The Birds (1963)
It’s been a while since I’ve been to Bodega Bay, but Hitchcock has been a favourite since I first watched a VHS of this some 30 years ago. Today I’m introducing my daughter to Alfred’s avian nightmare. Now if I’m really really honest, The Birds is pretty cheesy. Hammy acting, the lovebirds swaying in the car footwell, not to mention the retro 60s charm of matte effects, but I love The Birds. Even knowing everything that happens before it graces the screen, the tension is gripping and my young companion gasps accordingly. In 60 years on The Birds hasn’t lost its magic. Melanie Daniels proving that the rich have a lot of time on their hands, to go flirting with Mitch Brenner in the outskirts of San Francisco. The old fashioned bayside town is really the star for me, even more than the birds themselves and the cast of backwater characters and their simple lives acts as the perfect canvas for something so unexpected as human hunting airborne marauders. We get a “whoa” as the children sing in the school house as the birds amass and I’m taken back to my teenage self watching in awe as each scene painstakingly builds. Yes it’s schlocky, yes Tippi Hedren is a bit wooden and yes it’s essentially a single premise slowly drawn out over two hours, but this is one of my favourite Hitch outings and I can’t wait to relive more.