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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "How Could We Possibly HOPE To Fight Them?!"
That quote used in my review title is from my favorite scene in 1963's "The Birds", Alfred Hitchcock's tale of nature gone crazy. "The Birds" stars Rod Taylor, Tippi Hedren, Jessica Tandy, and one of my favorites of all-time -- the beautiful Suzanne Pleshette.
The underrated Miss Pleshette plays school teacher "Annie Hayworth" in this...
Published on May 17 2004 by David Von Pein

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars The Birds (1963)
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Cast: Rod Taylor, Tippi Hedren, Jessica Tandy, Suzanne Pleshette, Veronica Cartwright, Ethel Griffies.
Running Time: 120 minutes.
Not Rated, but equivalent to a PG-13 for its violence, some gory scenes, and brief language.
Hitchcock's unforeseen success of "Psycho" put him in a tough spot--so many high...
Published on May 25 2004 by The Tweeder


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "How Could We Possibly HOPE To Fight Them?!", May 17 2004
By 
David Von Pein (Mooresville, Indiana; USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Birds (Widescreen Collector's Edition) (DVD)
That quote used in my review title is from my favorite scene in 1963's "The Birds", Alfred Hitchcock's tale of nature gone crazy. "The Birds" stars Rod Taylor, Tippi Hedren, Jessica Tandy, and one of my favorites of all-time -- the beautiful Suzanne Pleshette.
The underrated Miss Pleshette plays school teacher "Annie Hayworth" in this movie, and is just great in her part, IMO. This was just the 4th movie role for the then-25-year-old Suzanne. For Tippi Hedren, age 31 when the movie was shot in late 1962, "The Birds" was only her 2nd motion picture appearance (and first U.S.-made film).
"The Birds" is all about how the whole bird world suddenly goes amok and begins orchestrating concentrated, unprovoked attacks on the population of a small California community. Hitchcock (as usual) builds the suspense up, little by little, during the film. Despite the lack of computer-generated technology, Hitchcock still manages to create a quite realistic array of special effects, featuring hundreds of real and fake birds blended together in many scenes.
As I said at the top, my favorite scene in this flick is not any of the various "attack" scenes -- but, instead, the nerve-racking, tension-filled "Tides Restaurant" scene (Chapter #12 on the DVD), which is dialogue-driven and very well done, and eerie, in my opinion. The restaurant scene is made all the more believable and realistic by the casting of England-born actress Ethel Griffies as bird expert "Mrs. Bundy". Griffies was 84 years of age when she made "The Birds". It was her 90th (of 92) films.
Mrs. Bundy's presence in this scene (coupled with her character's "expertise" on all matter bird-related) roots the scene in "fact", and makes these "impossible" bird attacks on the town even more frightening. When Mrs. Bundy says that all the continents of the world "probably contain more than 100-billion birds!", it puts things in better context. And now the audience begins thinking: "Gee, what would happen if all of these birds attacked at once?" A scary proposition indeed.
This Universal "Collector's Edition" of "The Birds" was released initially on March 28, 2000 -- 37 years to the day after the movie premiered in theaters. This single-disc, single-sided DVD delivers a finely-tuned Anamorphic Widescreen image, in its original theatrical ratio of 1.85:1. The print looks very clean and virtually blemish-free. Colors look natural and "warm". The audio is in 2.0 Dolby Digital Mono (in both English and French).
The Hitchcock series of Universal "Collector's Edition" DVDs all contain very informative (and virtually feature-length) documentaries. And "The Birds" DVD is no exception. The "Making Of" program for this film is terrific. A very satisfying effort from the "featurette master", Laurent Bouzereau.
Here's a complete summary of this disc's Special Features .................
>> "All About The Birds" Documentary -- Lots of interesting behind-the-camera tidbits are offered up by the stars and crew in this featurette. Running time = 79 minutes.
