Sunday, 13 February 2011

The Bird 1963 | Alfred Hitchcock (Review)

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Fig 1 | 'The Bird's' Poster
1963 and another smash hit of Hitchcock’s took to the screen. The Birds, similar to the likes of  ‘Rope’ and ‘Psycho’ toys with the fears of the viewers this time though not through human mind but through that of animal evolution. 
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Fig 2| Crows Gather On The Climbing Frame

The synopsis of this classic film depicts the life of a wealthy San Francisco socialite who pursues a potential boyfriend to a small Northern California town.  No sooner of the socialite arrival at her destination the birds begin to act bizarre attacking all citizens. Meanwhile the socialite Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren) tries to win over the mother of potential love. 

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Fig 3| Hathaway And Daniels Planning Their Escape


Hitchcock begins the feature with the ‘chase’.  In the start scene we see Melanie being made a fool by a handsome Mitch Brenner (portrayed by Rod Taylor) she believes him to be a potential partner. The insanity of which drives her literally to a remote village with a pair of love birds.  Hitchcock suggest for this reason the desperation of woman furthermore the need for a male in their lives which is strengthened when the mother meets Melanie for the first time.  Lydia Brenner (played by Jessica Tandy) seems to struggle with the new woman in the house and questions about her to Mitch. From this point of view we can see the perspective again of Hitchcock as we find out that Lydia has lost her husband. For this reason the Freudian theory of the mother being close to the  son and vice a versa is implied much more sue to the lost of a masculine figure in her life. Moreover, as the conversation between Annie Hayworth (played by Suzanne Pleshette) the viewer is given this ideology plainly as Hayworth states that she feels that the reason the mother never liked her because she was taken the male figure out of the mother life.
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Fig 4 | Melanie Dicusses The Birds With The Bar
In turn, Hitchcock vision seems sexist in a way and therefore implies that the birds are also a metaphorical symbol for this also. As we see the escalation of attacks starting with the seagull attacking Melanie on the boat. In theory the uses of the birds suggest that there are distressed much as the mother is at a new figure. Instinctively the birds will attack if their hatchling or eggs are under attack. Hitchcock never states this but the implications of the metaphor suggest such an ideology.  Furthermore their actions are not that different from that of the mother who lashes out at the Mitch whilst their under attack. Stating that his less of a man than his father, then calming down seconds later; very much in correlation with the birds’ attacking strategy. What makes the film Hitchcockian for this reason is it symbolism for that of the female mind but also supplying that extra fear of nature, the inexplicability of evil and, this being Hitchcock, an unhealthy fascination with his female characters' sexual neuroses. - Film 4. In turn he subtle suggests the insanity of a women’s mind and their obsession over a male figure. The final scene therefore leaves and eerie and bitter taste in the mouth as Melanie looks up to the mother who finally seems to accept another presence of a female. Moreover, the ideology that know she has been weakened by the attack she also needs to rely on the mother make us ponder that Hitchcock may be looking at the nature of humanity and like that of the lioness; women who want to be with the alpha male contest for his love.  Furthermore this analogy can be seen via the birds who immediately settle down after Melanie is subdued.  Therefore  ‘the context of the birds concentrating their fury upon a house in which a possessive and jealous mother hovers anxiously over her son’ - BOSLEY CROWTHER suggest that the bird are in fact the mind of the mother. In turn the attacks are imagery of  a woman’s mind in turmoil over a female presence contesting for the male.
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Fig 5| Melannie Atacked By A Seagull

Hitchcock although is quite subtle with his opinion of who will win the heart of the male as the lover birds sit peacefully throughout the film. The lovebirds, ostensibly family pets, perching smugly in their cage throughout the attack, seem to Know Something. – Time. These birds speak for the mind of Melanie and her belief that love will triumph over the mother’s need. Therefore Hitchcock’s implied message display inner workings of women’s mind the lover and the family. Moreover for this reason the lover will always prevail and for this reason the birds remain calm meanwhile the motherly instincts run wild and a mass till the build reach breaking point and she attacks.
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Fig 6 | Melanie And Schools Kids Under Attack By Crows

 In conclusion Hitchcock’s The Birds is symbolism for the transfer from mothers love to that of a new lover. The use of birds within this suggests quite evidently the clash of minds between both and the inevitable battle that a mother has with a new female presence in their boy’s life. All in all the film follows the very bones of Freud’s theory not to mention implying a sexist slant on woman necessity for a male presence in their lives. The film becomes a much watch as the film is very much about the female instinct and the mind game in which takes place over wining a man. 
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Fig 7| Final Scene Birds Gathered Outside The House As The Brenners And Mrs Daniels Drive Away

Fig 1 Hitchcock Alfred (1963) 'The Birds' Film Poster
[Film Poster] From: The Birds


Fig 2 Hitchcock Alfred (1963) Crows Gather On The Climbing Frame
[Film Still] From: The Birds


Fig 3 Hitchcock Alfred (1963) Hathaway And Daniels Planning Their Escape
[Film Still] From: The Birds

Fig 4 Hitchcock Alfred (1963) Melanie Dicusses The Birds With The Bar
[Film Still] From: The Birds

Fig 5 Hitchcock Alfred (1963) Melannie Atacked By A Seagull
[Film Still] From: The Birds 
Fig 6 Hitchcock Alfred (1963) Melanie And Schools Kids Under Attack By Crows
[Film Still] From: The Birds 

Fig 7 Hitchcock Alfred (1963) Final Scene Birds Gathered Outside The House As The Brenners And Mrs Daniels Drive Away
[Film Still] From: The Birds


Bibliography

Crowther, Bosley (1963) The Birds
 (Accessed on 13.02.11)

Film 4 (1998) The Birds
 (Accessed on 13.02.11)

 

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