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The Cutting Edge Film Programme

Birds

Figure 1 The Birds is a suspense/horror film made in 1963 and is directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Tippi Hendren stars as Melanie Daniels, a socialite who meets Mitch Brenner (Rod Taylor) at a bird shop situated in San Francisco. She shows a sudden interest In Brenner as she pretends to work as a salesperson in order to approach him. Brenner however admits that she has met her before in a previous encounter without a valid explanation which makes her suspicious, and leads her to follow him to Bodega Bay in California. As the intensity of Melanie and Mitchs relationship develop a series of strange events occur which involve vicious bird attacks in Bodega Bay.

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Figure 2 In comparison to Psycho Hitchcock uses a different method in terms of the storyline, In Psycho the explanation of the psychotic analysis of Norman Bates is explained in detail which justified his actions in the film, however in Birds, the bird attacks which occur are unexplained, leaving the story in suspense as the characters escape to San Francisco. Just as the penultimate scene of Psycho proposes a coldly analytical interpretation of that films events an interpretation that, like the shot that follows it, manages to dredge up the truth but not to assuage the overall sense of dread and uncertainty The Birds also proposes its share of rational explanations, but they offer neither satisfaction nor comfort (Goldsmith, L, 2012)

Figure 3

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The nature of this story was influenced by real life events that had occurred in Capitola California, 1961 where Birds was seen slamming into front doors of houses in the area; the town was consequently seen covered with dead birds in the streets. Scientists discovered that the cause of this came from the birds natural diet of eating shellfish which included a type of acid which had made the birds delirious and confused. But the film cannot solely be interpreted in a scientific manner, because as the actors in the film discover in the long discussion scene in the Tides Restaurant, there is no solid, rational reason why the birds are attacking. They are not seeking revenge for nature's mistreatment, or foreshadowing doomsday, and they don't represent God's punishment for humankind's evil (Filmsite, 1963) The dramatic pacing, special effects and sound effects are used effectively to create suspense and tension which overall makes the story seem as scary as it is. While the attacks are occasionally scary, it's actually the scenes between the waves of attacks that are the most frightening. Given the limitations of the special effects, it's impressive that the scenes of attack are as scary as they are (Scott, 2010)

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Illustrations
Figure 1 http://images1.fanpop.com/images/photos/2400000/The-Birds-alfred-hitchcock2422003-1024-768.jpg Figure 2 http://images1.fanpop.com/images/photos/1600000/Original-The-Birds-alfred-hitchcock1622941-653-353.jpg Figure 3http://www.filmreference.com/Films-Bh-Bo/The-Birds.html

Bibliography
(Goldsmith, L 2012) http://www.notcoming.com/reviews/the-birds/ (Filmsite Movie Review, 1963) http://www.filmsite.org/bird.html (Scott, 2010) http://www.threemoviebuffs.com/review/birds

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