Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Birds (1963)

Today's film is The Birds which is a really well made B movie.  The entire premise is stupid - a town being terrorized by a flock of birds, but it is fun to watch.  I will give it a 6/10.

The film stars Tippi Hendren as Melanie, a rich San Francisco woman who travels up the coastline to pursue a cute guy.  She stays at his family's house in the small town.  Soon, the birds begin acting weird.  And then they attack! Oh no!!  See, this would never happen here because absolutely everyone carries a gun and we'd pick them off in no time.

There is no soundtrack except for an early electronic instrument and the children singing. I think the lack of music makes it more eerie.  When I was little, they actually had a 3D version of this film at Universal Studio.  Although the film was done by Universal Studios, only Walt Disney Studios was equipped to handle the sodium vapor process needed to film the birds' rapid wing movements.

The amazing part is how they made this movie.  There are 370 different trick shots, and many of them were invented specifically for this movie.  There were no computers back then.  If it were made today, it would probably be all CGI, which to me doesn't look as good.  I was so impressed with the special effects.  When Melanie is attacked by the birds near the end, the scene took an entire week to film.  For this year's local film festival, Tippi Hendren came as part of our feature of classic films.  Of course the film featured was The Birds.  The film is okay because of the special effects, but I find it a rather weak story.  Also, birds are not scary, so there.

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