October 27, 2014

The Birds

Perhaps Alfred Hitchcock was out of ideas after Psycho. Has there ever been a more arbitrary plot in a movie than in The Birds? It's one of the most obviously artificial plots among Hitchcock's body of work. (And it lacks the smart humor of some of his best films.) However, the world of Bodega Bay, where The Birds is set, is interesting enough, and the bird attack sequences are suspenseful. Tippi Hedren plays Melanie Daniels, a spoiled rich girl who becomes attracted to Rod Taylor after he's rude to her in a bird shop. She's so infatuated with him that she buys his kid sister some birds and then treks all the way to his small hometown to deliver them personally. Thus she becomes embroiled in small-town politics, namely with Taylor's mother (Jessica Tandy) amidst an unexpected war waged by the birds. And it's especially convenient that during one attack on the town, there's an ornithologist on hand in the local diner. (Not that she does any good.) With Veronica Cartwright and Suzanne Pleshette. Based--very loosely--on a short story by Daphne du Maurier. 1963.

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