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The Birds

USA 1963
produced by
Alfred Hitchcock for Universal
directed by Alfred Hitchcock
starring Tippi Hedren, Rod Taylor, Jessica Tandy, Suzanne Pleshette, Veronica Cartwright, Ethel Griffies, Charles McGraw, Ruth McDevitt, Lonny Chapman, Joe Mantell, Doodles Weaver, Malcolm Atterbury, John McGovern, Karl Swenson, Richard Deacon, Elizabeth Wilson, Bill Quinn, Doreen Lang
screenplay by Evan Hunter, based on the story by Daphne Du Maurier, electronic sound production and composition by Remi Gassmann, Oskar Sala, special effects by Larry Hampton, special photographic advisor: Ub Iwerks

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Urbanite Melanie (Tippi Hedren) comes to rural Bodega Bay to play a prank on Mitch (Rod Taylor), a man she hardly knows - and ends up as a guest at Mitch's kid sister Kathy's (Veronica Cartwright) birthday party. There, she and Mitch get close - when disaster strikes and ordinary birds attack the children at the party. From now on, the local birds gang up and attack everywhere, be it at a school, at a diner or wherever else, and it's unsafe to walk the streets anymore. It all ends with Melanie being holed up in the house Mitch and Kathy live with their mother (Jessica Tandy), and because the birds become more and more vicious, even this place has to be fortified. And even in here, they are not safe, as there is a hole in the roof that gave the birds access to one room, one room Melanie unfortunately enough chooses to inspect - and she is almost killed by the birds. The last images of the film have Mitch and family carry Melanie to the car to drive her to the next doctor, all under the watchful eyes of the birds ...

 

One can't deny that The Birds is a very well-conceived piece of animal horror: Hitchcock's mastery of suspense has already been sufficiently proven by the early 1960's, and he doesn't disappoint here, he certainly knows how to handle the medium like no other, and the special effects are impressive to this day.

Yet a well-concieved film doesn't necessarily equal a really good film, and the main flaws of The Birds can be found in the script: The film wastes an awful lot of time setting up its main characters, and while fleshed out characters as such are never a bad thing, the set-up story that takes Melanie out to Bodega Bay certainly is - there is simply no way you believe she would drive all the way out there to play a prank on someone she hardly knows. On top of that, the story of Mitch's family is dragged out way too long, undermines the pacing of the film, and seems to be made out of the stuff cheap soap operas are made out of. Plus, Rod Taylor looks way too old to be Veronica Cartwright's big brother and Jessica Tandy too old to be her mother. And speaking of Rod Taylor: He is not exactly the best leading man Hitchcock has ever had, and there is pretty much zero chemistry between him and Tippi Hedren.

In all, The Birds is still a well-conceived movie, and probably a classic as far as the animal horror genre - an otherwise rather classic-free genre - is concerned ... but to call this film a masterpiece or even one of Hitchcock's better films would be very far-fetched.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD