The Birds (1963) ★★☆☆☆

Nature’s vengeance… a lot of talk, though very little action.

A blossoming romance springs between Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren), a wealthy socialite, and a Lawyer based in San Francisco, Mitch Brenner (Rod Taylor). They first meet in a pet shop, where they are both shopping for birds. Brenner is familiar with Melanie from a recent trial which she was involved in. However, he pretends to mistake her for a shop assistant – a role she flirtatiously adopts. Shopping for love-birds for his younger sister, Brenner begins to inquire about the birds in the store. When Melanie discovers his game, she is intrigued, therefore purchases the love-birds for Brenner herself, whom she tracks down through a contact at her father’s newspaper.

Hitchcock’s The Birds, is certainly not a masterpiece that ranks alongside Vertigo, Pyscho and Rear Window (the list goes on). I imagine the film to have been quite influential at the time of release with the new trend of having animal attacks, which obviously did not amount to a good thing. The concept of The Birds was set out to shock and terrorize; for me it did quite the opposite. Instead, the bird attack sequences came off as being rather comical. When the ‘action’ arrives, it disappoints. Much of The Birds revolves around human reaction to purposeless violence. In one scene, the children appear to be smiling, when I’m certain they should be screaming whilst being chased by a flock of big, daunting black birds. Honestly speaking, the whole enterprise fell quite flat.

Tippi Hedren wasn’t at all someone I’d class as “exciting to watch!” Her expressions remained bland throughout and actions quite stiff, easily resembling a cardboard cut-out. Her connection with the audience and emotional value just lacked completely. You don’t have far to look if you’re searching for the real stars here…the birds are the ones we came to see, right? One positive that can be noted is that Hitchcock’s camera never stays focused for too long on a single bird, making it a lot easier to combine real, trained birds along with puppets and animation. If you decide upon watching this film, do take it with a pinch of salt.

All in all, this wasn’t Hitchcock’s finest hour. With nameless Hitchcock classics to choose from, The Birds is safely one to miss. There wasn’t anything in this film to truly grab hold of your attention. As a fan, I hate to say this, but it was a disappointing glimpse into the mind of Hitchcock, to say the least.

Warning: May leave you terrified of birds…

8 thoughts on “The Birds (1963) ★★☆☆☆

  1. I saw this for the first time a few months ago and actually quite enjoyed it. It wasn’t amazing, but it was a film I could relate to since I’m not fond of birds myself, so if I were in this town, I’d be terrified out of my mind.

    It was also cool to see the voice of Pongo (Rod Taylor) on screen!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Recommend reading the original short story by Daphne du Maurier … now that really is sinister! Her description captures the relentless attacks of the birds and creates the sense of a menacing army – they are ruthless and organised!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Your honesty is refreshing. According to many people, Hitchcock is completely untouchable. I’d agree that he’s a true great and some of his films leave me scrambling for superlatives, but by turns – his lesser films can suffer from the weight of expectation. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. As a huge Hitchcock fan I am inclined to agree with you here, although I still love the film I believe it to be incredibly overrated.

    I agree that it would have been influential at the time which I find with most of Hitchcocks films which is probably the reason people regard his so highly.

    Liked by 1 person

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