By "Georgefred Hitchkoch"

Hitchcock has sometimes been called the
Master of Suspense. Other times he has been called the Mastermind of the Mysterious. And others simply call him an idiot. Either way, the diabolical director’s claim to fame may lie in his movie The Birds, which came swooping into everyone’s lives in 1963. This peculiar horror flick stars Tippi Tipsy Hedren as Melanie Daniels, a woman who has an IQ roughly equal to that of dishwater (or birdbath water, as the case may be). Melanie happens to be in love with Mitch Brenner, played by Rod Taylor, who has all the personality and charm of a stick of gum.

    No birds were harmed during the making of this motion picture. However, some of them got pretty mad at being tied to Tippi’s suit, saying that wasn’t specified in their contracts, and they went utterly bird-serk when later denied their per diems for the inevitable shooting overruns. The line about their brainpans not being big enough was the final insult. Apparently, the birds were paid peanuts and they’d specifically requested sunflower seeds! The film, though missing a musical score, is compensated by the sound track of thousands of outraged screeching birds.

    Initially, Melanie is thought to somehow be the cause of the birds’ attacks, and she is declared pure evil by one of the townsfolk. To his credit, Hitchcock knows that the audience won’t fall for that old trick, so he puts in a smoking ornithologist, complete with feather in hat, who blinds us with fact after fact about how sweet and nice our fine feathered friends are. There is never any real explanation given for the birds' violence. Perhaps the Bodega Bay residents were being skimpy with the birdseed that week and therefore the birds felt a little, er, peckish.