People always ask, "Why do you hate birds so much? Is it because of the movie?" Well, I hate birds because they're filthy and random and yes, I did see the movie as a kid, but I don't remember it as being a defining ornithophobic moment. In fact, I love Hitchcock's movie--I consider it to be a documentary--and so when I found out that TMC was presenting The Birds on the big screen last night, I had to be there.
The theater was pretty full. Now, you know me-- I normally glare at fellow moviegoers if they so much as breathe too heavily, but the crowd made it fun. I went by myself because Mike had an open house at the high school, but a nice older couple sat next to me for protection and I'm sure the man thought I was a nut job for covering my eyes during every close-up shot of birds--whether they were attacking or not.
The Birds was made in 1963, which makes it 49 years old. Of course, the special effects would be different today, but overall it held up well. Here are some random thoughts that went through my head as I watched, along with some facts I pulled off IMDB:
- Tippi Hendren's character, Melanie Daniels, wore the same green suit through the entire movie. (Well, maybe it wasn't the exact same suit, but it's the only thing the audience sees her in.) She goes to Bodega Bay on a Saturday, stays Saturday night at Annie the schoolteacher's house, stays Sunday night at Mitch's, and the movie ends Monday night. Yes, she did buy a nightgown in town, but three days in the same outfit? Phew!
- That said, she looked beautiful and timeless. Now, there's something you can't say about a movie made in the 80s.
- Man, people really lit up back then! In the classic scene outside the schoolhouse, Melanie's sitting there, smoking away. Imagine seeing a woman in a suit sitting in the schoolyard puffing away on a cigarette now? She'd be arrested!
- Toward the end of the movie after Mitch pulls Melanie from the bird attack upstairs, he lies her on the couch. I thought it was funny that the first thing he barks to his younger sister, Cathy, is,"Get the bourbon!" He then pours a glass and guides it to Melanie's lips.
- Did you know that Veronica Cartwright, who played Cathy, is the older sister of Angela Cartwright? Angela Cartwright played Penny on one of my favorite shows from childhood, Lost in Space.
- Jessica Tandy, who played Mitch and Cathy's mother, was born in 1909, making her 54 years old when the movie came out. That's my age now!!! I guess if you imagine her with her hair dyed and styled differently, she'd look pretty good, but man, I always thought of her as being really old in the movie.
- Remember Mrs. Bundy, the know-it-all old lady in the restaurant after the birds attacked the school? Her name in real life was Ethel Griffies and she was born in 1878!!! That means she was 85 in 1963. She was as scary as the birds--reminds me of my old gym teacher from junior high. Talk about repressed memories.
Anyway, experiencing The Birds in the movie theater was awesome. I can't tell you how many times I've seen it on TV, but I don't know when I last watched it straight through from the beginning. No matter how big your TV is at home, you pick up so much more on the giant screen, and because you can't text in the theater or tend to other distractions, you have to give the movie your full attention. Which it deserves.
Don't forget, you can get yourself a Tippi Hendren Barbie Collector doll on Amazon.com. Yes, "Echoed from the set of the classic Alfred Hitchcock film -- the surreal and spellbinding Tippi Hendren, as beautiful socialite Melanie Daniels, in cinematic detail with the unpredictable birds." And the best part is, it's only $129.99!
But you know what the REAL collector's item will be: The Linda Lou Collector doll. Now, this will be worth something someday! What an incredible investment!
I'm just not right...
My IMMEDIATE, initial reaction to reading the first paragraph was that we're so old that no one is going to get the 'Silkwood' reference (Dennis Miller style), and then I read your age breakdowns of the cast... :P Great bird attack picture! :)
"Angela Cartwright played Penny on one of my favorite shows from childhood, Lost in Space."
I used to love Lost in Space too. Now if we can find the other two people who watched it (instead of Batman), maybe we can form a club :)
as long as the doll is anatomically correct I want one!
Hmmm ... I watched Lost in Space just a little ... mostly to see Penny!
Oh -- and is it just me being my usual horndog self, or do other see two of the birds ready to attack the ... uhhh ... best parts of the doll?
Now that you've seen the movie on the big screen, does this mean you can finally hang up The Birds poster Lori and I lugged home for you?
I also loved watching Lost in Space.
@ Coach: Funny--I have a reference to Paul Lynde in my book, and my friends at the Henderson Writers' Group told me to take it out, saying no one would know who he was. I insisted on keeping it in, figuring whoever got the joke would really appreciate it.
@ Lucki Duck: Well, there's you, me, my sister Lori and my friend Donna... that's a fan club right there!
@ R Jacob: You're too funny!
@ lightning36: Um... must be male birds. Never noticed that!
@ Donna: Lori hangs that poster in my room whenever I stay at her house!
hey Linda stumbled into your blog from The Birds facebook page. awesome write up. here's another trivia tidbit: Cartwright is the other female lead in the horror classic Alien starring Sigourney Weaver made about 16 years after The Birds! I always thought it was cool that she was in 2 of my favorite horrors even though she was never a big star
Manish, thanks for stopping by! Cool trivia tidbit. Ironically, your name is how I would describe dear Mrs. Bundy!
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