>> Newsreel Excerpt featuring remarks by Alfred Hitchcock (Run Time = 1:55.) -- I love this extra bonus, for Mr. Hitchcock's droll, humorous comment to his audience regarding the title of his current film project. He dryly utters: "There were four words in the title. But we cut the first word, "FOR" -- and call it simply 'The Birds'." (This is followed by prodigious laughter from the "National Press Club" gathering. LOL!)
>> Another Newsreel Clip, "The Birds Is Coming" (Length = 1:15).
>> "The Original Ending" -- This "alternate" (and very intriguing) ending to the film was never shot. But this bonus offers up some script pages and original sketches of what the scene would have entailed. This ending is also discussed in some detail during the "All About The Birds" feature on this disc as well.
>> "Deleted Scene" -- This, like the "Original Ending" extra, isn't a video bonus either. It details (through script pages and still photos) a scene from the original script that was never used in the final cut.
>> "Tippi Hedren's Screen Test" -- This is really some cool stuff. A lengthy "test" featuring Miss Hedren acting out several scenes (which have nothing to do with this film) opposite Martin Balsam (who, of course, had co-starred in Mr. Hitchcock's previous picture, "Psycho"). You can even hear "Hitch" giving directions off-camera. Video quality isn't very good and it hasn't been color-corrected, but it doesn't really matter here. This is a fabulous bonus, lasting 10 minutes. I'm glad this was dug out of the archives for this DVD release.
>> "Stroryboard Sequence" -- This "Gallery"-like bonus shows storyboards linked with actual related film frames from the movie. Nicely done.
>> Original Trailer.
>> Photo Gallery.
>> Production Notes, plus Cast & Crew Bios (text features).
The DVD's Menus are simple and "static", with the Main Menu accompanied by the only real "score" that shows up in this film -- the sound of flocks of birds (up to no good, of course). It's quite amazing to think that this picture contains absolutely NO MUSIC whatsoever. Not a single note. But Hitchcock's previous effort, "Psycho", if placed in the same "music-less" state, would have been much less effective. Can you just imagine "Psycho" without that Bernard Herrmann score? Impossible! And, by the same token, it's difficult to imagine "The Birds" WITH any music. Just wouldn't "feel" right somehow. Mr. Hitchcock worked wonders, with AND without musical adornment attached to his feature films. I suppose that's part of the reason he was "The Master".
The DVD has with it a 4-page booklet, with a Chapter List for the 20 chapter breaks on the disc; plus some personal notes by Alfred Hitchcock and his daughter, Pat (who oft-times popped up in small roles in her dad's movies -- although she was not in "The Birds"). This paper insert also re-produces five "Lobby Cards" advertising the film.
For all Alfred Hitchcock aficionados, this DVD of "The Birds" is a must-have item. Fine picture quality, good bonuses, and .... Suzanne Pleshette, to boot. What MORE do you want, for heaven's sake?! :)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What Spielberg did for sharks,Hitch did for The Birds!, Jan. 22 2010
By 
Robert Badgley (St Thomas,Ontario,Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Birds (Widescreen Collector's Edition) (DVD)
It is certainly true.What Spielberg would do in 1975 for the reputation of sharks,12 years earlier venerable director Alfred Hitchcock did it for birds.Everyone I know who ever watched it certainly thought twice afterwards about our fine feathered friends hovering above us and the possibility of their "turning" at any moment.However what is easily forgotten in Hitch's 1963 film is that there is a romantic story that plays out throughout its' run of two hours.
It involves one Melanie Daniels(Tippi Hedron) who is the daughter of a wealthy west coast newspaper owner.She goes into a pet shop one day to pick up a myna bird she ordered,which isn't in.In walks Mitch Brenner(Rod Taylor)a lawyer who instantly recognizes her and decides to play a joke on her by making her think he thinks she is a store employee.He asks for some love birds for his daughter and asks many detailed questions on birds that Melanie can't possibly know.In the end the joke comes out,Mitch leaves the store and Melanie though infuriated has taken an instant liking to the handsome prankster.
