Sunday, January 25, 2009

Film Ignorance #23: The Birds

Film: The Birds
Rating: Meh.
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Tippi Hedren, Rod Taylor, Jessica Tandy
Year: 1963
Reason for Ignorance: Looked Stupid

Ignorance Rating*: Pending

Disclaimer: I'm one of those weird people who thinks Hitchcock was a good director but nothing special.

The Birds is essentially a Romero zombie picture in which the zombies have been replaced by marauding birds, the social commentary has been jettisoned in favor of a traditional love at first sight romance, and the lowbrow aesthetic has been replaced by the glossy sheen of Hollywood's most polished director.

If that sounds good to you, enjoy it. I wasn't particularly interested.

Everyone knows that Hitchcock loves to torture blond women, and boy does he torture Tippi Hedren in this picture. Maybe it's fair though; when his previous fetish object, Grace Kelly, left Hollywood to get married, he was without a stunningly gorgeous blond woman to cinematically torture. Then he saw a commercial with Tippi Hedren in it. So yeah, Tippi had an entire week of having angry birds flung at her for a single scene, but she also went from model to model/actor in the twinkle of the ole H-cock's eye (not that it helped her much. In the 25 movies she made after The Birds, 18 of them are rated 2 stars or less by allmovie. But at least she got work...).

I don't have much more to say about this movie. As for all Hitchcock movies of this period, it looks fantastic - he was always better shooting in color than black and white. Some of the special effects are chilling; some of them are laughable. The same can be said for various sequences in the film: many are quite well put together; another involves a gasoline spill, followed by a certain event that any four year old or person who's seen Zoolander could predict (why did he light that damn cigar?).

All in all, this was a kind of ok movie. But killer birds? That's just stupid.

*The "Ignorance Rating" is the percentage of people who voted "Yes" on the poll for this film. If ten people vote in the poll, and 5 of them have seen the movie, I give it an ignorance rating of 50. It's just a ballpark way for me to know how egregious my ignorance was in this case.


Luke said...

A "meh" for The Birds??? Since my taste in movies is so similar to yours, some how I always find it shocking when we disagree on a movie. Then again, I'm a raving lunatic for Hitchcock.

MovieMan0283 said...

I disagree with you on Hitchcock (a genius) and the idea of killer birds (awesome, not stupid) but this is not one of my favorite Hitchs. It drags too much before the birds start attacking - which I know is what auteurist critics love about it, but I don't think the director really pulled off what he was going for with the first half. I do like the second part a lot, though.