The Birds (1963)

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Written by Evan Hunter

Last year during Hitchcocktober, I reexposed myself to The Birds by the master and found it to be absolutely amazing. My first experience with the film was as a young high school kid who felt older films were below him. I found the effects to be laughable and the story sleep inducing. No, really, I fell asleep. But then last year, here I was singing its praises, absolutely amazed by the craft of Hitchcock and hearalding it as a forgotten masterpiece. With my thrid viewing of the film, I fall very much so more in the middle if you will. I still find the film to have its moments of brilliance, and more than most films get the chance to sniff, but there is certainly some stumbling blocks as well.

I think last year when I saw the film I was blinded by the craft and seemed to miss just how not good Tippi Hedren is in this film. Though I was not alive back then, Tippi comes out of nowhere to star in this film and she is a beautiful woman, no doubt, but I hated her this go round. In addition to the stale performance, I think the character of Melanie is pretty annoying too. A 1963 version of Paris Hilton almost, one whom I cannot hold any real sympathy or relation when I really pay attention to her character. Rod Taylor on the other hand, as Mitch, and Suzanne Pleschette as Annie, are both really quite good and great to watch. So there bcomes this interesting dynamic of characters I like, and one I don’t, which makes it difficult to really get into the film all the way.

The craft is still there at the end of the day. The tension, the story (even if I don’t like Melanie, at least they seem to be able to mask it well enough), the visuals. They are all stellar and anything less from Hitchcock would be the exception so it is important to not fall into the pitfall of over expectations in that regard. He really is top notch and that is why he is my second favorite director of all time. For films like this that are considered his second tier, when in reality, anyone would love to have it as their masterpiece. Oh, and those effects, in reality, are amazing. And once again I had people in the theater laughing at various points throughout the film. Fine, I’m over it, but when put into context of when the film was made and the limitations faced back then, the effects are brilliant. It was a different time then, and I love seeing the evolution of film in that manner. A good film is a good film, and The Birds is a good film.

*** – Good

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