Obtaining his address through a jotted down license plate number she drops a cage of lovebirds with a note in front of his apartment door;but he has gone out of town for the weekend.Melanie follows directions and ends up in a town called Bodega Bay about 60 miles north of San Francisco.She motor boats her way to his house,leaves her present,and leaves the same way.Just before she reaches the dock a seagull swoops down on her head and flies off;drawing blood.Mitch having spotted Melanie boating away arrived ahead of her and helps her.The two become more closely acquainted and Melanie decides to stay overnight and rents a room in town.While there a seagull smashes mysteriously into the house door.Next day she attends Mitch's daughter's birthday party and birds make an all out attack on the attendees.
Meanwhile Melanie and Mitch's mother Lydia(Jessica Tandy),who is weary of all of Mitch's "interests",draw ever so slowly closer;through their own efforts and through their joint stand with the mounting avian problem.When Lydia discovers the grisly remains of a neighbour the bird problem is about to blow wide open.In town later that day in a restaurant there is some lively discussion,both pro and con,about what is happening.Suddenly a gas attendant gets attacked and gas flows down a hill.A nearby smoker ignites the gas which kills him and the ignited trail follows itself back to the pumps which blow up.All bets are off now and the birds take this moment to launch an all out assault and pandemonium reigns supreme.
Mitch,his daughter,Lydia and Melanie board themselves into Mitch's home to stave off the onslaught.In the claustrophobic atmosphere all wonder when and how the next attack will come.They hold their own and for the time are relatively safe,but when Melanie decides to investigate a scratching noise in an upstairs bedroom she almost ends up another victim of the birds.Luckily Mitch and his mother come to her rescue but she is badly cut and in shock.In need of immediate medical attention there is nothing else to do but make a dash for freedom.Mitch slowly makes his way to the garage and brings his car out front.The house and surrounding property is filled with birds of all kinds which he has to gingerly make his way through and as does his family with Melanie.Once inside the car he slowly drives down the lane way and to freedom and help.
The ending is a kind of "cheat",in the sense we get no resolution as to the whys of the bird attacks,just a "sailing off into the sunset" moment.But I'm sure Hitch wanted to leave it up to the audience as his message of railing against complacency comes through loud and clear in this film;take nothing for granted in life,not even the birds.However I find the picture gets a little bogged down in the sub plot of Melanie and Mitch and their growing relationship(along with a clinging mother and Melanie's lack of one),which tends to drag the films' pace at times.Hitch seemed a little over zealous in trying to create an escalatingly ominous atmosphere in regards to the bird attacks.The two hours of celluloid seems just a little more than it should have been.
Technically speaking this film while crisp and generally clear shows it still needs some work on it as there are many areas of excess dirt and it does get grainy;for the price tag they are asking this should have been pristine.I would invite a comparison of Hitch's "To Catch a Thief" released in a two disc remastered set by Paramount and you will see what "The Birds" SHOULD have looked like.There are alot of special features however that are a welcome addition to this release.A featurette about the film,the surviving scripts of the original ending and a deleted scene,the storyboard sequence,Hendron's screen test,a Universal newsreel on Hitch,production stills and notes,cast and filmmaker bios and the trailer.
Finally,The Birds is definitely one of Hitchcock's more well known pieces and it certainly had a changing effect on many viewers after its' initial theatrical showing and subsequent airings on TV.The underlying romantic aspect of the film in my opinion tends to be a bit of a drag at times on the films' pace as the "master of suspense" I found got a little more "heavy handed" in his later years/offerings.This along with the less than stellar release print brings this rating down a good full star.Still,Hitch's most obvious stride into Sci-Fi territory,has many memorable and unforgettable moments that make it worth recommending.You may not remember the plot,but you will remember "The Birds".
