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The Birds (1963)

A wealthy San Francisco socialite pursues a potential boyfriend to a small Northern California town that slowly takes a turn for the bizarre when birds of all kinds suddenly begin to attack people.
(PG, 119 min.)

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Friday, October 23, 2020

(TBD)

The story begins as an innocuous romantic triangle involving wealthy, spoiled Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren), handsome Mitch Brenner (Rod Taylor), and schoolteacher Annie Hayworth (Suzanne Pleshette). The human story begins in a San Francisco pet shop and culminates at the home of Mitch's mother (Jessica Tandy) at Bodega Bay, where the characters' sense of security is slowly eroded by the curious behavior of the birds in the area. At first, it's no more than a sea gull swooping down and pecking at Melanie's head. Things take a truly ugly turn when hundreds of birds converge on a children's party. There is never an explanation as to why the birds have run amok, but once the onslaught begins, there's virtually no letup. [Rovi]

Starring: Rod Taylor, Tippi Hedren, Jessica Tandy
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Genre(s): Drama, Horror, Mystery

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"Genuinely disturbing thriller classic from the master of suspense."

— Kim Newman, Empire

"Few films depict so eerily yet so meticulously the metaphysical and historical sense of a world out of joint."

— Richard Brody, New Yorker

"The essential Hitchcock movie, the purest and most confident, a brilliant distillation of the themes that had fueled him ever since he sent the lodger creeping to his upstairs room."

— Xan Brooks, The Guardian

"Hitchcock prolongs his prelude to horror for more than half the film, playing with audience suspense with comedy and romance while he sets his stage. The horror when it comes is a hair-raiser."

— James Powers, Hollywood Reporter

"The true genius of the film, based on a 1952 short story by Daphne du Maurier, is the way Hitchcock makes the malevolent birds seem like manifestations of his characters' mental unease."

— Alastair Sooke, Daily Telegraph (UK)

"Jaws before the world was ready, Hitch’s much misappreciated follow-up to Psycho is arguably the greatest of all disaster films—a triumph of special effects, as well as the fountainhead of what has become known as gross-out horror."

— J. Hoberman, Village Voice

"As emblems of sexual tension, divine retribution, meaningless chaos, metaphysical inversion, and aching human guilt, his attacking birds acquire a metaphorical complexity and slipperiness worthy of Melville. Tippi Hedren's lead performance is still open to controversy, but her evident stage fright is put to sublimely Hitchcockian uses."

— Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader