"The Birds" essay
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Counts, Kyle B., and Steve Rubin. "The Making of Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds." Cinefantastique, vol. 10(2), Fall 1980, p. 26. Print. The genesis of this masterpiece Alfred Hitchcock manages to derive from the studio setting of Brenner’s house full with birds for a final part of the film. This article reviews the process of making the film The Birds. The fact that The Birds was a motion picture with the most technical complexity does not determine what Evan Hunter (a screenwriter) says of Hitchcock being in the complete control of any upcoming problem. Hitchcock did not complacent with the success of a box office due to the production of his Psycho during the fall of 1960. He wanted to delve into his next film to renew his reputation of the Master of Suspense. His venture in The Birds commenced with a review of the book written by Daphne du Maurier called The Birds, depicting the efforts made by a peasant farmer and his family in the Cornish village after the attack of the fatal birds (Counts 98). The suggestion of the cinematic possibility to create a movie triggered the creative instincts of Hitchcock. With the finances from his successful television show, Hitchcock produced The Birds that became his first and the only horror fancy film. He invited Boyle to help him to get the realistic combinations of birds and actors. He used over $200,000 for a model building and testing though only the few ones were inserted into the film. With Hoffman’s support, Hitchcock employed few shots of birds and people mixed. Through the discovery of the sodium vapor process by Boyle, some troublesome fringing difficulties could have been eliminated. At first, the system did not work and it was almost abandoned but later modified by Ub Iwerks who made it as a sophisticated and reliable system. Hitchcock incorporated Ub in the work; thus, he could assume the responsibility of the complex visual effects of the film and further supervise the combination of printing and special effects in the first optical and printing work (Counts 90).
Mog, Ken. “The Day of the Claw: A Synoptic Account of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds”. Senses of Cinema, Towards Ecology of Cinema, issue 51, 2009. Print.
Alfred Hitchcock in his film The Birds, generally established his tone as a provocative and very suspenseful one. Ken Mog sees the film as being generally assertive and very conclusive. He deductively comes to this conclusion due to Alfred Hitchcock’s character. Hitchcock has a personal trait to view the fully constituted scripts as they complement the proper casting opposed to the developing scripts. This makes him establish a character and ascertain the roles that fit properly (Mog 51).
The film is actually the one inspired by the depiction of human deaths as a result of the animals’ and birds’ attacks. Mog actually sets out the books that have the same thematic idea of human deaths caused by animals: like Daphne du Maurer’s short story The Birds (1952), Arthur Machen’s The Terror (1917), Frederic Brown‘s The Mind Thing (1961), and H. G. Wells’ The Food of the Gods (1904). Hitchcock ascertains the ideas presented by this. Such books reflect and inspire a big portion of Alfred Hitchcock’s film The Birds.
Mog established the claims of plagiarism on Hitchcock stating that Baker’s claim against Hitchcock had been justified. He continued further to expound the text on which Hitchcock derived his ideas as used in the film; he concluded that Hitchcock had greatly borrowed from other writers. He created a notion that Hitchcock might not be as original as he would appear to be. Ken categorically stated that, “I’m sure my readers have already spotted several likely “borrowings” by Hitchcock’s film”. He viewed the short story of Daphne du Maurier’s as the inspiring several unforgettable scenes in the film.
However, Ken Mog actually appreciated the the fact that Hitchcock was good in combining artistic works with different places and giving the new life a different direction in comparison with its original contemplators; he gave the new force enabling the film to take its own authority (Mog 51).
Frederiksen, Jens, Pedersen, Jakob, Haastrup, Maja, Carden, Hanne, Sondergaard, Morten and Larsen, Simon.. “Elements of Suspense”, Medialogyogy, group 8, Copenhagen, 2003. Print. .
The birds with the descriptions of suspense features were displayed by the Film Informatics, Medialogy, group 8 in 2003, of the work of Hitchcock The Birds produced in 1963 among the movies into which he had incorporated the suspense. The film The Birds is more of the mankind opposed to the nature film. In a quite coastal town Bodega Bay, in the middle of the mayhem there is Mitch Brenner (played by Rod Taylor) caught together with his new love named Melanie Daniels (played by Tippi Hedren). As Melanie waits for the end of classes in order to pick her children from school, the birds gather behind her in the playground of school. The audience sees Melanie in a total shot as she is sitting; this establishes the scene that she is indeed sitting right next to school. The more birds gather on the climbing frame; they make their movements faster and we see Melanie’s face. Knowing about the possibility and about the birds, particularly what they are able to do, the shot remains on the birds. The tension increases when the birds appear while Melanie is sitting near the school without any knowledge of them. As soon as she notices the birds, she remains with ther facial expression not changed. This all is dramatized as both the children and Melanie are vulverable before the birds and there is noweher to hide. .