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4.0 out of 5 stars Tense thriller is a winner, June 11 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: The Birds (Widescreen Collector's Edition) (DVD)
This eerie Hitchcock thriller doesn't have a shower scene but is has its fair share of suspense, dread and anticipation as to when the birds will attack. Filmed in color and without the accompaniment of music, the movie builds steadily towards tense and dangerous moments when hundreds of blackbirds swoop down on the human populace and scratch, peck and claw them to shreds without rhyme or reason. Even a lone seagull gets in its licks on Melanie Daniels who has followed Mitch Brenner to Bodega Bay to close in on the handsome fellow. The film has several attacks in which adults and school children are ravaged, and the air assaults are frightening to watch. The dangerous birds' unexplained sheer destructive force is displayed in the attack in a bedroom where the unfortunate Ms. Daniels is trapped, and their determination to destroy every human in their path is awful to behold. The movie's special effects are first-rate, and the gloomy, overcast skies of the Northern California coast add to the depressed mood of the film. The characters all seemed detached and distant from each other and although Ms. Daniels tries very hard to connect with Mr. Brenner, the romance angle is never developed.
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3.0 out of 5 stars The Birds (1963), May 25 2004
By 
This review is from: The Birds (Widescreen Collector's Edition) (DVD)
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Cast: Rod Taylor, Tippi Hedren, Jessica Tandy, Suzanne Pleshette, Veronica Cartwright, Ethel Griffies.
Running Time: 120 minutes.
Not Rated, but equivalent to a PG-13 for its violence, some gory scenes, and brief language.
Hitchcock's unforeseen success of "Psycho" put him in a tough spot--so many high expectations were placed on all of his films thereafter that it almost was not fair. Many of his films were scrutinized due to the fact they weren't as explosive or haunting as his 1960 classic and "The Birds" is no exception. While it portrays the story of avian, murderous birds terrorizing California with a horrific sense of dread and atmosphere, this film is a showcase for a cast of exceptional actors and actresses who do not even have a chance to show their stuff.
Rod Taylor and Tippi Hedren are throw into an unusual relationship when the area is attacked by flesh-eating birds of prey (for no apparent reason mind you), setting the stage for a showdown of man versus flock. The premise seems laughable, but Hitchcock uses his uncanny tools to create a film that possesses great cinematic urgency, using the birds as a sharp shock of terror. With such attention placed on horrific scenes (such as the Tippi Hedren pay phone scene that has become a classic), the incredible ensemble cast does not have time to develop themselves as characters and vital chess pieces of the film. "The Birds" is a well-respected thriller and for good reason, but it is no "Psycho" and it should not have been created in attempt to be one.
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5.0 out of 5 stars failure to understand what hitchcock was trying to say, Feb. 14 2004
By 
This review is from: The Birds (Widescreen Collector's Edition) (DVD)
this motion picture was made in the early sixties at a time when revolutionary changes were threating the calm peacful american scene and society. his view in this picture was that riots, demonstations loss of tranquility that we took for granted was soon to be ripped apart. the birds represent all of those social changes that were soon to tear up the fabric of american society.the attack of the birds was upon a peaceful normal small slice of ammericana.this indicated that no place was to be safe from the trumatizing effects of drugs, bizzare behavior, riots,crime,generation gap and all the other effects which were to destroy all that was held to be sacred. schools were attacked.childrens birthday partys were no longer safe.could the birds be held to represent all that was to soon render our society a fearful place to live in. even bodega bay? has anyone ever considered this point of view? if i am correct then this was the one and only prophetic and most horrifying of hitchcock`s motion pictures. I loved and hated it for that reason.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Tippi Hedren in The Birds (1963) and The Birds II (1994)., Jan. 15 2004
By 
James McDonald (Lancaster, California) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Birds [Import] (VHS Tape)
An Alfred Hitchcock classic! If you like thrillers, you'll like this one. A woman, Melanie Daniels, played by "Tippi" Hedren, is interested in some special birds in a San Francisco Bird Pet Shop. A gentleman, Mr. Mitchell Brenner, played by Rod Taylor (The Time machine [1960]) also comes in for some love birds. Miss Daniels takes a sudden interest in this dashing man, so she pretends to work in the shop for the man who requested her help. However, he just so happens to remember who she is and where he saw her before, in court. So Miss Daniels becomes more inquisitive about Mr. Brenner. She decides to put it upon herself to travel to Bodega bay to deliver two love birds to Mr. Brenner for his girl's birthday. In Bodega Bay, she encounters some interesting people (Suzanne Pleshette, Jessica Tandy, Veronica Cartwright). The birds in this small bay town don't want to welcome her. The terror starts when the birds begin mass attacks. Morgan Brittany is the child in the light blue dress. You may recognize the bird sales clerk. That was actress, Ruth McDevitt. You have seen her in the tv series' Bewitched, Love American Style and the film, Change of Habit (1969). The scared mother in the cafe is Doreen Lang. It is well known that Miss Hedren was injured during filmimg by real birds they were using and her ankle was hurt. However, she did work for Hitchcock again in MARNIE (1964). Tippi Hedren also appeared in the cable tv-movie sequel, THE BIRDS II: LAND'S END (1994).
