May 11, 2009

17th May 2009; Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds

The Birds
A film by Alfred Hitchcock
Country: USA
Runtime: 119 min
English with English sub tiltles
17th May 2009 ; 5.45 pm
Ashwin Hospital Auditorium
Call : 97904 57568

This masterpiece is one of Hitchcock's purest forays into cinema. An unusual Hitchcock film in many ways, including that it has little hint of plot twists, The Birds amounts to Hitchcock's masterpiece entry in the late crop of 50's monster films. Loosely based on a short story by Daphne Du Maurier (who also provided source material for Hitchcock's Jamaica Inn and Rebecca), the film couldn't be simpler: birds attack humans. Hitch never provides an explanation or even a satisfactory conclusion to this problem. What's more, the first real attack doesn't come until around the film's halfway point, and yet the Master keeps us riveted throughout with his playful little hints. By the time The Birds reaches its climax, the tension and terror becomes almost joyously unbearable.The Birds introduces us to Melanie Daniels, a socialite in the fullest sense of the word. A creature of her big-city environment, comfortable with her social and sexual status, adroit, adept at getting what she wants. Intelligent, wily, occupied, but powerfully bored, indulging her not-very-serious whims until they have serious results.Hitchcock and Evan Hunter (screenplay) give us a rogues’ gallery of Freudian dysfunction: Mitch Brenner (Rod Taylor), a San Francisco lawyer and mama’s boy incapable of committing to an intimate relationship; Lydia Brenner (Jessica Tandy), Mitch’s neurotic mother, depressed since the death of her husband four years ago and desperately jealous of any woman who shows an interest in her son; Annie Hayworth (Suzanne Pleshette), a spinsterish school teacher still bitter and obsessed long after Mitch has spurned her affections; and, finally, the frigid and vain Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren), who begins a flirtation with Mitch that seems destined for the same failure that beset Annie Hayworth’s scuttled relationship.Hitchcock’s penchant for minimalist frames and charged visual metaphors, influenced by silent era expressionism, here has been razored down to resemble Japanese artistry, especially in the way Hitchcock places figures in relation to landscapes. Robert Burks’ superb cinematography is crucial. The sparseness of the drama makes The Birds the first haiku monster movie.
In The Birds, humans are living in a gilded cage, fluttering behind bars, delivered from the dangerous freedom of true flight, living in what Norman Bates called “private traps."
(Source : Internet)

Alfred Hitchcock

He was known to his audiences as the 'Master of Suspense' and what Hitchcock mastered was not only the art of making films but also the task of taming his own raging imagination. Director of such works as Vertigo, Psycho, The Birds and The 39 steps, Hitchcock told his stories through intelligent plots witty dialogue and a spoonful of mystery and murder. In doing so, he inspired a new generation of filmmakers and revolutionized the thriller genre, making him a legend around the world. His brilliance was sometimes too bright: He was hated as well as loved, oversimplified as well as over analyzed. Hitchcock was eccentric, demanding, inventive, impassioned and he had a great sense of British humor.

He was born Alfred Joseph Hitchcock, his father was a green grocer called William Hitchcock (1862 - 1914), his mother was Emma Jane Whelan (1863 - 1942) and he had two older siblings, William Hitchcock (Born 1890) and Eileen Hitchcock(born 1892). He grew up in a very strict Roman Catholic family. He attended St Ignatius college and a school for engineering and navigation. In 1914, when Hitchcock was 15 years old, his father died.

It was around 1920 when Hitchcock joined the film industry, he started off drawing the sets (Since he was a very skilled artist) and he met Alma Reville, though they never really spoke to each other. It was only when the director for "Always tell your wife" fell ill and Hitchcock had to complete the film, that he started off in the directing part of the film world, then Alma Reville and Hitchcock began to talk to each other.

Hitchcock had his first shot of being the director of a film in 1923 when he was to direct the film "The Number 13", though the production was stopped. Hitchcock didn't give up then. He directed a film called "The Pleasure Garden" in 1925, a British/German production, which was very popular. In 1926, Hitchcock made his first notable film, "The Lodger". In the same year on the 2nd of December, Hitchcock married Alma Reville. They had one child called Patricia Hitchcock (born 7th July 1928).

His success followed when he made a number of films in Britain such as "The Lady Vanishes" (1938) and Jamaica Inn (1939), some of them which also made him famous in the USA. David O. Selznick, an American producer at the time, got in touch with Hitchcock and the Hitchcock family moved to the USA to direct an adaptation of Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca (1940).

It was when Saboteur (1942) was made, that films companies began to call his films after him; such as Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho, Alfred Hitchcock's Family Plot, Alfred Hitchcock's Frenzy.

During the making of Frenzy (1972), Hitchcock's wife Alma suffered a paralyzing stroke which made her unable to walk.

He retired soon after making Family Plot (1976). He started to write a screenplay with Ernest Lehman called "The Short Night" then later David Freeman who completed the script. Though due to Hitchcock's failing health the film was never made. Freeman published the script after Hitchcock's death.

In late 1979, Hitchcock was knighted, making him Sir Alfred Hitchcock. On the 29th April 1980, 9:17AM, he died peacefully in his sleep

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