Collins, Sean, Steimatsky, N. “Cry Havoc: The Use of Sound in Alfred Hitchcock’s the Birds,”
This article emphasizes the mechanism and variation of the sound use in The Birds. Earlier, the films by Hitchcock contained a selection of music and the film The Birds without any exception represents the most sincere outlook on the world as it is. In this film, it is surprising that Hitchcock chooses to replace music with electronic chirping. This deviant effect creates suspense and tension which is felt in the alarming sequence through the title and the acknowledgement section. The horrifying feelings caused by the birds express danger even as being in the real world though they are deemed harmless. In most of the films directed by Hitchcock, music plays a tremendously vital role; and a sound track is as significant as the film itself. Often known as the ‘Master of Suspense’, this project scrutinizes the particular musical techniques applied by Hitchcock to evoke the special suspense feelings (Sean 20). An analysis is done on six films made by Hitchcock that had been created during 30 years of his career. Sights that have suspense moments are identified and the analysis is done on music applied for each of the scenes. The breakdown shows that most often silence was utilized during suspense moments in films directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Silence was expressed through different forms. The musical sound track encompasses abrupt silence; the entire lack of the musical soundtrack, and the complete silence. There are numerous support arguments advocating for the importance of silence as a thematic and formal element of Hitchcock’s films. The findings also propose that silence is efficient in building the feeling of suspense (Collins 24).
This article reviews the plot of Hitchcock’s film The Birds. The film adds the success to Hitchcock’s master appearance in the late 50s with his such horror films; with his twisted plots, tense atmosphere and suspense feelings. Another angle to look at his movies from – is the same as at Stephen King’s; slowly, you start to understand his movies and become the intimate part of them. Tippi Hedren plays Melanie Daniels, and her mysterious aspect progresses through the film as she likes birds. When she dates with Mitch Brenner (Rod Taylor), she upholds the opportunity of playing a practical joke pretending to be a birds’ shop-worker. Beginning one of the most intriguing and oddest relationships, Mitch and Melanie feel the bizarre combination of attraction to one another (Sponseller 14).
Aside from the freshness added by Hitchcock, the things predominating in The Birds are the oddities; for instance, long pauses and the lack of dialogues and many scenes, in which the characters may just stare at each other for a long time, as if Hitchcock is trying to create the film free of any dialogues. Another thing is the lack of any form of the normal score, as it employs the experimental music. There are also some hints that there is a correlation between Melanie and the attacks of birds, as some characters comment that the attacks have commenced as soon as she arrived with her lovebirds. This is credible and she might be teased; an aspect that Hitchcock leaves unanswered in the distinctive scenes. Finally, the bird attacks are a remarkable part of the movie as viewers admire such elements as the characters’ decision to shelter in a telephone booth, and there are the children running by the unending rural road terrified.
Morris, Christopher D. “Literature Film Quarterly (2000)”. Reading the Birds and The Birds, 2000. Web. Retrieved from
Out of all Hitchcock’s films The Birds triggered more debates than the representation. This article outlines the views of critics on making the film The Birds. The debate was caused by Robin Wood’s endeavors to seek the meaning of the birds. He rejects the cosmological reading that the birds are the agents of retribution and psychological interpretation, and that the birds copy an apprehension among the characters. The irritation of Wood is powered by Thomas Leitch, who differs both with his psychoanalytic and satiric readings; he concludes that the birds’ attacks are “a gag and nothing more”. Though they both have some sound reasons to differ, they have not forgotten to show an importance of the title of the movie. Robert Samuel’s and Slavoj Zizek’s attempts are among the recent ones in reviving the psychological explanation of the birds and in modifying the aspect of feminism and a queer theory. They both reach an eventual conclusion that the attacks of birds have nothing and do not require the coherent justification. However, this resolution is after grounding of this eventual irrelevance in the birds’ association both with intra-psychic forces and with the characters’ reserved desires. Thus, this may not evade the contradiction found by Leitch in the previous psychological or satiric readings of The Birds (Morris 8)
The observation proposes that the problem of representation may often have been the proper topic of the film, and that its direct tackle may enlighten the implication of the birds and The Birds. Hitchcock’s principle of MacGuffin and his renowned neologism for the plot-tool of object are both one vital frameworks to study the topic given. Like all the films by Hitchcock, the birds highlight the way to see, hear and read as the false imposition of the constructed significance on the visual and non-visual signs. Moreover, the questions of naming and the correlation between something are based on the ‘spring board’ of The Birds. Finally, the total outcome of the intricate technical work was created by perfunctory birds, real birds, and photographic systems that covered the bird-shadows in an action.
