'The Birds' is an innovative movie
Tasneem | 04 Mar 2011
Alfred Hitchcock's movie 'The Birds', when it was released in 1963, generated a wide variety of opinion. It's regarded as a masterpiece of the master filmmaker.
THE BIRDS is yet another Alfred Hitchcock’s intelligent innovations. His onscreen experimentations with Psycho, Rear Window and many others brought a certain level of expectations with the next release. Hence, when ‘The Birds’ was released in 1963, many reviews and opinions flared across.
The plot of the movie was quite laughable and overtly fictitious. Yet somehow he managed to grab attention and keep the audience gripped with fear. The movie was marked as an instant classic for its sheer ability to make even something as harmless as birds an object of fear.
The genres mainly observed in this movie are horror, romance, mystery and thriller. Alfred Hitchcock was famous for his horror movies. He told his stories through intelligent plots, witty dialogue and just the right amount of mystery and murder.
Hitchcock has established a distinct style in each of his films but horror is his niche. Probably the most unintentional horror of the film is the acting of the lead actress, Tippi Hedren, a former model.
In Birds, he used the sound of the birds, to scare audiences in a whole new way The use of sound in the movie constantly switches, utilizing both noise and silence. Hitchcock did this to create suspense and fear, not only when the birds were attacking, but also when they weren't. He did not use natural bird sounds. Instead, he implemented electronic re-workings of bird sound, which worked even better to scare audiences.
The first hour of the movie doesn’t have much to do with the horror element. The story develops where Melanie Daniels (played by Tippi Hedren) meets Mitch Brenner (played by Rod Taylor) and how she follows him to Bodega Bay. She gets attracted to the man and decides to stay back the night. Thus Hitchcock has smoothly incorporated the romance aspect. Also how Mitch tries to help Melanie from the birds reflects this genre’s presence even more.
The movie is filled with constant thrill and is full of ambiguities. Building expectation and increasing anxiety are used effectively to manipulate the audience. In this technique, the audience is given information and is educated of the impending fate of the character, while the character is left in the dark.
The whole fate is not yet known, however they are aware of imminent danger and what could possibly happen to that character. This creates a lot of tension in the audience, as they are aware of what is going to happen, while they watch the identified character walk straight into a trap.
For instance, it makes the viewer just want to scream out 'Don't do it!' It also suspends the audience into whether the character will survive or not. The thriller aspect is extensively used in this movie where it is made quite predictable that the birds are the anti- social elements and are up to some harm. The audience is fully aware and is able to make quite accurate assumptions about the fate of Melanie.
The fact that Alfred Hitchcock is the "Master of Suspense" is what makes his horror movies so great. It is the suspense that keeps the audience on the edge of their seats in anticipation, fear and excitement. It is amazing of how carefully Hitchcock builds the suspense in this movie. You watch the birds standing there, they do not move, they are just waiting.
Even when you think they are dumb something tells you they are thinking. He makes you feel that the birds are analyzing your moves. The ending where they take a badly hurt Melanie to the hospital and a scene where the birds are shown flying away, is also a classic example of creating suspense and leaving it to the interpretation of the viewer.
Hence though the movie’s prime focus is horror it also amalgamates other genres like romance, thriller and mystery.
The new concept of nature attacking provided a basis for future films like The Empire of the Ants, The Night of the Lepus, The Bees, The Birds II and many more.
Hitchcock once stated "Always make the audience suffer as much as possible" This quote would possibly be one of the greatest pieces of advice he could give