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5.0 out of 5 stars The laws of nature are not on our side, Jan. 13 2004
This review is from: Birds, the (VHS Tape)
Very good movie. Superb. Alfred Hitchcock really made it good when he made this movie. I saw this when I was nine. When I saw the ending I was like, "What a rip off". But then I realized, since it was such a good horror movie, most horror movies are ruined by the ending. This one was just best left alone.
Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren) is a mistaken woman who has a lot of spare time on her hands. Maybe too much. Though she may be one for pranks, she decides to make a special delivery to Mitchell Brenner (Rod Taylor) with a present at hand for his sister who's birthday is coming up. Things start to become a little strange around the sleepy little town of Bodega Bay once she arrives. A gull swoops down and hits her for no reason. Crows are gathering around childrens playgrounds, and they even invade houses trying to kill people. Nothing seems to be adding up. Why the sudden change in the birds activity. What could possibly be going on that is making them go against humans? Maybe it was the humans in the first place.
The plot was really exciting in this one. When the birds attacked, it was just out in the open. There was no music which made it even stranger on account of you never really knew the mood of the present time until it happened. You weren't sure when they were, or weren't going to attack either. It took over 3 years to make this film with of all the trick photography at hand. For those of you who have seen this movie, the birds was supposed to have an alternate ending where the four survivers drive into San Fransisco and find it invaded with Birds. But Alfred hitchcock decided to cut it thinking it would give too much away. I would recommend The Birds II: Lands End also, because it was more of a make of the book instead of a sequel.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Classically cold.., Dec 10 2003
By 
Morbid Faery (Perth, Australia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Birds (Widescreen Collector's Edition) (DVD)
I decided to see The Birds for the simple reason that Alfred Hitchcock directed it(and also has a blink and you'll miss it scene outside the pet shop where he is walking two dogs). Melanie Daniels meets Mitch Brenner in a chance encounter at the pet shop downtown where he is looking to purchase some love birds. Later on, after finding out where Mitch lives; a coastal town called Bodega Bay, Melanie(Tippi Hedren) goes down to visit him so they get get aqainted better and she brings two love birds with her for his daughter Lydia. On the way over she is strangely attacked by a seagull which is later dismissed by the town as being an odd accident. The film drags on a bit and features a cool scene (SPOILER) where one of the men in the movie gets his eyes gouged out by a crow.Other than that the movie has no music score which I found incredibly amazing! Usually in movies the music works up when a suspense moment is about to happen and because there is none in the movie everything is so eerie and unexpected.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A nightmare comes to life - thanks to Hitchcock!, Oct. 6 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: The Birds (Widescreen Collector's Edition) (DVD)
Although Alfred Hitchcock is widely regarded as the greatest director of suspense and "thriller" movies in Hollywood's long history, in his direction of "The Birds" (1963), he outdoes himself. Even more than "Psycho", which started the modern "slice-and-dice" genre of horror movies, "The Birds" is a truly disturbing and surreal experience - a nightmare which comes to life on film. In my opinion "The Birds" is unlike any other Hitchcock film - it actually comes closer to movies such as "The Sixth Sense" or even "The Matrix" in the way it takes the "real world" we are all familiar and comfortable with and turns it into something that will cause you to lose sleep at night. The film's plot is deceptively simple: Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren), a rich and rather spoiled young woman, meets Mitch