Weis, Elisabeth. The Sound of a Wing Flapping in Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds, 2002.
In an eminent criticism of Hitchcock’s work, Penelope Houston differed that The Birds most of its threats derive from the electronic soundtrack to cover the fact that the birds aren’t really performing such weird sounds. But the comment of Ms. Houston is rather annoying in its significance that Hitchcock’s performance of film sound is a poor relation to his image display. The emphasis of Hitchcock on the effect of sound is shown by his background music even the first time in The Birds since the times of The Lifeboat created twenty years earlier. The film The Birds is also the most stylized soundtrack of Hitchcock, as he composed it from a consistent interplay of natural sounds and the birds’ noises generated from the computer (Weis 9).
There is a development of all types of cross-references in The Birds: the electronic origin of the birds’ sounding makes birds sound like machines. The human beings produce such sounds like birds, specifically while children are crying during the attacks; and sometimes, the machines sound like people or birds. The aural effects in the film match with its visual images. Altogether, the film provides a depressing picture of humanity standing before the forces over its control; the world described appears as the hostile and impersonal one due to the mechanical nature of soundtracks. The closed style of Hitchcock has always stressed on the fact that the mechanical control and The Birds are both together the most perfect ones of all his films. However, Hitchcock further stresses his association with the birds. The movement from Melanie’s viewpoint in the beginning of a gas station sequence till the very last air shot is quite a factual movement from the birds’ view. Finally, the director is gaining the control as the birds are under his control. His last shot is a complex of thirty-two pieces of film and a dozen of simulated and natural birds’ sounds. Therefore, the silence used by Hitchcock towards the birds is a final indication of the director’s control over his masterpiece, his characters and viewers (Weis 13).
Gugie, John. Movie Review: The Birds (1963): Hitchcock Creates Horror Out of Simplicity, 2007.
The author begins from a direct explanation of the meeting between the two main characters, Melanie Daniels and Mitch Brenner. The former is a rich girl obsessed with power, and the latter one is a lawyer who hates practical jokes and decides to use the one on Melanie. To pay back, she secretly follows him to his house and delivers the birds he had earlier pretended to be buying. Before coming to Bodega Bay, to the lawyer’s house, she is attacked by a seagull; this is just a start of the birds’ attacks. (Gugie 6).
The author then gives a basis of the story. It is based on the short story by Daphne Du Maurier that shows Hitchcock’s best work in the horror films’ creation; this work depicts the nature’s conflict with humankind. Gugie goes on to describe how the attacks had been expected to spread elsewhere, even though the film showed the attacks only in Bodega Bay. He is of the opinion that Hitchcock had exaggerated a simple story turning it into a terrifying encounter. He feels that the story is simple but it has been magnified. There is no reason for the attacks on humans provided to the viewers. This lack of the answer to this question to why the event had occurred was called MacGuffin derived from Alfred Hitchcock. The presence of the characters’ subplots in the film serves to make it more believable to viewers. The leading characters become romantically attached as the schoolmistress is struggling with her feelings to Mitch. Everyone in the cast has done a superb job (Gugie 8).
John Gugie further notes that the film has a large use of special effects applied till the 370th shot. The scenes with effects include the part where the children going to school are attacked and when Melanie is stuck in the bus. After considering the final scene, Hitchcock settles for a suspense-like ending to imply that the terror never ends. The film has no music except the children singing the Scottish song of the wife battery.
Honeybone, Nigel. Film Review: The Birds (1963). 1972.
Nigel starts his review with a comparison of Jamaica Inn (1963) and Rebecca. He explains that the movie described a nightmare involving the ecological system that begins with the imbalance of nature when the birds attack people. He goes further to explain Hitchcock’s change of the setting from England to California reducing the period during which the incidence had occurred. Like in the previous review, Nigel gives the cast of the leading roles acting by Tippi Hedren and Rod Taylor and goes ahead to describe the plot. Tippi is a spoilt girl who gets her way through everything, and Rod takes the role of a smart lawyer. In the opening scene, Rod manages to deceive Tippi pretending a shop attendant in the pet shop receiving favor from her. She aims at developing a relationship with him and follows him secretly to his house (Honeybone 16). However, before arriving there, she is attacked by a seagull. Bodega Bay begins to notice the general restlessness among the population of birds. The irony is that the birds are attacking these residents and these are not the particular birds but rather ordinary ones supposed to be harmless by most people; such birds include crows, seagulls, and swallows. The birds disrupt the social gathering like children and invade houses in the most terrifying manner. Schools are shut down, and children are taken home after the accident when a farmer has been found dead in his farmhouse. A new character, Suzanne Pleshette, has been introduced. She plays the role of headmistress (who was in love with the lawyer) and she is later found dead. This film, as Nigel explains, is Hitchcock’s view of the world where danger is constantly ready to cause harm to humankind (Honeybone 18).
