The Birds (1963)

USA, 1963
119m
35mm film, Technicolor, 1.85:1
mono, English

An American horror film directed by Alfred Hitchcock.

Plot Summary

Spoilt rich kid Melanie Daniels meets handsome young Mitch Brenner when she plays a practical joke on him in a San Francisco pet shop. She gets her comeuppance when Mitch turns the tables and plays a joke back on her, pretending not to recognise her and treating her as a common shop girl. Looking to get her own back, she decides to hand deliver the pair of love birds that Mitch has bought for his younger sister’s birthday and travels to his home in the small seaside town of Bodega Bay. But en route to Mitch’s house, Melanie is attacked by a seagull, and before long the feathered population in the town are turning on the humans in a series of increasingly vicious – and apparently organised – attacks.

Credits

* = uncredited

Crew
Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock
© MCMLXIII by Alfred J. Hitchcock Productions, Inc.
Universal Pictures presents
Screenplay by: Evan Hunter
From the Story by: Daphne du Maurier
Director of Photography: Robert Burks
Edited by: George Tomasini
Sound Recording: Waldon O. Watson and William Russell
Electronic Sound Production and Composition by: Remi Gassmann and Oskar Sala
Miss Hedren’s Costumes Designed by: Edith Head
Wardrobe Supervisor: Rita Riggs
Makeup: Howard Smit
Hair Stylist: Virginia Darcy
Special Effects: Lawrence A. Hampton; Dave Fleischer *
Special Photographic Advisor: Ub Iwerks
Production Designed by: Robert Boyle

Cast
Rod Taylor (Mitchell Brenner)
Jessica Tandy (Lydia Brenner)
Suzanne Pleshette (Annie Hayworth)
‘Tippi’ Hedren (Melanie Daniels)
Veronica Cartwright (Cathy Brenner)
Ethel Griffies (Mrs Bundy)
Charles McGraw (Sebastian Sholes)
Ruth McDevitt (Mrs MacGruder)
Lonny Chapman (Deke Carter)
Joe Mantell (travelling salesman)
Doodles Weaver (fisherman)
Malcolm Atterbury (Deputy Al Malone)
John McGovern (postal clerk)
Karl Swenson (drunk in diner)
Richard Deacon (man in elevator)
Elizabeth Wilson (Helen Carter)
William Quinn (man in diner)
Doreen Lang (hysterical woman in diner)
Alfred Hitchcock [man leaving pet shop with white poodles] *
Morgan Brittany, Darlene Conley [schoolgirls] *

Sequel
The Birds II: Land’s End (1994)

See also
El ataque de los péjaros (1987)
Barbe-bleue (1972)
A Century of Cinema (1994)
The Crow (1994)
Danger: The Birds (1955)
Day of the Animals (1977)
Frogs (1972)
From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money (1999)
The Goodies: The Goodies and the Beanstalk (1973)
High Anxiety (1977)
Howling III (1987)
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
Last Embrace (1979)
Little Nicky (2000)
Maximum Overdrive (1986)
A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy’s Revenge (1985)
The Nutty Professor (1996)
Oskar Sala: Die vergangene Zukunft des Klanges (2000)
La rebelión de los pájaros (1981)
Saturday the 14th (1981)
Wacko (1981)

Extracts included in
1,001 Movies You Must See (Before You Die) (2014)
78/52 (2017)
Alfred Hitchcock and Tippi Hedren (2002)
All About The Birds (2000)
Halloween: A Cut Above the Rest (2003)
The Hitchcock Classics Collection (1985)
Hitchcock: Shadow of a Genius (1999)
Masters of Horror: Cigarette Burns (2005)
The Men Who Made the Movies: Alfred Hitchcock (1973)
Paulie (1998)
Terror in the Aisles (1984)
Twelve Monkeys (1995)

Press

2012
The Sunday Times (Culture) 5 August 2012 p.39
More reliant on special effects than most Alfred Hitchcock films, this tale of weird avian attacks on a Californian town is, in that respect, more dated than the director’s other classics. Its use of suspense is still potent today, however, and the story is utterly modern in the way that it hints at possible meanings without explaining itself. – author not credited

References

Periodicals

  • Starburst no.215 p.55 – article

Newspapers

  • The Sunday Times (Culture) 5 August 2012 p.39 – review (Films of the Week)
  • Svenska Dagbladet 2 July 1999 – illustrated article (Perverst ode till kvinnans sexuella utstrålning by Carl-Johan Malmberg)

Books

  • The Birds by Camille Paglia
  • Creature Features Movie Guide Strikes Again by John Stanley p.43 – credits, review
  • Feature Films, 1960-1969: A Filmography of English-language and Major Foreign-language United States Releases by Harris M. Lentz III p.38 – credits
  • The Films of Alfred Hitchcock by David Sterritt – credits, review
  • Hoffman’s Guide to SF, Horror and Fantasy Movies 1991-1992 p.44 – credits, review
  • Movies of the 60s by Jürgen Müller pp.198-205 – illustrated review (by SH [Steffen Haubner])
  • Reference Guide to Fantastic Films by Walt Lee p.35 – credits
  • The Science Fiction and Fantasy Film Handbook by Alan Frank p.22 – illustrated credits, review

Other Sources

  • BFI Southbank Guide May 2010 p.8 – illustrated listing