Trending
MOST READ
\'Most Naked Woman\' Set to Shimmy at San Antonio Burlesque Festival

'Most Naked Woman' Set to Shimmy at San Antonio Burlesque Festival

Food & Drink: The answer came unanimously without prompting or hesitation, as if sent straight from the sexually liberated goddess of... By Melanie Robinson 7/30/2014
Beaches Be Trippin\': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Beaches Be Trippin': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Arts & Culture: Let’s face it, most of us Lone Stars view the Texas coast as a poor man’s Waikiki. Hell, maybe just a poor man’s Panama Beach — only to be used... By Callie Enlow 7/10/2013
Pub: Stay Golden Social House

Pub: Stay Golden Social House

Flavor 2014: Puro meets Pearl-adjacent at this laidback joint that packs a punch with seriously delicious cocktails... 7/29/2014
Profiles in Cosplay from Ivy Doomkitty to Dog Groomers

Profiles in Cosplay from Ivy Doomkitty to Dog Groomers

Arts & Culture: Wizard World Comic Con graces San Antonio for the first time ever. The traveling pop-culture mega fest brings together comic... By Kyla Mora 7/30/2014
Chicken with a Cult Following at Pollos Asados

Chicken with a Cult Following at Pollos Asados

Food & Drink: It’s late on a Sunday morning, and the crowd that will soon fill Pollos Asados is just beginning to dribble in. Outside, the smoke from... By Ron Bechtol 7/30/2014
Calendar

Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.

Search hundreds of clubs in our database.

Follow us on Instagram @sacurrent

Print Email

Screens

sa_20130529_cover

Cover 05/29/2013

Hitchcock's 1963 Classic 'The Birds' is Still Relevant Today

Photo: , License: N/A

Photo: , License: N/A


Back in the summer of 1961, crazed seagulls suicidally flew into the sides of houses along the coastline of Monterey Bay. The cause was a mystery. About three years ago, scientists developed a working hypothesis for what happened: contaminated plankton poisoned the food chain, which eventually caused brain damage and seizures in seagulls.

For director Alfred Hitchcock, the 1961 incident convinced him to adapt Daphne du Maurier’s novelette, The Birds, into an eco-terror classic that still resonates today. While the era featured plenty of B-movie monster invasions, it was Hitch who defined the siege horror, clearing the path for movies like Night Of The Living Dead, Piranha, John Carpenter’s The Fog and even M. Night Shaylaman’s staggeringly awful The Happening.

But instead of ascribing a scientific explanation for his homicidal avian assault, Hitchcock opted for something a bit more Freudian. Rewatching the cold but undeniably virile Rod Taylor and bullet-bra’d Tippi Hedren fight off murderous gulls, jays, and crows, it becomes clear that Mother Nature is amplifying the Oedipal hysteria of Taylor’s clingy mum, Lydia (Jessica Tandy). Anxious that her darling son will abandon her for a younger woman, Lydia’s rage unleashes a feathery fury upon those who might steal Taylor’s hunky heart. From the phallic first attack as soon as Hedren and Taylor romantically flirt to the final bedroom assault that leaves her sexually carnivorous blond bombshell bloodied and battered, The Birds is a thematic bookend to the twisted maternal psychosis of Psycho, released three years earlier. It also may speak to Hitchcock’s less-than-enlightened view of the women for whom he supposedly lusted. After all, the movie’s unsettling winged attacks accompany a tale of three needy women (or as the Brits call them, “birds”) flocking around a preening himbo.

That Hitchcock’s macabre classic continues to unnerve 50 years after its release is a testament to the Master of Suspense’s impeccable sense of storytelling, pacing and composition. The visual effects are still surprisingly effective, turning an ordinary critter into an inescapable threat. Watch for the movie’s reoccurring allusions to voyeurism and blindness — a farmer’s eyes are pecked out, eye glasses and windows are shattered, a glass telephone booth is attacked, children play blind man’s bluff — and listen for Bernard Herrmann’s brilliant music-less soundtrack of electronic wing-flaps, squawks, and bird cries. Together they prove that The Birds remains a thrilling, psychologically complicated study in sublimated sexual jealousy, violence, and loneliness.

Texas Public Radio’s Cinema Tuesdays

The Birds
$10-$12
7:30pm Tues, June 4
Santikos Bijou
4522 Fredericksburg
(210) 614-8977
tpr.org/topic/cinema-Tuesdays

Recently in Screens & Tech
We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
comments powered by Disqus