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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 28.89%
Just Average: 6.67%
Pretty Crappy: 10%
Sucks: 14.44%

3 reviews, 72 user ratings

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Birds, The
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by Charles Tatum

"For the Birds"
2 stars

Boy, am I gonna get it for this review. After watching yet another AFI Top 100 Whatever Films of All Time, I realized I had never seen "The Birds." I think Hitchcock's best film was "Rear Window," his worst "Topaz," and I can safely place this above "Topaz."

Watch out for swooping spoilers: Tippi Hedren plays Melanie (and her daughter is Melanie Griffith, see the connection?), a spoiled newspaper owner's daughter. She sees attorney Rod Taylor in a pet store looking for lovebirds for his eleven year old sister. She pretends to work at the store and tries to help him, he is on to her and pretends to be helped. Taylor calls her bluff and leaves, and Hedren takes down his license number and buys the lovebirds for him anyway, hoping to surprise him. She goes to his apartment, but he is in Bodega Bay for the weekend, so she drives up with the dang birds. She goes to his house, walks in the front door, leaves the birds and a note for the little sister, then leaves.

Let's pause. Hedren's character is a criminal, a pathological liar, and a stalker. This may have been 1964's way of meeting cute and falling in love, but today I found Hedren's pursuit a little discomforting. The entire love angle here is so forced, I felt a little ill.

Taylor finds Hedren and pursues her back to Bodega Bay. Hedren again lies about why she is there, saying she is visiting Suzanne Pleshette, a local school teacher she met when she came into town. I check my rental receipt, making sure I rented the right video, since the only bird attack so far was Hedren getting conked on the head by a gull, and that was not hard enough to satisfy me. Hedren stays with Pleshette, who also fell for Taylor years before. Taylor goes home to cold as ice mom Jessica Tandy, worlds away from "Driving Miss Daisy." Veronica Cartwright plays the little sister...I finally recognized her as an adult in such fare as "Inserts" and "The Witches of Eastwick."

Eventually, the birds begin attacking. Poor special effects also begin to attack. There is one good scene where Taylor's home is attacked by wrens or something, but the scene goes on way too long as the actors unconvincingly dodge birds that are not there. The silliest scene involves the attack at the school. I know Hitchcock hated location filming, and it shows. The children are running in place against a back screen process while shots of birds are superimposed over that. Very poor effects that made me laugh more than anything.

We also get questionable scenes where the citizens of the small town do not believe Hedren and Taylor's stories of the attacking birds, never mind the house attack, a neighbor is killed by birds, and the school is attacked. Anyone who has ever been in a small town knows the opposite would be true.

Pleshette is eventually killed, ridding us of the only likeable character, and the cast board themselves up in the house for the final onslaught. Tandy starts going a little hysterical, too. Most of the cast at this point makes special mention of the fact that they do not know why the birds are attacking. If one person says it, fine. But when at least half a dozen cast members say it at least half a dozen times, I figured Hitchcock was pandering to an audience that did have legitimate questions about why. Especially after the tacked on explanation about Norman's behavior that almost ruined "Psycho." Curious viewers want to know.

The movie ends on an unsatisfying note, as the cast drives off with birds all around, and I was stumped. The film just has no point. There are some creepy shots, like the beaks pecking through the door at the house, and some beautiful shots of the sunset, but the special effects here are pretty awful. Just because Hitchcock directed it should not be an excuse. Rod Taylor, Tandy, Pleshette, and Cartwright are fine, but Hedren's character is so weird, and she does not play it well. She is often stiff, and her scenes where she is in shock after a bird attack is again unintentionally funny.

"The Birds" just does not deserve the praise it has received over the years. Hitchcock was a genius with the camera, but often he picked some poor scripts to do ("Family Plot," anyone?). The interior scenes with back screening, and the poor special effects ruin what should have been a good film.

I cannot recommend "The Birds."

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=1274&reviewer=325
originally posted: 02/28/03 23:10:44
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User Comments

