1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Birds (1963) - (Anniversary Edition)
Last evening 2013 APR 02, I actually had some spare time and I viewed this DVD on my new Blue Ray player. The Birds has always been a favourite for me, as has Alfred Hitchcocks North by Northwest. I was most impressed by the shear clarity of the product and along with the vibrant colours as well as the nature of the film itself, it was a most enjoyable movie...
Published 8 months ago by H. DUNNING
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 expectations...
Published on May 25 2004 by The Tweeder
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Birds (1963) - (Anniversary Edition),
This review is from: The Birds (1963) (DVD)Last evening 2013 APR 02, I actually had some spare time and I viewed this DVD on my new Blue Ray player. The Birds has always been a favourite for me, as has Alfred Hitchcocks North by Northwest. I was most impressed by the shear clarity of the product and along with the vibrant colours as well as the nature of the film itself, it was a most enjoyable movie experience.
Though I have seen The Birds many times, this is the most enjoyable restoration version that I have seen.
Kudos to everyone for the work involved. I must admit that I was not expecting such a good restoration product!
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!,
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".
5.0 out of 5 stars Très bien,
This review is from: The Birds (Widescreen Collector's Edition) (DVD)Super !!!
Le film est exactement ce que je voulais.
Le film est vraiment bon ! Je vous le recommande. C'est une nouvelle littéraire adapté au cinéma.
5.0 out of 5 stars Lived up to my memories,
This review is from: The Birds (DVD)This movie scared me as a child and still scared me as an adult, even though it was a littile dated
5.0 out of 5 stars Hitchcock at his best !,
This review is from: The Birds (Widescreen Collector's Edition) (DVD)You all know this movie, nothing I can say except it's a classic and well worth owning. Terrific movie on a quality DVD. I recommend this DVD.
5.0 out of 5 stars The film is great, but the Blu-ray is just okay.,
This review is from: The Birds (1963) (DVD)The recent release of The Hitchcock Masterpiece Collection on Blu-ray prompted me to revisit some of the best films in the set. I have always liked The Birds because I saw it as a child and it has stuck with me over the years. It's interesting viewing such films again with a critical eye, rather than as a young boy who just needed to be entertained.
There are frequent spoilers ahead, so stop reading now if you haven't yet seen the film.
Like Psycho, The Birds starts off with a light tone, as Hitchcock leads us to believe that the film will develop into a romantic comedy. I admire this approach because it's realistic. People would be acting normally a few days before a disaster or a terrifying turn of events. So you can expect to see the main characters introduced at the start of the film, and you'll see them flirt and develop a mutual attraction. This paves the way for Melanie Daniels' (Tippi Hedren) subsequent actions as she drives to Bodega Bay to deliver a gift for Mitch Brenner's (Rod Taylor) daughter, Cathy (Veronica Cartwright).
If Hitchcock had decided to make the entire film a romantic comedy, I'm sure he would have done a good job. There's a depth present that doesn't exist in most examples from that genre. The dialogue gives us important insights into the characters, as well as supplying some of the exposition for the basic plot. We learn that Melanie is rich and works several jobs on different days of the week. She seems to have a wild, impulsive streak, and that fits her actions when she decides to visit Mitch. She also lies often, although never in a malicious way. Mitch is playful when he interacts with Melanie, but we soon learn that he is dependable in a crisis.
Melanie is also resourceful, and we see her charter a boat and use it to approach Mitch's house unobserved. The first indication that the world might not be idyllic comes when Melanie is attacked by a gull as she is returning the boat. The scene is so out of place because there hasn't been any suggestion that the film will be anything but fun up to that point, and it seems all the more shocking for it.
The events begin to turn darker in tone, and the pace increases from the moment of the initial attack. Other people begin to report attacks, and we witness several instances of unusual behavior by the birds. This is exactly the kind of novel that Stephen King might write; the world is apparently normal, but one thing is out of place. What would you do if you witnessed similar behavior from birds or small animals? It's so unexpected that it can be quite frightening in places. There's no campy humor to relieve the tension like that found in many modern horror movies. Hitchcock slowly increases tension throughout the film, without ever explaining why the birds are behaving in such an odd way.
I have always enjoyed seeing what happens when events cause society to begin to break down. What lengths would you go to to keep yourself or your family safe, or to provide food when it was scarce? The story takes place over a couple of days, so there's no serious breakdown of order in The Birds, but we do see how people start to band together and take care of each other.
The film was made in 1963, so you can't expect the special effects to be as convincing as modern techniques would allow. The bird effects are a combination of puppets, machines, and a few live birds, using a blue screen to insert them into the action. The special effects earned an Oscar nomination at the time, so try to forgive the somewhat dated feel.
As usual, Hitchcock assembled a strong cast. Rod Taylor and Tippi Hedren are convincing as potential romantic partners, and both give good performances as their characters encounter stressful situations. Mrs. Brenner (Jessica Tandy) is an important character too. She's reluctant to embrace Melanie's arrival and fears that her son Mitch may abandon her at some point. There's one particularly good scene in which Melanie talks to Mrs. Brenner and tries to allay her fears about the birds. You can sense some level of acceptance from Mrs. Brenner, although she can't decide whether she actually likes Melanie.
