The Birds (1963)
The Calgary Society of Independent Filmmakers and the Calgary Cinematheque are pleased to present an exciting double feature event in order to close out the Cinematheque's latest season! Join us for this captivating pairing of unconventional works and experience the thrill of Hitchcock as never before!
Double Take (Grimonprez, 2009) is a paranoid meta-movie that transgresses the lines of fiction and documentary and is perfectly paired with its shadow-film, Hitchcock's own sci-fi-realist 1963 shocker: The Birds.
Making a terrifying menace out of what is assumed to be one of nature's most innocent creatures and one of man's most melodious friends, Mr. Hitchcock and his associates have constructed a horror film that should raise the hackles of the most courageous and put goose-pimples on the toughest hide. … and as is his fashion, he has constructed it beautifully, so that the emotions are carefully worked up to the point where they can be slugged.Bosley Crowther, NYT, 1963
Alfred Hitchcock's most abstract film, and perhaps his subtlest, still yielding new meanings and inflections after a dozen or more viewings. As emblems of sexual tension, divine retribution, meaningless chaos, metaphysical inversion, and aching human guilt, his attacking birds acquire a metaphorical complexity and slipperiness worthy of Melville. Tippi Hedren's lead performance is still open to controversy, but her evident stage fright is put to sublimely Hitchcockian uses.Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
What sets The Birds apart from the other films in Hitchcock's incredible ten-year run is its remarkable chilliness. Matt Bailey, 2005
The film couldn't be simpler: birds attack humans. Hitch never provides an explanation or even a satisfactory conclusion to this problem. What's more, the first real attack doesn't come until around the film's halfway point, and yet the Master keeps us riveted throughout with his playful little hints. By the time The Birds reaches its climax, the tension and terror becomes almost joyously unbearable.Jeffrey M. Anderson, 2006
Alfred Hitchcock's 1963 follow-up to Psycho (1960) is an ambitious adaptation of a Daphne du Maurier story. Groundbreaking on several levels of cinematic technique and dramatic form, The Birds combines forward-thinking special effects with an unconventional soundscape to instill a palpable lurking fear in the audience. Although not as horrifically shocking as Psycho, The Birds is a more sophisticated film, and represents a high watermark in the prolific career of a true maestro of cinema.Cole Smithey, 2009
Hailed as one of Hitchcock's masterpieces by some and despised by others, The Birds is certainly among the director's more complex and fascinating works. Volumes have been written about the film, with each writer picking it apart scene by scene in order to prove his or her particular critical theory--mostly of the psychoanalytic variety. Be that as it may, even those who grow impatient with the slow build-up or occasional dramatic lapses cannot deny the terrifying power of many of the film's haunting images: the bird point-of-view shot of Bodega Bay, the birds slowly gathering on the playground monkey bars, the attack on the children's birthday party, Melanie trapped in the attic, and the final ambiguous shot of the defeated humans leaving Bodega Bay while the thousands of triumphant birds gathered on the ground watch them go.TV Guide, 2007
What he made was essentially the world's first conservationist horror picture … in the end, it's a movie that feels like it was made by a brilliant filmmaker who simply felt challenged by the enormity of the task. In that regard, it's close to 100 percent successful. Ken Hanke, 2007