"The Birds" on Arte
With this film, Hitchcock created images that will never be forgotten
Anyone who has seen "The Birds" will never again walk past a collection of poultry without a shudder. Arte is showing Alfred Hitchcock's 1963 masterpiece on Sunday evening. That's why you should definitely see the film (again).
It quickly becomes clear that this is a fateful encounter: when unmarried lawyer Mitchell "Mitch" Brenner (Rod Taylor) met Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren) meets, he searches in vain for a pair of lovebirds for his sister. Daniels already has his eye on the man and surprises him in his place of residence with a pair of these same lovebirds.
A strong, overly clear symbol, because of course there is a clear one Love interest between Brenner and Daniels. But nobody should be misled by this: "The birds" is anything but a love story. It's a shocker that hasn't lost its impact even 60 years after it was made.
"The Birds": Alfred Hitchcock's late masterpiece
The horror is so haunting precisely because it occurs without any reason, without prior notice, in an idyllic place. Bodega Bay is a tranquil little Californian town, located directly on the Pacific Ocean. Here, of all places, a deadly threat breaks into everyday life out of nowhere. A danger that is also so frightening because it comes from beings that surround us every day. Anyone who has seen Alfred Hitchcock's late masterpiece will never again be able to see a gathering of birds on a tightrope without being terrified.
Filming for leading actress Tippi Hedren was a particular ordeal. Because Hitch wanted to capture the bird terror as realistically as possible, live birds were thrown at the actress for a scene at the end of the film. This scene was filmed for a whole week. Birds kept pecking at her. A bird just missed her left eye and gave her a deep flesh wound. She then suffered a nervous breakdown and was put on sick leave for a week.
The documentary "Tippi Hedren and the Wild Animals", which tells the career of the actress and deals with the complicated relationship between Hedren and Alfred Hitchcock, is also worthwhile because of such anecdotes.
Arte shows "The Birds" on Sunday, September 18, at 8:15 p.m. Immediately afterwards, the documentary "Tippi Hedren and the wild animals" will be shown at 10:15 p.m.