Hitchcock's 'The Birds' playing at Cinemark 12

By by dianna wray/dwray@vicad.com
Sept. 12, 2012 at 4:12 a.m.

Alfred Hitchcock was trying to come up with something different for his next project. He had just finished "Psycho," the film that scared star Janet Leigh so much in the making of it, that she said she refused to take showers for the rest of her life. His tale of a mother-obsessed madman with a penchant for wigs had been a hit, and now he needed a new direction to go.

The famed director took to the skies with his decision to film Daphne du Maurier's chilling short story of winged creatures gone wrong, "The Birds."

A beautiful woman, played by Tippi Hedren, meets a handsome man, Rod Taylor, complete with neckerchief, and pursues him to a Northern California island. There, things get weird, as for no apparent reason, the birds, all of them, begin to attack.

Hitchcock discovered Hedren, and she made her debut in the film. He also, legend has it, took a liking to her, and when the actress didn't respond, Hitch didn't take it well. There's a famous scene in the movie where Hedren is being attacked by the angry birds in an attic. The sequence took a week to film and Hitchcock tied live birds to Hedren and had them attack her. She got the scene done but a doctor ordered a week's rest and her nightmares were filled with the flapping of wings.

But that's not the point of the movie - in fact, what the bird attacks really mean is left open to the viewer's interpretation. Hitchcock had been making films for decades when he took on this challenge, and the result is a movie that has you on the edge of your seat, a bundle of nerves for the entire movie.

Not every director keeps hold of the ability to terrify an audience, but Hitchcock proved he still knew how to tell a story that would leave you eyeing even your grandmother's ancient parrot, waiting for the moment when it too would turn on mankind and begin the attack. In one fell swoop - so to speak - Hitchcock proved he could make anything scary.

"The Birds" is playing at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Wednesday at Cinemark 12.



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