The Birds

  • Directors: Alfred Hitchcock
  • Producers: Alfred Hitchcock
  • Writers: Short story, Daphne du Maurier, Screenplay, Evan Hunter
  • Genres: Horror, Romance, Thriller
  • Actors: Tippi Hedren, Rod Taylor, Jessica Tandy, Suzanne Pleshette, Veronica Cartwright

Beautiful and young Melanie Daniels (“Tippi” Hedren), a wealthy socialite whose father is an owner of a large newspaper, visits a San Francisco pet shop to pick up a myna bird she has ordered for her aunt. There, Melanie meets Mitch Brenner (Rod Taylor), a lawyer who is looking for a pair of lovebirds to give to his young sister. Mitch sees Melanie and then pretends to mistake her for a salesperson. Melanie acts out the role believing that she’s fooling Mitch until he reveals that he knew all along that she was not a salesperson of birds. Melanie, infuriated, inquires as to the reason for Mitch’s behavior and he then mentions a previous encounter that he had with her in court when he had first seen her.

Intrigued by him, she buys the lovebirds and finds the address for Mitch’s home in Bodega Bay, a small coastal village up the Pacific coast. Melanie drives to Bodega Bay and delivers the birds by sneaking across the small harbor in a motor boat to the Brenner residence. Melanie walks right into the house and leaves the birds on a foot stool with a note. As Melanie is heading back across the bay, Mitch observes her through a pair of binoculars, then circles around the bay in his car to meet her. Just as she is about to pull up to the dock, a seagull swoops down and gashes her head.

Melanie and Mitch’s family ultimately take refuge in Mitch’s house, boarding up the doors and windows. In the evening when everyone else is asleep, Melanie hears noises from the upper floor. She investigates a closed door only to find that the birds have broken through the roof. They attack her, sealing her in the room until Mitch comes to her rescue. Lydia and Mitch bandage Melanie’s wounds, but determine she must get to a hospital. In a surreal and apocalyptic scene, a sea of landed birds ripples menacingly around them as they leave the house, but do not attack. The car radio (the uncredited announcer is Ken Ackerman, longtime San Francisco radio personality) gives reports of several smaller attacks by birds in a few other communities in coastal California. The sea of birds parts as they slowly proceed toward the road and pick up speed. The film concludes with the four driving away from the farm, down the coast road and out of sight, as thousands of birds watch them.

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