“Birds” ( eng. The Birds ) is a film by Alfred Hitchcock , filmed in 1963 based on the story of the same name by Daphne Du Maurier . In terms of genre, it combines elements of a fantastic thriller , an apocalyptic disaster film, a horror film and a traditional melodrama . He was nominated for an Oscar for visual effects.
|Genre||thriller / horror movie|
|In the main|
|Tippi Hedren |
|Film company||Universal pictures|
|Budget||about $ 2.5 million|
As in the case of Hitchcock’s previous film, Psycho , nothing prepares the viewer for the unexplained events that make up the main content of the film. At the beginning of the film, we see how Melanie Daniels, a charming and somewhat self-satisfied lifemaker, meets Mitch Brenner, a young lawyer . The meeting takes place at a pet store in San Francisco . His coldness does not push her away, and, having bought a couple of lovebirds as a gift to his little sister, Melanie goes to him in Bodega Bay .
Approaching the pier, she is attacked by a seagull that hit her in the head. On the night Melanie decides to stay with a local teacher, Annie Hayworth, who tells her that Mrs. Brenner, Mitch's mother, is very jealous of her son and is full of possessive feelings.
The next day, while Katie’s birthday party is being held outdoors, the children are attacked by seagulls, and in the evening hundreds of swallows rush into the house through the chimney . The next morning, Mrs. Brenner goes to visit a neighbor farmer and finds him dead, with pecked eyes. In the afternoon, when Melanie witnesses a threatening crowding in the schoolyard, she and Annie take the children out of school. Saving Katie, Annie becomes a victim of a bird attack and dies. Melanie with the children rescued in a restaurant. At this time, birds become the cause of a fire at a gas station.
In the evening, Melanie and Brenner barricaded the windows in the house, having managed to defend themselves from the raids of birds, which were hitting the walls and the door. When there is a lull for a while, Melanie, having heard some sounds in the attic, rises there to find out what the matter is. It is full of birds that pounce on her. Then Mitch comes to her rescue. Taking advantage of another respite, Mitch invites everyone to leave the house. They go out onto the porch. The space between the house and the garage and beyond, where the eye can reach, is filled with hundreds of birds. Melanie and Brenner leave home in a convertible Melanie. [one]
- Tippi Hedren - Melanie Daniels
- Rod Taylor - Mitch Brenner
- Jessica Tandy - Lydia Brenner
- Suzanne Pleshet - Annie Hayworth
- Veronica Cartwright - Kathy Brenner
- Ethel Griffis - Mrs. Bundy, ornithologist
- Ruth McDevitt - Mrs. McGruder, a pet store salesperson
Alfred Hitchcock played a cameo in the role of a man coming out of a pet shop with two dogs.
Work on the film
In 1961, the city of Capitola in the state of California was attacked by hundreds of gray petrels who attacked passersby and crashed into the windows and walls of houses. A change in the behavior of these birds was allegedly caused by toxin poisoning of mollusks . Reports of this incident inspired Hitchcock to make the film. According to other sources, a note appeared in a San Francisco newspaper about how ravens attacked lambs just in the area where they were filmed. Hitchcock talked with the farmer-witness of this incident, and so he conceived the idea of a future film  . He offered to write the script to Joseph Stefano , with whom he worked on Psycho, but he showed no interest in the story of Dumore.
