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Alfred Hitchcock


Evan Hunter


Tippi Hedren

Rod Taylor

Jessica Tandy

Suzanne Pleshette

Veronica Cartwright

Ethel Griffies



Based on a story by Daphne du Maurier, The Birds is a classic thriller mystery from Alfred Hitchcock about a woman who travels to a small town to deliver some love birds to a man she met in a bird store. Unfortunately, as soon as she gets there, birds start attacking people, seemingly for no reason at all.

Following Psycho was not an easy feat but Alfred Hitchcock went all in with this strange little movie that received mixed reviews initially but is now seen as one of the director's very best films. The bizarre premise definitely perplexed viewers back in the day but the unpredictability of The Birds, and the fact that Hitchcock doesn't hold your hand for a second during it, is arguably what makes the film so fascinating and unique. Hitchcock is known as the master of suspense, but he proves himself a master in misdirection with this film which teases the viewer constantly, dragging them in all sorts of directions before sweeping the rug from under them every time.

The plot is fairly simple, as is the core mystery (why are the birds attacking?), but the strangeness of it all, and the desperate, lost feeling of the townspeople, which mirrors the viewer's own struggle, encourages you to dig deeper into subtext in order to find out what makes these characters tick. Maybe the answers can be found there? This reveals the director's extremely clever use of shots, atmosphere, dialog, scares and humor, all of which confirm a deep understanding of what the viewer is thinking throughout the film. Composer Bernard Herrmann doesn't deliver your typical Hitchcock movie score here, instead mixing countless bird sounds over silence to sell the eerie emptiness of the setting, and the loneliness of the characters. 

The action in the film is tightly crafted, and hugely creative: the director is at his most bold here. The visual effects are very impressive for the time and, while more uptight critics might call them "dated", they are still striking to this day and, combined with the "score", emphasize the bubbling chaos brilliantly. There are iconic moments in this movie that very much hold up (the schoolyard, the gas station sequence, the last shot of the film) and it's a surprisingly brutal film overall, even following Psycho. The cast is flawlessly chosen, including Tippi Hedren who knocks it out of the park in her debut, giving a layered, playful, delightfully undecipherable performance.


Alfred Hitchcock expertly shocks and confuses us with The Birds, a film that demands several close viewings to truly nail down. It's darkly funny, haunting, devilishly clever and genuinely unnerving. There's no other film quite like it.


Essential viewing. 

film & game reviews, the retro way.

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