Brenner (Rod Taylor), a handsome and rather mysterious man, in a pet store in San Francisco. She is intrigued enough to follow him to his home in Bodega Bay, a charming but isolated small fishing town on the northern California coast. There she meets the local schoolteacher, Annie Hayworth (Suzanne Pleshette), who once had a brief affair with Mitch. Annie takes an immediate dislike to Melanie and her interest in Annie's old boyfriend. Eventually Melanie meets Mitch's mother (Jessica Tandy), a high-strung and suspicious woman who leans upon her son for emotional support and stability. However, this soap-opera style plotline is simply the background for the REAL story in the movie: as the film progresses the birds in Bodega Bay and the surrounding countryside begin to act strangely - they suddenly attack humans for no apparent reason, and start gathering in large and ominous groups on power lines and rooftops. Eventually the birds become murderous - they kill a local farmer by crashing through his bedroom window and hacking out his eyes. Then they attack the schoolchildren and the townspeople in yet another of Hitchcock's famous film sequences. As the frightened and baffled townsfolk are hemmed into their homes and stores like "birds in a cage", they blame Melanie for bringing this terror into their once-peaceful little town. The film's famous climax occurs at the home of Mitch and his mother, as a massive flock of birds attacks the home at night and tries to get inside to kill our heroes. To make this film even more disturbing and bizzare, Hitchcock decided not to have a musical score, and there is no music whatsoever - only the terrifying screeching of the birds as they attack. What makes this film work is how Hitchcock deftly takes "everyday", normal things - such as sitting on a park bench and smoking a cigarette, and turns it into something bizarre, surreal, and truly frightening. Although some critics have refused to label this film as one of Hitchcock's best, it does rank as one of the scariest thrillers of all time. Beware of "The Birds"! (But you'll love the movie).
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4.0 out of 5 stars The secret of "The Birds", July 19 2003
By 
Stanley Allen (League City, TX United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Birds (Widescreen Collector's Edition) (DVD)
Alfred Hitchcock said that "there is a terrifying meaning lurking right underneath the surface of The Birds." This meaning has heretofore been kept a strict secret among British and American intellectuals. After a long and feverish struggle with my conscience over the matter, I've decided that for the benefit of mankind the sequestering of this knowledge must cease -- and what better time than on the film's 40th anniversary!
The knotty root of this secret is contained in the title itself. A cursory glance at a dictionary of British slang will give you the translation bird=girl. The explication of the various connections that the film makes between the weaker sex and the avian order is left to the reader.
There's not much more to it than that. The film is frequently misclassified by the uninitiated: it's not a horror movie, not a man-vs-nature tale, not a piece of science fiction (the latter category was explicitly disavowed by it's creators). It is simply Hitchcock's allegory about the destructiveness and ugliness of the female psyche in its various manifestations -- mother, lover, rival, child, friend.
But to say that Hitch was a misogynist would only be half right. Like his Plato, Dr. Sigmund F., he took a dim -- dark, really -- view of the whole race. In fact, Hitchcock slaved himself so thoroughly to Freudianism that he made a separate assessment of the value of his own work problematic. How deep can an allegory go? Culture critic Camile Paglia thinks "The Birds" is more profound than I do. It's really only as deep as Siggy himself, but art can and should be deeper than psychology -- or any science. Four stars, not five.
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The Birds (Widescreen Collector's Edition)
The Birds (Widescreen Collector's Edition) by Laurent Bouzereau (DVD - 2003)
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