I deliberately started the film with the behavior of a light, everyday and unimportant. In terms of titles, I had to compromise, making them sinister. I wanted to use very light and simple Chinese images of birds - miniature, graceful drawings. I abandoned this idea, anticipating that the viewer would lose patience and begin to ask: “So when will the birds descend?” Therefore, from time to time I tease the viewer by showing the bird near the door, the birds on the telegraph wires, the bird who pecked at the girl. It seems to me that the most important thing to know these people, especially the mother, because she is a key figure here. We will have to wait to soak up the atmosphere before the birds appear. I remind you that this is a fantasy. But everything around is extremely realistic - and the topography, and scenery, and people. Well, the birds had to be the most mundane - in any case not hawks, not wild birds.- Alfred Hitchcock 
While working on the film, the director sought to identify parallels between people and birds. In the first part of the film, people keep birds in cages, in the second, birds lock them in cages of cars and houses.  There is even a bird's resemblance to some of the gestures of the heroes (especially the heroine Tippi Hedren). [five]
Recycling the story in the script of the film was supposed to be charged to Ray Bradbury . However, due to the work on another Hitchcock project, he was unable to tackle the “Birds”. Bradbury was extremely dissatisfied with the result: “The film is full of holes. He is too long. I often think what would happen if I wrote the script. The ending of the film, as we know it, turned out to be extremely unsuccessful ”  . In the script, Annie Hayworth stayed in Mitch's house until the very end, and then went up to the attic and became the victim of the last attack  .
Hitchcock told Francois Truffaut : “Credibility does not take me at all; it's just the easiest way to achieve it - for the sake of what is there to break spears? Remember that long scene in "Birds" with a discussion of bird habits? Among the characters there was a female specialist on these issues, an ornithologist . She was there by pure chance! Of course, I could podmontirovat three episodes to justify her presence, but who cares!  "
Since the release of the film, the debate about the allegedly encoded meanings does not abate. In the newspaper advertising of the film, among other things, on behalf of the director it was written: “... This time, however, besides pleasure, a serious topic is proposed. In the film "Birds" behind the facade of shock and suspense hides a terrible idea. When you understand it, your pleasure will more than double ”  . Hitchcock himself called “Birds” a film about complacency, apparently hinting at the excessive self-confidence of the main character, who is convinced that everything around her is under control.  Starting from this remark, opinions were expressed that the attacks of birds are in the nature of retaliation to the heroes of the film (or people in general) for pride or other sins. Famous film critic Jacques Lurcell lists some versions:
“ Apocalypse , Last Judgment (hypothesis, supported by Hitchcock in his interview with Peter Bogdanovich “ Alfred Hitchcock's Cinema ”), the biblical penalty, which exposes a person to an angry and vengeful god - all interpretations of what is happening should remain open and at the same time confuse the viewer so that everyone the moral and metaphysical questions raised in dozens of previous Hitchcock films have been able to rise to the surface again and re-shine with unprecedented tangible and impressive power ”)  .
The famous explorer of Hitchcock, Robin Wood , in his book "Hitchcock's Films" examines various options for interpreting the film. He brushes aside ecological versions (birds avenge people for the evil they caused) and eschatological (divine retribution for the sins of people) for the reason that the film emphasizes the indiscriminate attacks, because birds attack everyone, including young children. According to the researcher, by introducing the fantastic element into the film, Hitchcock seeks to demonstrate the "fragility, utter senselessness" of human life: 
Birds are the material embodiment of the accidental and unpredictable, all that contributes to insecurity in people's lives and their relationships, is a reminder of fragility and instability that cannot be avoided or ignored, and, further, a hint of the possibility that all life is devoid of meaning and absurd. 
Glory Zizek in her work “ The Pervert 's Cinema Guide ” gives a psychoanalytic explanation: the bird attacks embody Mitch's mother’s repressed incestuous desires, her unaccountable anxiety caused by the self-confident girl’s intrusion into the measured life of her house, the fear that she would take her son.  The appearance of Melanie at the lake house awakens all the anxieties and phobias that were ousted from the consciousness of the mother: the fear of uncertainty, abandonment, loneliness, finally, just jealousy . The closer Mitch and Melanie converge, the more violent the attacks of birds become. At the end of the film, the mother consoles Melanie and helps to bandage her wounds, as if reconciled with the choice of her son. 
Zizek notes that the motive of birds is growing in the work of Hitchcock from the film “ North through North-West ” (attack on the main character of the “steel bird” - plane) through “ Psycho ” (numerous stuffed birds, to which the late mother of the main character is equal) to "Birds". He interprets the horrific images of birds in these films as the embodiment of unresolved tension in family relationships and compares them with the plague raging in Thebes " King Oedipus ". Plague and birds, according to иižek, personify the deep disorder in family relationships: the figure of the powerful father gives way to the maternal superego, the evil and despotic, blocking the normal sex life of the son. 
