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The Birds

The Birds. Alfred Hitchcock. 1963.

What! It’s in colour! I’ve seen this before, of course, and in my mind’s eye it’s in black and white!

I realise now that I don’t remember anything about this movie. I just vaguely remember Tippi Hedren being attacked by some… crows? Sitting on some telephone wires? Oh. I’m not the only one…


What’s so striking about this movie is that there’s really no hint at the start of the movie of what even the genre is, or even where the plot is going in a general sense. It’s so weird!

Until the first gull attack, it’s amusing and puzzling, but from there on it’s absolutely riveting. The creeping horror intensifying slowly, slowly…

One bit that just doesn’t work is all the womenfolk reacting in sheer passive horror at the proceedings while The Man goes around shuttering all the windows. And Hitchcock has a real problem with the main horror concept here: There’s no way these birds can harm anybody without somebody willingly walking into a room full of the birbs and then shutting the door behind them, so, of course, that’s what happens.

Still, there’s so much powerful imagery in here.

And, of course, Hitchcock was abusing Tippi Hedren throughout the making of this movie, because she refused to have sex with him. Some of the bird attack scenes were horrifying for her, too.

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