Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Written by Evan Hunter from the story by Daphne de Maurier
Alfred J. Hitchcock Productions
Repeat viewing/Netflix rental
One of 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die
Not my favorite Hitchcock but undeniably made by a master.
Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren) is a rich San Francisco socialite. As the story begins, she goes to a pet shop with the intention of buying a mynah bird for her aunt. While there, Mitch Brenner approaches her as if she was a sales lady and asks about buying love birds.
She is clearly out of her depth but goes along with him. It turns out Mitch knew who she was all along and was playing with her due to a dislike developed when he saw her in court. Melanie decides she will get even by buying the love birds for him (?!) but finds she must deliver them in the small seaside town of Bodega Bay where he spends the weekends with his mother (Jessica Tandy) and younger sister (Valerie Cartwright).
Melanie continues her lying ways. She winds up staying overnight in the house of local teacher Annie Hayworth (Suzanne Pleshette) who is still carrying a torch for Mitch after a failed love affair years previously. By all movie logic, Melanie and Mitch must fall in love and they do. But their romance does not amount to a hill of beans next to an unexplained phenomenon which is causing birds to mass together and become killing machines.
I’ve been considering why I have never really warmed to this movie. I think it’s because the characters do not appeal to me. I find both Melanie and Mitch to be almost insufferably smug. Really the only character I really like in the movie is Pleshette’s.
That said, there’s some very effective horror to be had here. It probably works best the first time around.
The Birds was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Effects, Special Visual Effects.