Halloween Review – “The Birds”

And the first feature begins…

Cast, Crew, and Other Info

Tippi Hedren as Melanie Daniels

Rod Taylor as Mitch Brenner

Jessica Tandy as Lydia Brenner

Veronica Cartwright as Cathy Brenner

Written by Daphne Du Maurier and Evan Hunter

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock

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Past movie reviews can be found here.


An unrestrained woman, a momma’s boy, a stern mother,
and an excitable
kid face off against swarms of organzied, angry

High Point

The initial attack on the protected home, driven just
by the sound.

Low Point

The chimney attack. The effects just weren’t
convincing enough.

The Scores

This is a somewhat original premise. The
“man vs. nature”
story has been told in several ways, but usually the
nature part is
something widely recognized as a threat. I give it 4
out of 6.

The effects, while certainly impressive in
their day, and in
some isolated scenes or isolated portions of scenes,
had some really
lousy moments. Some of the birds just didn’t look
convincing at any
time. The school and chimney attacks were
particularly guilty of
showing swarms of birds that didn’t seem to be
interacting with
anything. I give it 4 out of 6.

The story is fairly well constructed. We
spend a lot of time
developing characters before the attacks begin in
earnest. The only
thing really lacking is a reason things started at
Bodega Bay. I give
it 5 out of 6.

The acting is a little stiff. Of course,
this is work by a
director who called actors cattle he can push around
to do his job,
and that the individuals weren’t important, so I
suspect that the
actors in question weren’t getting much guidance. I
give it 3 out of

The emotional response was limited by two
factors. The
effects have already been mentioned; the other factor
is best
discussed in the “production” section of the review.
I give it 3 out
of 6.

The production is an example of one of
Hitchcock’s technical
challenges. He tended to set a limit on his
filmmaking to see what he
could do, whether it was a restricted point of view
), removing the main character long before
the end of the
story (Psycho), or attempting to film an
entire movie with a
single camera shot (Rope). In this case,
the movie has no
musical score, which dampens the ability to
manipulate audience
emotions. Personally, I think that’s the only part
of the film that
didn’t really work. Using just the sound effects
during the birds
attacks was effective, but the rest of the movie and
its love story
fell flat as a result. The camera work, editing, and
lighting are all
there, and they function very well, but the music
should have stayed. I
give it 4 out of 6.

Overall, it’s a decent movie, but the
effects just don’t hold
up well enough to really work for modern audiences.
If you’re looking
for Hitchcock, I’d suggest Rear Window,
Psycho, or
Notorious instead. I give it 4 out of 6.

In total, The Birds receives 27 out of 42.