Thursday, October 09, 2008
31 Days of Halloween - Day 9 Movie 2
It's been at least a decade since I last saw Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds" (1963). I know for many that this movie, about unexplained mass bird attacks on the human population of a small northern California coastal town, was terrifying in the way that "Jaws," was terrifying for others. It's never had that effect on me, but that's never detracted from my enjoyment of this movie.
There's a reason that Hitchcock is so revered, and this movie displays his skills at storytelling. The movie, which is leisurely paced by today's standards, is riveting all the way through, even when the birds have nothing to do with it (and it takes some time for the bird attacks to come). The characters are all interesting even if their conversational styles are anything but natural, or maybe because of that. The cast is excellent, and the bird attacks, when they do come, are chaotic and relentless. I noticed that the special effects did seem to have been digitally tweaked a bit--not to the degree of the original Star Wars trilogy when George Lucas created his special editions, but just enough to clean up some of the matte problems that were aparent in the original print. While I'm generally for leaving movies alone and letting the work show as an example of the abilities and limitations of available technology at the time of their making, I'm glad that this was done here. The matte lines, and occassional transparency of the birds did tend to detract from being immersed in the movies, and brought attention to its fakery.