The Birds


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The Birds

  1. 1. Analyse the trailer • What aspects of a typical thriller does it contain? • How does it appeal to its audience? •
  2. 2. “The Birds” (1963) 119 min - Horror | Thriller Director: Alfred Hitchcock Writers: Daphne Du Maurier (story), Evan Hunter (screenplay) • Stars: • Rod Taylor, Tippi Hedren and Suzanne Pleshette • • • • •
  3. 3. “The Birds” • A wealthy San Francisco socialite pursues a potential boyfriend to a small Northern California town that slowly takes a turn for the bizarre when birds of all kinds suddenly begin to attack people there in increasing numbers and with increasing viciousness
  4. 4. “The Birds” In what ways is this an archetypal thriller?
  5. 5. “The Birds” • This time the external threat is from nature!
  6. 6. Hitchcock • Often in Hitchcock there is nowhere to hide – eg Bodega Bay in “The Birds”
  7. 7. “The Birds” • “Thrillers are characterized by fast pacing, frequent action,” • Find examples of this in “The Birds” • Watch the first clip – it then directs you to other key scenes you can analyse. •
  8. 8. “The Birds” • “resourceful heroes who must thwart the plans of more powerful and better equipped villains.” • Is this true of ““The Birds””?
  9. 9. “The Birds” • “Devices such as suspense, red herrings and cliffhangers are used extensively.” • Find examples of this in ““The Birds”” Be specific!
  10. 10. Dramatic Irony • Dramatic irony – when audience know something individual characters do not. In the schoolyard scene Tippi Hendren does not know the birds have been gathering but the audience does. We have knowledge denied to the character.
  11. 11. Hitchcock Technique • In Schoolyard scene the underlying score of the innocent child’s song is in contrast to the evil in nature. Tippi Hendren’s character is only guilty of taking nature for granted. • In “The Birds” scene outside the café – the high camera angle is like the gaze of a pitiless God who cannot be bothered to intervene.
  12. 12. “The Birds” • “A thriller is a villain driven plot, whereby he presents obstacles the hero must overcome.” • Is this true of ““The Birds””? • Talk about the MacGuffin
  13. 13. MacGuffin • MacGuffin (sometimes McGuffin or maguffin) is "a plot element that catches the viewers' attention or drives the plot of a work of fiction".[1] • The defining aspect of a MacGuffin is that the major players in the story are (at least initially) willing to do and sacrifice almost anything to obtain it, regardless of what the MacGuffin actually is.
  14. 14. MacGuffin • In fact, the specific nature of the MacGuffin may be ambiguous, undefined, generic, left open to interpretation or otherwise completely unimportant to the plot. • Common examples are money, victory, glory, survival, a source of power, or a potential threat, or it may simply be something entirely unexplained.
  15. 15. MacGuffin • The MacGuffin is common in films, especially thrillers. Commonly, though not always, the MacGuffin is the central focus of the film in the first act, and then declines in importance as the struggles and motivations of characters play out.
  16. 16. MacGuffin • It may come back into play at the climax of the story, but sometimes the MacGuffin is actually forgotten by the end of the film. • In TV interviews, Hitchcock defined a MacGuffin as the object around which the plot revolves, but, as to what that object specifically is, he declared, "the audience don't care"
  17. 17. Did you know? • The scene where Tippi Hedren is ravaged by birds near the end of the movie took a week to shoot. The birds were attached to her clothes by long nylon threads so they could not get away.
  18. 18. How it was done. • The movie features 370 effects shots. The final shot is a composite of 32 separately filmed elements.
  19. 19. The End • A number of endings were being considered for this film. One that was considered would have showed the Golden Gate Bridge completely covered by birds. The film does not finish with the usual "THE END" title because Alfred Hitchcock wanted to give the impression of unending terror.
  20. 20. Dip your toe into the lake of fear! • When audiences left the film's UK premiere at the Odeon, Leicester Square, London, they were greeted by the sound of screeching and flapping birds from loudspeakers hidden in the trees to scare them further.
  21. 21. Wow! • Hedren was actually cut in the face by a bird in one of the shots. • There is no musical score for the film except for the sounds created on the mixtrautonium, an early electronic musical instrument, by Oskar Sala, and the children singing in the school.
  22. 22. Hitchcock Thoughts •Mankind has abused birds throughout history. Deliberate irony in the café scene with the elderly ‘bird loving’ lady. She is interrupted by an order for three southern fried chickens. In addition one of the other character’s initial reaction is to shoot the birds. •Hitchcock said that in “The Birds” the usual evasions (science/religion) are denied to us. We are on our own.
  23. 23. “The Birds” • Hitchcock said thrillers allow the audience, "to put their toe in the cold water of fear to see what it's like” Has he succeeded in this film? Hitchcock speaks v=MZjaVdJt59U