Monday, January 7, 2008

The Birds: Watching with New Eyes

Monday, January 7, 2008
Last night Julie and I watched the last half of The Birds, the legendary Alfred Hitchcock movie set in Bodega Bay, California. This movie came out in 1963, when I was 1 year old, but I know that I saw it several times (and was terrified by it) before I was 10.

The Birds was a revolutionary film in terms of concept, special effects, and story. But it also, unintentionally, set bird watching back as a socially acceptable behavior by at least two decades. This happened on two levels. First, by elevating birds to Potential Monster Status (there are billions of them and they could attack at any moment). And secondly by placing, smack in the middle of a riveting horror film, a memorable stereotypical characterization of a dowdy bird watcher: Mrs Bundy.

Also starring in Hitchcock's avifaunal classic were Jessica Tandy, Rod Taylor, Suzanne Pleshette, and the ever blond and perky Tippi Hedren.

We were enthralled once more by The Birds. And we were amazed that we could recall each scene in great detail—almost like watching The Rocky Horror Picture Show! where you scream things at the characters. "No Tippi! You DITZ! DO NOT take the convertible into town! The birds are attacking! They will SERIOUSLY mess up your bouffant!"