The movie “the bird” is among the first modern end-of-the-world movie. Alfred Hitchcock makes the film even more disturbing by leaving people in suspense at the end. Moreover, he does not explain where the birds came from and why they started attacking in the movie.
It made people have many questions about the movie, and even others started criticizing it. However, Alfred Hitchcock explained the reason why the birds attacked in an interview. Alfred intended not to explain anything in the movie as it would have brought less fear.
After finishing this article, you will know why the birds attacked in the movie the bird. Moreover, you will also know more about the movie.
Why Did The Birds In The Movie The Birds Attack?
In 1962, after releasing the movie, Hitchcock went to an interview to explain the birds’ attack. He explained that the bird got tired of being killed and eaten by humans. Therefore, they decided to avenge themselves and attack the humans. The birds were angry that humans had taken nature for granted.
At the movie’s beginning, Hitchcock displays how humans are self-absorbed and constantly complain about small things. As the film continues, the humans come face-to-face with nature’s fury, and they suddenly drop everything they are doing.
Origin Story Of ‘The Bird’ Movie
Hitchcock got the idea of birds attacking without any explanation from ‘The Birds,” written by author Daphne Du Maurier. The theme of the book focused mainly on a farming family called Hockens that lived in rural England.
Suddenly the community is beset with waves of birds attack that cause great destruction. The destruction was severe that the birds often killed themselves in the process. In the movie, the ending is unclear. However, Daphne made it certain in the book that the end of the world had come.
Hitchcock’s movie, the bird, shares nothing else with the book apart from the theme of a bird attack. The inspiration to film the movie the bird came from an actual life bird attack.
On August 18, 1961, the Santa Cruz newspaper reported that millions of birds smashed into cars and buildings in Capitola town. After research, people knew the cause of the attack was consuming contaminated food. The birds ate on nearby anchovies that had never-damaging toxins.
There are different scenes in the movie that got inspiration from real-life events, for example, the part where the birds pecked out the eyes of a farmer. The idea came to Hitchcock when farmers In Bodega town told him about how cows attacked their young lambs and plucked out their eyes.
Moreover, there is also another scene where birds invaded the house through Brenners’ chimney. The idea behind this scene may have come from the La Jolla, CA, incident in 1960. Hundreds of Vaux swifts invaded the houses of a married couple through a chimney and brought chaos.
The Casts In The Bird Movie
The following are some of the main casts in the bird’s movie.
- Tippi Hedren: she features as a spoiled socialite Melanie Daniels, the female lead in the movie.
- Rod Taylor features Mitch Brenner, a lawyer who spent weekends in Bodega Bay with his mother and sister. He is the male lead in the movie.
- Jessica Tandy: Jessica features Lydia Brenner, Mitch’s mother. She portrays the trait of being a hyper-possessive mother, and she dislikes Melanie immediately.
- Suzanne Pleshette: she features Annie Hayworth, who is a schoolteacher and a former lover of Mitch. She moves to Bodega Bay after breaking up to be near Mitch.
- Veronica Cartwright: Veronica features Cathy Brenner, the sister to Mitch, who is eleven years old.Ethel Griffies: she features Mrs. Bundy, who is an ornithologist. She explains to Melanie that birds cannot organize a mass attack on humans.
The Plot Of The Bird Movie
The movie starts on San Francisco streets in the year 1963. Melanie runs across a rugged lawyer Mitch in the pet shop, and he recognizes her as the spoiled, wealthy socialite. Melanie pretends to be working at the pet shop, but Mitch strings her along. Mitch later scolds her because of the prank.
When they departed, Mitch left Melanie with the notion that he was searching for a pair of lovebirds. The lovebirds were to be a gift for his sister Cathy who was turning eleven. Melanie develops a romantic interest in Mitch.
She buys the lovebirds for Mitch and takes them to Mitch’s apartment. However, she gets informed that Mitch has spent the weekend in Bodega Bay with his family. Melanie takes the lovebirds and goes to Bodega Bay, where she asks around about Mitch.
