A first for Cinema Bits, I present you, the original trailer for The Birds...
Luckily, I outgrew my fear of birds a long time ago, but I did have a fear of them during my childhood and it’s all thanks to my second favorite Sir Alfred Hitchcock film, The Birds. You see, the one small scene—more like a flash—in the movie, where a character walks into a bedroom and sees a man sitting in the corner with his eyes gouged out, leaving two bloody dark holes, changed my life forever. In that time of my life, I was scared shitless of birds for years, avoiding them outside (we lived next to a creek that was lined with eucalyptus trees on either side and they were homes for many murders of crows) and never wanting to hold one if a friend had one as a pet and offered to let me do so. No, Mr. Hitchcock did a number on me by making this movie.
Over the years, I’ve watched this classic dozens of times (seems like it was always on TV when I was a child), especially now that I have it on DVD, and I love it more and more during each viewing.
The movie is based on a 1952 short story by Daphne Du Maurier and was made into a feature-length film in 1963. It’s a simple story (more like two separate stories), really, about a woman named Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren) following a man named Mitch Brenner (Rod Taylor) from San Francisco to Bodega Bay after a little altercation in a pet store that leaves her attracted to him. Soon after arriving at Bodega Bay and meeting up with Mitch, birds of all species start attacking the people of the coastal town.
I like how the film has subtle flashes of scenes that show you what’s to come, like the massive flock of birds circling above San Francisco at the beginning of the film. There’s also a bit of a message as well—when the scene plays out inside the pet store, we see dozens of cages with many birds inside, subliminally showing the audience how cruel it is to cage them up like that. Even Mitch mentions it during that scene when he first meets Melanie.
The choice to have the bulk of the story take place in Bodega Bay is brilliant. The view of the town while Melanie is making her way along the winding road shows how isolated and small it is and seeming like it’s in the middle of nowhere. Of course, the scenery is nice as well, showing the view of the bay and the green hills going inland. But probably the best reason to have it set near the coast is to have a reason to include seagulls as the majority of the menacing birds.
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