Reverse Hitchcock #6: The Birds, 1963 – ★★★

‘The Birds’ is one of Hitchcock’s best known films, and the third time he would work from an original story by Daphne du Maurier. This is a film of two halves, a rather lacklustre romantic story for around the first forty minutes, and then a full-blown horror where avian attacks become the terror of Bodega Bay.

Technically, the bird attacks are done well, even if it is now obvious where the fakery occurred. In the cast, Jessica Tandy is good as the overprotective mother of Rod Taylor (and my, wasn’t Miss Daisy a glamourpuss back then); and Suzanne Pleshette is the jaded schoolteacher Annie who has been abandoned in love. Taylor himself is a bit of a stick but he’s only required to be the classical Movie Hero and he fills that role admirably. And the old lady ornithologist made me think of the countess who desperately wants to escape in Torn Curtain.

I much prefer Hedren in this film to her next role in ‘Marnie’. She doesn’t have the warmth or relaxed personality of her daughter Melanie Griffith, instead essaying the ice-cold blonde which Hitch seemed to favour, but for Melanie (the character) this approach seems to work best.

Vía Letterboxd – loureviews

About Louise Penn

Writer, reviewer, fan. View all posts by Louise Penn

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