One of the best scenes occurs outside the town's school, where Annie (Suzanne Pleshette) is teaching a class. She makes the children sing, while Melanie waits outside to collect Cathy. In typical Hitchcock fashion, we see one or two birds landing behind Melanie. She's unaware of their presence until she turns and sees hundreds of them. She comes to a decision and goes inside to warn Annie of the potential problem. This leads to one of the most dramatic sequences in the film as the children leave the school.
The Birds is elevated above the level of most horror films for several reasons: The characters are real people with genuine fears, the dialogue means something, the acting is strong, and the audience is given time to absorb the danger of a situation rather than being bombarded with gory or shocking scenes. The ending (intentionally) doesn't completely resolve the story, but it leaves us with a sense of optimism.
With the exception of the song sung by the children at the school, there is no score in the entire film. It reminds me of The Mist in that way, and I think the scenes contain more tension because we make up our own minds about how to feel, rather than having the music inform us that there is danger or a scary moment approaching.
Most of the whimsical scenes happen early in The Birds. Hitchcock's cameo is impossible to miss, and when somebody whistles at Melanie, it's a reference to a TV ad in which she first caught the attention of Hitchcock. By the end of the film, you'll feel as if you have been through a grueling emotional journey. It's a journey well-worth taking. It doesn't even matter why the birds were behaving so strangely, or whether their behavior was only present in Bodega Bay, or more widespread.
As for the Blu-ray, it's a mixed bag. The DTS-HD Master Audio Mono track enhances the experience considerably. The sound of fluttering wings is particularly effective. However, the picture quality is disappointing. While some of the brighter scenes do show good detail, far too many of the shots appear soft. It appears that Tippi Hedren's close-ups were intentionally softened, in a way similar to the female characters on the original Star Trek show. As for the effects, the additional information offered by the Blu-ray transfer highlights some of the weaker shots. This is probably as good as it's going to get for a long time, and I do recommend that you upgrade, but I'm still a little disappointed.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beware THE BIRDS!!!,
This review is from: The Birds (Widescreen Collector's Edition) (DVD)The Birds is one of my favorite Alfred Hitchcock films. Perhaps that has a lot to do with the beautiful Tippi Hedren, who shines in everything she does. The gorgeous scenery, adorable costumes, and lavish colors also add to the surreal atmosphere, which quickly gets disrupted by a flock of killer birds. Like many firsts Hitchcock introduced with his films, this is the first "nature run amock" film, just like Psycho was the first "slasher" film. This Psycho follow-up was yet another ground-breaking addition to the horror genre and further revealed the master director's darker obsessions.
Like Hitchcock's fabulous Rebecca and mediocre Jamaica Inn, this is based on a story by the extremely talented Daphne Du Maurier, but Hitchcock was left with the task of fleshing out the short story into a feature film. He did one hell of a job. Hitchcock and screenwriter Evan Hunter borrowed only the title and basic conceit of Daphne du Maurier's 1952 short story, "The Birds." Du Maurier's tale, conventional and utterly humorless, is a Cold War parable that uses the unexplained bird attacks as an apocalyptic metaphor for nature thrown out of balance by technology and warfare. It's told from the perspective of Nat Hocken, a disabled war veteran and farmhand living in a cottage with his family in the British Isles.
The film version is set in Bodega Bay and follows bored, spoiled socialite Melanie Daniels (Hedren) as she romantically pursues dashing lawyer Mitch Brenner (Rod Taylor). Tension soon develops among Melanie, schoolteacher Annie Hayworth, Mitch's former flame (Suzanne Pleshette), and Mitch's domineering mother (Jessica Tandy). The emotional interplay is interrupted (and reflected) by the sudden and unexplained attack of thousands of birds on the area.
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent,
This review is from: The Birds (Widescreen Collector's Edition) (DVD)Received said DVD and was surprised to hear it rattle in the case. Poor packaging. One plastic bag. When I watched it, was very pleased to find it in excellent condition & what a super movie. Enjoyed it very much.
4.0 out of 5 stars Tense thriller is a winner,
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.
5.0 out of 5 stars Birds are our Allies!,
This review is from: The Birds (Widescreen Collector's Edition) (DVD)Last night I saw the horrifying film "Arachnophobia," and my eyes were opened. Let me now tell you, "The Birds" is dangerous extremist propaganda. "The Birds" recklessly demonizes our avian friends, at the expense of global stability. Have you ever heard, "The enemy of my enemy is my friend?" Well, spiders are on the warpath, organizing as we speak. We must mend fences (or bird houses, if you will) with our avian allies and forge ahead -- to combat apocalyptic arachnids! Let's put it this way, folks. For every one bird you shoot, hundreds of spiders are free to carry on for their evil empire. For the first time in decades, I'm asking Americans to sacrifice!
The Birds earns 5 stars as the epitome of dangerous agitprop. But I highly recommend "Winged Migration," and the Disney movie with "Mr. Bluebird on my shoulder...." These films actually teach us how to appreciate birds! And that's something the spiders and their backers soon must reckon with, believe you me. You may have one question at this point: "Why did the birds take out Tippi Hedren?" A high level Cabinet source (or near-Cabinet level source) informs that Hedren was in the spider camp! Enough said. Birds are now, and have always been, on our side.
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The Birds (Widescreen Collector's Edition) by Laurent Bouzereau (DVD - 2003)