3.7 stars. It's a little too winkingly mannered and determinedly/dementedly stylised, even for me. However, it brings a hysterical edge to an otherwise sub-par du Maurier story. Žižek's psychoanalysis of it in 'Pervert's Guide to Cinema' is pretty convincing, Hitchcock definitely pinning to aspects to the sleeve of his work post-'Psycho'. It's fun, lurid and unpleasant, but pretty damn daffy! Traumatised my mum.
Unrelentingly macabre in the depths into which it sinks. So much so for 1963, that I imagine Hitchcock felt emboldened hot off of Psycho's success. Like his other major works, it's as encoded and unreal as a dream, lending itself to the notion that we're really seeing Ms. Daniels' idle fantasy. Appropriate that the spectacle is conjured by anxiety, both maternal and filial, around leaving the nest.
The best "when animals attack" horror movie. Tippi Hedren show why sometimes the mother outshines their daughter and Suzanne Pleshette is gorgeous as "the teacher you wish you had in school but never saw". Some dated effects will provide a laugh on teenagers that don't know better and think computers have exited since the beginning of time but I find them effective in a way CGI never can be.
Obviously a landmark of the thriller genre and a worthy part of Hitchcock's body of work. However, in this post-"Birdemic" world it does not hold up too well partly because of its un-Hitchcockian reliance on special effects and because of mixed messaging the film itself is attempting.
I was maybe about 14 years old when I first saw Hitchcock's(versus Vertigo's psychedelia)hypnagogic (just listen to the silence) thriller masterpiece and my world and perception of cinema were rocked by some online thinkpiece that*suggested*a parallel between the bird attacks and Lydia's doubt, shame,fear,jealousy and repressed wishes. A perfect film then, now and forever,that gripped me and will never let go.[cont.]
There is no motor driving it, no music to tether it, and nothing to hold it aloft apart from that up-draft of sensual atmosphere and existential dread. Hitchcock reportedly worried at length over how to wrap things up. He eventually ditched the scripted final scene in favour of a non-resolution, an open ending, although I would have liked better a more consistent ending.