The Birds arrived towards the end of one of the most fruitful periods of Alfred Hitchcock’s career, at a time when he was still riding the waves of Vertigo, North by Northwest and Psycho. The movie, like Psycho is a horror film and to me is a clear influence on much that followed it. Young socialite Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren) meets the suave lawyer Mitch Brenner (Rod Taylor) in a pet shop in San Francisco. She becomes a little infatuated with him after a brief game of cat and mouse and decides to track him down. She finds him in the small hamlet of Bodega Bay and leaves a present of two love birds on his door step. Melanie and Mitch strike up a coy friendship much to the disliking of Mitch’s protective mother Lydia (Jessica Tandy). While Melanie is in Bodega Bay birds begin to attack people, occasionally at first but soon they have the town under siege and there is no explanation as to why.
The Birds was probably the first Hitchcock film I ever saw but I remembered little of it besides the stand out set piece scenes. It is also one of Hitch’s most parodied films (this is brilliant) and I recently saw TV movie The Girl which was based on the relationship between the film’s Director and lead actress. Now I’ve seen it again I can see that the movie has a lot going for it but I preferred Hitchcock’s earlier, tenser thrillers.