Maybe Hitchcock just wanted to make a scary movie. He might ask you to imagine yourself in the restaurant and suddenly a bloodied man staggers in and says “The birds are attacking and we don’t know why!” Now picture yourself in the same restaurant and suddenly a bloodied man staggers in and says, “The birds are attacking and we know exactly why!” Which is scarier?
Perhaps a better question is why Hitch spent so much time (more than usual in his films and more than you’ll see in most horror films) exploring the characters and their relationships, delving into motivations, attractions and resentments. Why does it matter that Jessica Tandy misses her husband because he is so strong and is now so dependent on her son that she doesn’t want to share him? Why do we have to know that Suzanne Pleshette’s schoolteacher is in love with Mitch and sees Melanie, (Tippi Hedren) as a rival? Why is Melanie’s escapade in Rome or her raising funds for orphans so important? Why should we care about this? Do the birds care about these things? I think Hitchcock just liked the idea of a movie starting out to be about one thing and then turning out to be about something else entirely. That’s what he did with PSYCHO, which starts out to be a crime melodrama about Janet Leigh trying to get away with some illicit funds and very suddenly becomes the seminal `slasher’ flick about Anthony Perkins and his crazy mother. In THE BIRDS we see a romantic comedy turn gradually into a soap opera and then gradually into a monster movie, with the birds being the monsters.
Looking at Tippi Hedren’s performance it’s hard to see why she didn’t become a major star. She’s gorgeous, has a strong voice, an expressive face and shows real acting ability. She should have won some kind of award for her perseverance in the attic scene, which took four days with live birds to shoot. That she came out of this an animal lover is amazing. What does it all mean? It means you’ll get your money’s worth when you show up Thursday, April 2nd at Schlafly Bottleworks in Maplewood for a screening of THE BIRDS! Special Guest Speaker Marty Smigell, the Vice President of St. Louis Audubon Society will be on hand. I’m not sure what he’ll be speaking about but it’s safe to say it has something to do with birds!
Doors open at 6:30pm. $6 suggested for the screening. A yummy variety of food from Schlafly’s kitchen is available as are plenty of pints of their famous home-brewed suds. A bartender will be on hand to take care of you. “Culture Shock” is the name of a film series here in St. Louis that is the cornerstone project of a social enterprise that is an ongoing source of support for Helping Kids Together ( http://www.helpingkidstogether.com/) a St. Louis based social enterprise dedicated to building cultural diversity and social awareness among young people through the arts and active living. The films featured for “Culture Shock” demonstrate an artistic representation of culture shock materialized through mixed genre and budgets spanning music, film and theater. Through ‘A Film Series’ working relationship with Schlafly Bottleworks, they seek to provide film lovers with an offbeat mix of dinner and a movie opportunities. We hope to see everyone next Thursday night!