Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.5.
USA, 1963. Alfred J. Hitchcock Productions. Screenplay by Evan Hunter, based on the story by Daphne Du Maurier. Cinematography by Robert Burks. Produced by Alfred Hitchcock. Production Design by Robert F. Boyle. Costume Design by Edith Head. Film Editing by George Tomasini. Academy Awards 1963.
Tippi Hedren plays a rich young woman with expensive habits and wild ideas of fun who is captured by the hunky and disapproving demeanor of a California businessman (Rod Taylor). After playing a prank on him by pretending to be an employee in a pet store, she decides to make it up by personally delivering his two new pets in person, a pair of love birds, to his home. When she doesn’t find him at his apartment, she does a little amateur investigating and follows him to his mother’s home in a little seaside cove called Bodega Bay, where her arrival is met with the sudden, strange occurrence of birds attacking residents. The small attacks escalate to full-out war, and the skies start filling with birds of all types causing serious harm to the humans below. Alfred Hitchcock does a marvelous job of slowly building character and story in the first half of the film, rooting the audience so strongly that the second half, where the horror and special effects come in, are all the more terrifying thanks to what you have invested in the personalities you’re watching. Jessica Tandy co-stars as Taylor’s hesitant mother, and a young Veronica Cartwright stars as his little sister. The visual effects are astounding for their time, and the sound design impeccable.