Once she knows where Mitch and his family live, she rents a motorboat and heads up to Mitch’s house. She then sneaks into his house and leaves the lovebirds there, and runs back to town. Mitch becomes aware that she is in town and meets with her as she brings the boat into the dock.
Moments before Melanie lands in town, a seagull comes from nowhere and pecks her on the head. Later that night, Melanie spends his first night at Annie’s home. They discover that a gull killed itself at Annie’s front door.
The guests get attacked by gulls at Cathy’s birthday the next day. Mitch’s mother goes to a local farmer’s house to see if his chickens also refused to eat. She finds the farmer dead with his eyes pecked out of their sockets.
Melanie offers to pick Cathy from school as she fears for her safety. Crows then attack children as they run down the street from the schoolhouse into town. Melanie then meets Mitch at a bayside restaurant, where a man pumping gas outside the restaurant gets attacked by a gull. The nozzle drops and fills the street with gasoline.
Another comes lighting a cigar and drops his match on the gasoline. He and the car exploded, and half of the downtown is ablaze. Some of the Gulls descending for another attack attacked Melanie as she was heading into a phone booth.
Mitch rescues her and takes her back into the restaurant. Back in the restaurant, a woman accuses Melanie that she is the cause of the bird attack since she is evil. They later go to Annie’s house to take Cathy. They find Cathy sobbing, and Annie pecked to death.
Melanie spends that night with the Brenners in their home. Mitch carefully blocks every possible entrance anticipating another bird attack. The birds eventually attack when they systematically pecked the door open. Suddenly the birds go away.
The family goes to sleep except for Melanie. She then hears some rustling sound upstairs and decides to go and see what was happening. She gets attacked by a swarm of hostile birds when she enters the attic.
The birds pecked at her until she becomes unconscious. Mitch later comes and saves her and realizes that Melanie needs to go to the hospital. Mitch goes and retrieves Melanie’s sports car and inches it in front of the house’s front door. The movie ends in suspense, where Mitch, Lydia, Cathy, and Melanie get surrounded by what looks like millions of birds.
Analysis Of The Bird Movie
Hitchcock leaves the viewer in suspense by not offering a resolution end to the movie and no explanation of the birds’ attack. However, he later explained that the birds attacked was because humans had taken nature for granted. Therefore, it is right to view the movie as the pioneer in horror movies’ “nature’s revenge” genre.
Camille Paglia, a feminist renegade, sees the movie as an exploration of female violence. She also metaphors the bird attacks as Lydia’s possessive jealousy of her son.
Critic Margaret M. Horwitz shares the same view as Camille Paglia. She believes that the heroine gets punished by the hero’s mother because the heroine desired the hero. Moreover, the male character’s inability to solve the oedipal relationship was the cause of everything. She believed that the bird’s aggression was a displacement of maternal possessiveness.
What Do The Lovebirds Mean?
Melanie developed feelings towards Mitch. Therefore the lovebirds were to symbolize the budding romance between the two characters. Moreover, they were the only birds in the film that did not bring destruction and violence.
What Car Did Melanie Drive-In The Movie?
Melanie owns a super-sporty silver convertible racer car that plays a significant role in the film. She uses the car to go to Bodega Bay. Mitch’s family and Melanie squeeze in it at the movie’s end and crawl away when surrounded by millions of birds.
Where Did Hitchcock Film The Movie?
The primary scenes of the movie got filmed in the real-life California town of Bodega Bay. The place is about sixty-seven miles north of San Francisco. However, other scenes got filmed in the studio.
The movie became one of the most-watched films in American history when it premiered on network Tv in 1968. Hitchcock made it even scarier by not explaining the cause of the bird’s attack. Later, Hitchcock explained why the birds attacked in an interview, and he said it was because humans took nature for granted.