to get one thing straight from the very beginning: i don’t hate birds. magnus will very likely disagree with that and yes, i can’t say i find them very interesting – definitely not interesting enough to sit somewhere for hours and watch them through binoculars – but i’m telling you, i’ve never hated birds. and i still don’t, even after watching them attack poor melanie daniels and all those schoolchildren. however, my interest in them hasn’t grown either.
often called „THE essential hitchcock movie“, the birds seemed like a good movie to start or new project with. in case you didn’t know, the birds was deemed „culturally, historically and aesthetically significant“ by the united states library of congress in 2016 and has been added to the national film registry for preservation. clearly a classic.
being such an acclaimed classic, we weren’t completely unaware of what would happen. there were going to be birds and they were going to go crazy, that much was clear. but for quite some time, none of that actually happened and we were exposed instead to what seemed like a very unlikely beginning of a love story. blame clever old hitchcock for building up the suspense (fun fact number one: the birds was awarded the seventh greatest thriller by the american film institute). we were well into the movie when the first seagull attacked and left a streamlet of blood trickling down miss daniels’ forehead. the next attack followed soon after and the next one after that, getting more gruesome every time. whether the first bird peck symbolizes cupid’s arrow or the threat that melanie poses to the other women in mitch’s life is unclear, as is the whole question of why the heck hundreds of birds suddenly start flocking together to attack humans (a very unlikely thing to happen, as we learn from mrs. bundy, the ornithologist). in contrast to the storyline, which i’m not completely convinced by (fun fact number two: the birds is based on a short story written by daphne de maurier), i very much enjoyed the special effects and the soundtrack. of course we are used to much better effects, and yet the scenes of crows and seagulls attacking the fleeing children left me a bit traumatized (did you also find yourself ducking whenever a big bird came near you the last few days?). not to mention the sounds. to create the birdcalls and noises hitchcock used the mixtur-trautonium, a predecessor to the synthesizer. here comes fun fact number three, not in brackets because it’s just too good: the mixtur-trautonium was invented by friedrich trautwein and then delevoped into the trautonium, used to create some of the sounds for the film. (just imagine mr. trautwein marrying mrs biersack, now wouldn’t that be a combo?!)
before i get way off track, let me summarize. storyline? meh. i’m fine with the long introduction phase, but it would have been nice to get some sort of explanation or at least a bit less of an open ending. effects and sound? yay! i thoroughly enjoyed watching the attacks (you know what i mean) and was quite fascinated with the realness of them, especially the clawing and pecking. and finally, let me just remind you of the genius shot of the two lovebirds leaning into the curve, not to mention our very own cameo appearance.
that was it from me, i’ll leave you with 6 of 10 birds.
p.s. i feel the need to mention that oli, the sparrow that regularly frequents my balcony or the birch tree right in front of it, is to be excluded from my disinterest in birds. feel free to visit anytime, oli.