I can't wait to check it out though, should be interesting.

Darkcity---I wasn't meaning that TS was going to try and trump me, I happen to think TS is a very pleasant fellow. I think, after he read that line he probably shook his head and thought to himself "that kid is way to self deprecating" And now I'm not even sure if I spelled deprecating right. Anyways, While I know TS will have a great many insights and his will be better because of the amount of time he takes out for them and puts into his writing and viewing. I do think I have some keen insights, but understand and acknowledge TS because I think he is obviously better than I, and wish to point more people to his blog. Thanks for the comment, and encouraging words. Hope to see you around here in the future. =)

darkcitydame4e said...

Darkcity---"I wasn't meaning that TS was going to try and trump me,
I happen to think TS is a very pleasant fellow.

I know..you didn't I am sorry!...if I misunderstood you!.. But, I do agree with you when you say, "T.S. seem like a very pleasant person."

Btw, you did "spell" the word correctly!...and if you didn't so what!...it would have just been a mistake!

dcd ;)

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