Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
The Big 2015 Movie Preview
The 50 Best Films Of 2014
Review Of The Year 2014
Subscribe: The January Sale!
Try 3 issues of Empire magazine for just £1
Must-Have Movie Collectibles
Bid on some classic memorabilia
Feature
The Birds At 50: 9 Moments Of Visual Genius
Empire pays tribute to Hitch's ornithological horror

submit to reddit

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Back 6 of 9 Next

The Gas Station Attack

The attack on the Bodega Bay gas station is a sequence familiar to film students the world over. The actions of a single bird result in a stream of gasoline heading from a petrol pump towards an unwitting cigar smoker, whose discarded match proves that smoking really is very bad for your health. As the stream catches fire, Hitchcock cuts between near-static shots of Melanie watching, and the fire trail racing back towards the petrol pump. Each shot is fractionally shorter than the previous one, building up to the explosion not just with a clinical rise in tension but also in an experimental juxtaposition of movement (the flame) and stasis (Melanie's face). The sequence is topped off by a leisurely, insanely high-angle shot showing the birds observing the carnage with dispassionate menace, before they descend on the town to wreak further havoc.

Trivia titbit: Hitch calculated this short sequence with military precision: from the first shot of Melanie looking off screen (20 frames long), each successive shot is two frames shorter. The final shot of Melanie in the sequence is just eight frames long.
 

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Back
6 of 9
Next

Have Your Say
Register or login now to let us know what you think.

Your Comments

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


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
The X-Men TV Series: 10 Possible Plotlines
Mutants on a budget? We suggest some ideas for Fox’s new franchise extension

10 Kid-Friendly Marvel Comics That Could Be The Next Big Hero 6
Walt Disney Animation Studios have a lot to play with elsewhere in the Marvelverse

20 Sitcom Spin-Offs That Were Doomed To Fail
From Joey to Ally and back again…

Jessica Chastain Takes The IMDbunker
The Most Violent Year star takes our most random quiz

Five Impressive Oscar Isaac Roles You Didn't Realise Were Oscar Isaac
Welcome to Oscar season...

Fables: A Primer
An introduction to Bill Willingham’s wonderfully dark fairy-tale world

12 Hitchcock Remakes Ranked From Best To Worst
Lifeboat in space, anyone?

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 12 Issues Of Empire For Only £25!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 12 issues of Empire for just £25!
Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)