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Feature
The Birds At 50: 9 Moments Of Visual Genius
Empire pays tribute to Hitch's ornithological horror

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The Tides

The Tides

Sticking two podgy fingers up to over six decades of accepted filmmaking traditions, Hitchcock shot and edited the scene in the Tides restaurant with wilful abandon. Visually pepping up what is essentially a lengthy exposition scene featuring a woman on the phone, Hitch shoots from a multitude of different angles and edits them together in unconventional fashion. With Melanie the focus of every shot, the shifting backgrounds draw attention to the occupants of the Tides as they listen in disbelief to her story. The device works to pull the Bodega Bay residents in towards Melanie, as it gradually becomes apparent that she's at the centre of the birdstorm.

Trivia titbit: Scriptwriter Evan Hunter, who would eventually virtually disown The Birds, felt that this was his best scene, modestly commenting: "Good writing, solid dramaturgy, and splendid acting when it was finally shot".
 

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1 Fawcett Farm Location
The Fawcett Farm is located maybe a mile or so northwest of the hamlet of Valley Ford on California State Highway1, just west of the intersection of Highway 1 with the Valley Ford-Freestone Road. It is easy to spot on Google Earth. My in-laws have a sheep and cattle ranch to the south of Valley Ford. Roads near Valley Ford were used in the filming of Bandits (2001). South of Valley Ford is Tomales, where the Presbyterian Church was the location for the church and cemetery scenes in Village of the Damned (1995). More

Posted by futhark on Saturday July 6, 2013, 05:06

2
Thank you very much for a really interesting feature. I reckon it must have been 20 years ago when I first saw the film (the first time I'd seen a Hitchcock), lured by the promise of many visual effects shot. I'd never really appreciated what wonderful things could be done with suspense until I'd seen the climbing frame scene. That ending is frustrating to watch aged 12 if you've only ever seen films with tied-up endings. Six years later, coming back from the Emmerich version of Godzilla, we just caught the tail-end of The Birds on TV, and again the sound effects when the three actors were just looking up at the ceiling was so much more effective than anything in that Emmerich film More

Posted by Schnorbitz on Friday March 29, 2013, 17:22


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