11/10/19 Karen S Be good to your fine-feathered friends -- or else 5 stars
7/16/18 Carl Bruun Hitchcock brings out the worst in critics. I can’t understand it. 4 stars
8/18/15 Carol Hitchcock should have retired after this one. 5 stars
1/02/15 Catherine H the final masterpiece classic from Hitch. do not venture later than this one of 1963 5 stars
7/18/12 cr a classic thriller with good acting and creepy suspense. 4 stars
4/02/12 keith miron Slow to start, but it got much better in the second half. 4 stars
6/06/11 Silkworm Say no more 5 stars
2/08/10 art FOR THE BIRD"S! 1 stars
10/04/08 action movie fan farfetched and takes a while but still many good thrills 4 stars
3/21/08 Pamela White intense but not scary 4 stars
3/04/08 ladavies A classic horror film. I guess people can't understand horror without zombies. 5 stars
11/22/07 Kevin One man surrounded by crazy chicks--the birds. 5 stars
11/12/07 Priscilla well... it could have been better 3 stars
4/06/07 fools♫gold Can't get any more thought-provoking. 5 stars
2/15/07 the famous amos it's a pretty good classic film.. but not as good as some now.. 4 stars
11/30/06 birds bad 1 stars
11/24/06 David Pollastrini brilliant, frightening 5 stars
6/25/06 MP Bartley Creepy tone changes to outright horror masterfully. One of his best. 5 stars
5/01/06 Eden Its about birds. They attack people. It doesnt have any 'deep symbolic undertones' to it 3 stars
12/28/05 Hebbar Its well crafted movie. One should have imagination to understand this film 5 stars
12/02/05 cr a classic creepy and freaky flim with good story and well done directing, a little slow 4 stars
11/08/05 J.D. Pittman III I couldn't stand it. I only kept watching it for a project. 1 stars
11/01/05 Raymond White this movie is such crap i cant stand it 1 stars
9/01/05 Zack ok not his top best but ok 3 stars
5/27/05 Quigley pretty hilarious film altogether. would make a great remake 4 stars
1/13/05 Nick Boyd One of the creepiest movies I have ever seen 5 stars
6/25/04 Connie Simple but intense. Unsatisfactory ending, more like the end is lost! 4 stars
6/14/04 T. Maj Creepy, funny classic--where's all the bird poop, though? 5 stars
5/20/04 alexa you have to be smart to understand it but its cool i understood it 3 stars
5/20/04 Sean Scanlan Horror and suspence dose it again 5 stars
5/19/04 Brandon Bliske This movie bites ass 1 stars
5/03/04 boborundo It was a tottaly spectacular film man! 4 stars
4/25/04 Ann This is the rhythm of society, it is a constant struggle. 4 stars
3/24/04 Cathy The best movie ever 5 stars
2/19/04 MP Bartley One of Hitchcocks top 3 5 stars
12/31/03 Jenna Not scary, weird set-up, no explanation offered for events...watch The Ring instead. 1 stars
12/06/03 john brilliant thriller - unpredictable and beautifully made - scary too! 5 stars
11/22/03 ross hendrick TERRIFRYING! 5 stars
9/27/03 Samuel Justus Classic Horror! 4 stars
7/24/03 Shadaan Feleli Hitchcock is a bludy genius ! Simply a brilliant film !!!! 5 stars
4/07/03 louise simmonds it sucked dont watch it, ending bites! 1 stars
4/02/03 Zach How can you say the effects suck when it was made in the SIXTYS. GREAT FOR WHAT IT IS. 5 stars
1/24/03 terri This movie is the best I love it so much I watch it over and over thanks for a super film! 5 stars
12/04/02 Marquisha Tate The movie was okay for what it was worth. 3 stars
6/24/02 Charles Tatum Awful effects, I started cheering for the birds 2 stars
5/17/02 Frank If you're not a Hitchcock fan, than get off his dick. This is one of his greats. 5 stars
5/12/02 Jennifer Crimeen not finished 4 stars
3/09/02 Indersharan Singh This movie sucked, the special effects were horrible and there was no noticable story line 2 stars
2/17/02 Turtle It's a fun movie, but acting and plot could've used some work. 4 stars
12/18/01 The $1.98 Pyramid Why, why did the girl entered the attic after all she's been trough? 4 stars
11/12/01 Veronica Very good movie, loved the idea behind it andloved "Tippi" Hedren 5 stars
9/14/01 Monster W. Kung Well... I'm not an Hitchcock fan, actually. And I think this is his worst. Nuff said. 2 stars
8/06/01 Mr. Hat The script needs work, but the movie itself is really exciting. 4 stars
8/06/01 E-Funk Only Hitch could pull a concept like this off. I loved it. 5 stars
7/27/01 Henry Ginsberg What a great idea for a movie . 5 stars
6/28/01 Alan Stewart Second rate Hitchcock 3 stars
3/28/01 Andrew Carden A movie you can't watch without closing your eyes. 4 stars
1/19/01 R.W. Welch Less effective than the Hitchcock classics, but reasonably entertaining 4 stars
11/14/00 salvo toscano How do you say "angoscia" in English? 5 stars
10/16/00 mac One of the best comedies of the 60's. 5 stars
6/01/00 J It Rocks, Hitch is of the old school of directors, movies that you had to think about. 5 stars
5/04/00 TIGGER Definitely one of Hitchcock's best films 5 stars
5/02/00 matt The Master of Suspense has done it again useing the seemingly harmless bird. Genious 5 stars
10/29/99 Bozo Vintage Hitchcock-as a kid I blamed the lovebirds for the whole thing 5 stars
10/24/99 Lame-Oh better than that shit movie Bats 5 stars
8/18/99 Matthew Bartley Hitchcocks finest hour.The lack of explanations is what makes it disturbing 5 stars
4/14/99 Jon Jackson I know it's a classic and all that, but c'mon it's a bit of a snoozer too. 4 stars
11/22/98 little jerry Belongs with VERTIGO & PSYCHO as Hitchcock's most audacious.Unlike any other disaster film. 5 stars
11/09/98 Silent Rob Not as expertly conceived as Psycho, Vertigo, Rear & Rope ,but damn good! The trailer slays 4 stars
11/09/98 {{{OZ}}} Another Hitchcock classic. Rod Taylor was the man. Spooky flick. 5 stars
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  28-Mar-1963 (PG)
  DVD: 14-Oct-2003



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