It was 1963… Alfred Hitchcock released his film The Birds

It was 1963… Alfred Hitchcock released his film The Birds

60 years! For sixty years, this film has frightened those who have it: The Birds is one of the great films by Hitchcock, the master of suspense.

The birds (The Brides in VO) is Alfred Hitchcock’s 48th film and is the adaptation of Daphne du Maurier’s 1952 book, he had already adapted one of his previous stories, Rebecca 1940). This short story was originally intended for the television series Alfred Hitchcock Presents. But after the worldwide success of psychosis In 1960 he had to find a new story – just as strong and when he heard the story of a woman being attacked by birds he thought about this story and decided to make a movie out of it. Ed McBain will write the screenplay (after Hitchcock eyed Ray Bradbury). He explains the story in All About Brides:

“It was apocalyptic news. It’s about birds that inexplicably attack a farm in Cornwall. After reading it I would have given anything to work with Alfred Hitchcock. I called him and he asked me to present my ideas to him. He had chosen to just keep the title and the idea of ​​these birds attacking humans. He waited for my suggestions. I remember Hitch showing me articles about these inexplicable attacks to remind me that this wasn’t fiction. »

A simple but effective pitch

San Francisco, 1962. A young woman and a lawyer engage in a game of seduction with a bird trapper. In order to see him again, she uses a trick and decides to deliver him some birds herself, “the lovebirds”. On the street, she is attacked by a seagull. Soon, strange phenomena related to bird behavior herald an imminent tragedy…

Rod Taylor and Tippi Hedren (future heroine of No spring for Marnie) will be the heroes of this story that sounds like a nightmare that anyone can empathize with and that gives us a different look at the birds around us.

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A nightmarish scene for Tippi Hedren

One scene remains particularly challenging for anyone who has seen the film: the one where Melanie is attacked in the attic by a horde of birds. For this sequence, the actress had to face real birds that were let loose on her, some of which were even connected to her costume with wires.

“I did my best to stay calm. It was so awful. I really had to fend off the birds. They didn’t attack. It is not in their nature to do so. But they came at me and I had to defend myself. Cary Grant came on set to see Hitch. He said to me: “You are a very brave woman”. I told him he was exaggerating. But it was really terrible. On Friday I had to lie dead tired on the ground. I got hurt in the movie. Rita Riggs, my costumer who has become a talented designer, had put strips of fabric around me with little rubber bands hanging everywhere. I put my dress on. She pulled the elastics through the holes in the dress and they attached the bird’s foot to me. It lasted all Friday. One of the birds decided to move away from my shoulder until… He jumped up and brushed me near my eye. I shouted : That’s enough ! They all walked away and I sat in the middle of the set and cried. I was really exhausted. Everybody is gone. You left me there. »