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Film Studies 101
Feature
The Birds At 50: 9 Moments Of Visual Genius
Empire pays tribute to Hitch's ornithological horror

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The Invisible Door

In an ingenious shot, Hitchcock achieves the apparently impossible by tracking his camera backwards through a closed door. Designed purely to get round a practical problem rather than to convey a specific emotion (although you could argue it adds to the surrealism of the story), it's nevertheless worth close inspection. Hitchcock had Rod Taylor reach towards camera, just out of shot, and mime opening a door. A light reveals the previously silhouetted actors, a sound effect of an opening door is added, et voilà! The tracking shot is maintained.

Trivia titbit
: "Aren't you gonna know there's no door there?" Veronica Cartwright asked her director. "But how would I be able to see you?" Hitchcock replied, simultaneously baffling and delighting his 13 year-old star. "That's the magic of movies."
 

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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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