Dirks, Tim. Film Site Review: The Birds (1963).
The author of this review bases his argument on Hitchcock’s previous film, Psycho (1960), and the original short story by Daphne du Maurier. In the film The Birds, ordinary birds attack the town in California leaving the scores of people dead behind. He describes the technical composition of the film as extraordinary, particularly the closing scene and the special effects. The author also takes a note of the non-existing music in the film replaced by simulated shouts of birds and the flapping of their wings. The author then goes ahead to describe the model who has received the leading role, Hedren, named Tippi in the movie. This film initially baffled the critics that tried to deduce its meaning on a plain level and to compare the movie to other horror films. An enquiry has been made on the reason why those birds’ attacks occurred. The reviewer explains that it was based on the real attacks that happened in 1961. Birds that attacked humans seemed to have consumed the poisonous substance present in their food that caused their brain damage and the confusion. The poisonous chemical substance was the domoic acid that had probably leaked off the septic tanks in the region (Dirks 12).
It is not still clear why the birds were attacking. The scientific research cannot explain everything, and their acts cannot be seen as vengeful or as any form of punishment to humans due to their carelessness. When this complex nature of the film becomes, it is easier to understand the symbolism. The reviewer explains that the reason leading to attacks has been triggered by three jealous female birds which feel insecure in their various positions in the social circle. The attacks are on the way connected to the relationship between the mother and her son. These attacks on humans are a symbolic representation of the real threats in the world. It is fatal when people have no shield against these life threatening insecurities. The allusion of blindness is evident in the film and this means that people are ignorant (Dirks 14).
Sullivian, D.D. The Birds. BFI Film Classics: Paperback, 2002.
The critique of Paglia on The Birds is among the best critics of the BFI Classics series due to some reasons. Firstly, Paglia starts her text through the detective approach resembling the system used by Pauline Kael in her analysis of The Citizen Kane Book. Secondly, Paglia designs her work using the appropriate photos that are not just similar or usual to the faulty black and white movie’s birds; with a striking picture of Tippi Hedren who was made as the 1960s sensation by Edie Sedgwick. She also insists on the addition of the color to the film The Birds (Paglia 29). Thirdly, Paglia revives the reputation of Hedren as an actress and a justifiable heroine of Hitchcock. Paglia provides a superb piece of criticism analyzing every aspect of Hitchcock’s masterwork production. The ending of film is criticized by Paglia as desired. She outlines that the conclusion would provide a desirable climax to portray the masterwork; even though some film critics express the suggestion that the abrupt finishing would have been in order to demonstrate a theme of the unending terror (Sullivian 34).
Fischinger Films. Hitchcock’s ‘The Birds’, Plot and Use of Symbolism.
An article analyzed by Fischinger Films, the movie The Birds is displayed as an appropriate example of the tension manner instilled in the audience by great filmmaking. The article views that the plot of The Birds does not appear to be startling at all; nevertheless, while making use of numerous distinctive techniques of film making, Hitchcock attains a rather disconcerting aspect. The comment also outlines that the use of something unknown is one of the main aspects that maintains a general nervousness throughout the film. Precisely, the main unknown thing or rather the ‘MacGuffin’ is what triggers the birds to attack, a thing that is revealed in the film. The director also strikes a conventional soundtrack, substituting it with the music generated from electronics and replicated voices of wing flaps and birdcalls. The combination of all these things is mixed for a great film to be created applying numerous film techniques.
The chief substance of the film is formed by the endeavor of three women to win the affection of the same man, Mitch. Melanie is concerned with the passionate relationship, Mitch’s mother is afraid to be abandoned, and his sister desires to be accepted by her elder brother. The story The Birds might even be referring to these three women. This review suggests that the birds are symbolically a physical demonstration of clashes prevailing among these three women. This is derived from the view that the clashes between the women and birds’ attacks are parallel to each other. After analyzing all these viewpoints, the birds appear to be an unessential tool. It should be remembered that they are the MacGuffin in the context of the story. The creation of the film The Birds lies upon what Hitchcock emphasizes as the script. The movie depends on the development of protagonists all through the story, and the birds probably act only as the sustaining role. The article finalizes that there is no need to find the cause of the birds’ attacks as the director’s idea is not about the birds, but about human beings, and how their relations are formed, even though under some bizarre circumstances.
