316 UCB, 80309-0316
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"The Birds" is here, and what a joy to behold a self-contained movie which does not feed parasitically on outside cultural references—Chekhov, Synge, O'Neill, Genet, Behan, Melville, or what have you.
Drawing from the relatively invisible literary talents of Daphne DuMaurier and Evan Hunter, Alfred Hitchcock has fashioned a major work of cinematic art, and "cinematic" is the operative term here, not "literary" or "sociological."
There is one sequence, for example, where the heroine is in an outboard motor boat churning across the bay while the hero's car is racing around the shore road to intercept her on the other side. This race, in itself pure cinema, is seen entirely from the girl's point of view. We see only what she can see from the rowboat. Suddenly, near shore, the camera picks up a sea gull swooping down on our heroine. For just a second, the point of view is shifted, and we are permitted to see the bird before its victim does. The director has apparently broken an aesthetic rule for the sake of a shock effect—gull pecks girl. Yet this momentary incursion of the objective on the subjective is remarkably consistent with the meaning of the film.
The theme, after all, is complacency, as the director has stated on innumerable occasions . . . As in "Psycho," Hitchcock succeeds in implicating his audience to such an extent that the much-criticized, apparently anticlimactic ending of the film finds the audience more blood-thirsty than the birds.— Andrew Sarris, The Village Voice
Tue February 25, 2020, 7:30 PM, Muenzinger Auditorium
USA, 1963, English, Color, 119min, PG-13