As the personification of sexual dissatisfaction, divine retribution, chaotic nonsense, metaphysical inversion and whining feelings of guilt - the image of birds created by Hitchcock in multi-layered and dynamic meanings does not yield to Moby Dick Melville .- Dave Ker 
Some film critics considered that the film is pretentious, in the style of the “ French New Wave ”, the film finale leaves unclear not only the cause of the bird attack, but also the fate of the main characters. A critic from Time magazine wrote: “The master, creating his new principles of fanning horror and fear, began to lay claim to a new look that can hardly be called the Nouvelle Vague ”  .
Sound side of the film
Hitchcock refused to use music in this film. In the opening credits, stylized images of randomly flying birds accompany electronic, hollow sounds that mechanically imitate the cooing of birds; with them are mixed and the real sounds of birds.  Hitchcock described his favorite soundtrack as some kind of “monotonous deaf noise ... strange artificial sound, as if birds speak to us in their own language:“ We are not yet ready to attack, but we are preparing for this. We are like a motor that starts and can start at any moment "". 
- 1964 - Golden Globe Award
- Most Promising Actress - Tippi Hedren
- 1964 - Academy Award
- Best Effects, Visual Special Effects - Ab Iverx
- 1964 - Edgar Allan Poe Award
- Best Feature Film - Evan Hunter
- " Crow " - a film of 2007 with a similar plot
- The film did not end with the word “The End,” since Hitchcock wanted to show endless horror. Final left open. The spectator is given to decide for himself whether the attacks on people ended in this, whether they were only local in nature. According to the original conception Archival copy of May 27, 2010 on Hitchcock's Wayback Machine , at the entrance to San Francisco, the film’s heroes were to discover the Golden Gate Bridge completely covered with hordes of birds.
- Francois Truffaut. Hitchcock Cinema (not available link) . Paris: Lafiont, 1966. Pp. 158
- Interview Hitchcock with Peter Bogdanovich Archival copy of May 27, 2010 on the Wayback Machine (1963)
- David Sterritt. The Films of Alfred Hitchcock . Cambridge University Press, 1993. ISBN 0-521-39814-2 . Page 142.
- Gregory Currie. Narratives and Narrators: A Philosophy of Stories . Oxford University Press, 2010. ISBN 0-19-928260-9 . Page 172.
- Biography of Ray Bradbury
- Francois Truffaut. Hitchcock Cinema (not available link) . Paris: Lafiont, 1966. Pp. 163
- "Hitchcock Cinema" by author Truffaut Francois - RuLit - Page 18 . www.rulit.me. The appeal date is March 26, 2017.
- Rebello S. Hitchcock. The horror generated by "Psycho" (English) . readme.club. The appeal date is August 12, 2017.
- Joseph Maddrey. Nightmares in Red, White and Blue: The Evolution of the American Horror Film . McFarland, 2004. ISBN 0-7864-1860-5 . Page 110.
- Lurcell Jacques. "The author's encyclopedia of films. Volume I" . litlife.club. The appeal date is August 12, 2017.
- Robin Wood. Hitchcock's Films . Paperback Library, 1969. Page 137.
- Lee Edelman. No Future: Queer Theory and the Death Drive . Duke University Press, 2004. ISBN 0-8223-3369-4 . Page 147.
- Birds, according to Zizek, "embody a fundamental disorder of family relationships": "There is no father, his function in the family sags, and the resulting vacuum fills the irrational maternal superego , a despotic, cruel, blocking normal sex relations."
- Slavoj Žižek. Looking Awry: An Introduction to Jacques Lacan Through Popular Culture . 2nd ed. Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press, 1992. ISBN 978-0-262-74015-9 . Pages 87-107.
- The Birds | Chicago reader
- "Birds" (English) on the Internet Movie Database
- Birds (English) on the site allmovie