Khan, Amina. “What Got into Hitchcock's The Birds?”. Los Angeles Times, 08 January 2011. Print.
This article outlines that Monterey Bay case, which is said to have inspired the creation of The Birds, has been caused by acid produced by poisonous algae. The 1963-year horror movie The Birds by Alfred Hitchcock, in which the attacks are performed by maniacs with feather on the inhabitants of Bodega Bay, in California, for few days, never elaborated the homicidal intent of The Birds. However, David Garrison, a marine scientist of the National Science Foundation, suggests a hypothesis involving the real-life incidents that may have stimulated the legendary film creation (Khan 8).
The Birds - this is an article that was cited on 08 January 2011 wrote of the unusual behavior of birds; and the movie The Birds quoted David Garrison of the National Science Foundation, a marine scientist, contemplating that the 1963-year film of Alfred Hitchcock was caused by a real event. The event that occurred in 1961 in Monterey Bay may have offered to Hitchcock the research substance for his film; though the basic script of the movie is based on the story by Daphne du Maurier printed in 1952. There, the community was attacked by a flock of seabirds in coastal England (Khan 10).
David Garrison researched an unusual occurrence that made birds act strangely and die around Monterey Bay. He recognized the domoic acid as a culprit, which was derived from the poisonous algae along the Pacific coast. He stated that the acidic algae had been consumed by shellfish and fish, and, in turn, eaten by birds who couldn’t efficiently eradicate the poison from their systems. He, therefore, related this to the strange behavior of birds as portrayed in Hitchcock’s film The Birds (Khan 15).
Ludka, Alexandra. Hitchcock’s The Birds: Mystery Solved, 2011. Print.
The article outlines that a horrible thriller The Birds that has terrified the country since 1963 was stimulated by a real and weird case. The author wanted to clarify the secret that pushed the director Alfred Hitchcock to make the film. The birds believed to have consumed the toxic substance that made them demonstrate the strange acts. The article depicts that in 1961, two years prior to the debut of one of the most terrible movies in the history, the flocks of bewildered seabirds slammed themselves into the houses of Monterey Bay area. Even though there was no definite interpretation of the strange incident, the article outlines that Hitchcock admitted this and decided to create his film The Birds (Ludka 9).
Two decades later, four people died in 1987 and 100 of them were hospitalized after consuming the mussels in Prince Edward Island, in Canada. Moreover, there were several incidents of the animal stranding in the south of California. The events led to the creation of the film by Hitchcock as these events made the entire nation terrified. The researchers started investigating the main cause of the issue, and later they got to know the real reason for such strange behavior - the toxic algae. One of the scientists, Sibel Bargu, who was for a long time fascinated by the story The Birds, together with her colleagues found a correlation between the algae eaten by the victims in 1987 and the 1991-year incidents. This made them believe that the algae also contributed to the first case that happened in 1961, therefore, explaining the mystery of The Birds. So the horror remains only till its resolving. (Ludka 7).
In this article, Stooker views that the plot of the film The Birds is certainly distinctive, as the antagonist is not a wicked individual or the individuals, but rather simple and ordinary birds. There is surely a psychological feature, though it is not as apparent as Norman Bates in Psycho. There is a remarkable disturbance of the emotional balance due to the extent to which the birds’ attacks trigger the reactions from Tippi Hedren on her arrival to the coastal town. Stooker states that there is a complex relationship between Taylor and his mother, which is more than the mother-son relationship; and Jessica Tandy is insisting on her weakness, and, therefore, she needs somebody to take care of her, though she is strong enough to embrace Taylor and keep him from other women (Stooker 3).
Stooker feels that the key may be lying in Cathy, and that she could have unconsciously brought the birds to set her brother free from their mother. He supports this by stating that after leaving the farm, Cathy is the one pointing out that Tippi’s love birds are a devise to connect her with Taylor’s affections, and, thus, they are friendly and signify love between them. Stooker ties this to the fact that Tippi Hedren experiences the first birds’ attack after she has inserted the love birds into the house of Taylor. The next huge attack was made on Cathy’s friends during her birthday party; this could mean that maybe she didn’t like them. The scene following this one is the point when the crows’ flocks are attacking the children in the school yard; and from this moment, Stooker argues that Cathy is playing a crucial role here as Annie is murdered after this attack. Ultimately, being the baby of the family, Stooker feels that Cathy desired the attention from her brother, and so the birds could be her weapon against Tippi who seemed to take away her love (Stooker 4).
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