(out of 5)
Tippi Hedren plays a rich young woman with expensive habits and wild ideas of fun who captures the interest 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 to him his two new pets, a pair of love birds, to his home. When she doesn’t find him at home, she does a little amateur investigating and follows him to his mother’s home in a little seaside cove called Bodega Bay. Just after her arrival, strange things start to happen involving birds actually 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 building up character in the first half of the film, rooting the audience so strongly in the story that the second half, where the 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.
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Screenplay by Evan Hunter, based on the story by Daphne Du Maurier
Cinematography by Robert Burks
Academy Award Nomination
Best Special Effects (Ub Iwerks)
New York Film Critics Award Nomination