“The Birds is coming!”
Indeed, it was, and it seems that they have never left, as Alfred Hitchcock’s seminal nature-strikes-back flick just celebrated its 60th anniversary to much fanfare.
Released to critical acclaim on March 28th 1963, The Birds saw Hitchcock embrace horror once again as he rode the wave of terror he began with 1960’s Psycho.
Touted by the filmmaker as “the most technically difficult film I’ve ever made,” The Birds challenged all technical boundaries at the time. Making use of live animals, composite shots and matte paintings, the picture went on to set a new standard in special effects work.
Much like Psycho, Hitchcock took a gamble with the level of brutality depicted in the picture, but was very abreast of cinema’s changing attitudes. No longer satiated with a musical sting and a cutaway, audiences wanted all the gory details. Hitchcock was happy to oblige and lit up the screen with relentless bird attacks and the merciless pecking out of eyes.
In the years since the film’s release, its source material has achieved much more acclaim thanks to the high-profile adaption. Daphne Du Maurier’s short story is currently one of the most purchased audiobooks on iTunes and cries abound for a more faithful adaption.
To that end, talk of a remake has persisted for years, despite the objections of The Birds star Tippi Hedren. Nothing has yet come to pass, and currently the only continuation of Hitchcock’s winged terror tale is the much maligned 1994 made-for-television film The Birds II: Lands End.
Whether the material is adapted again or not, Hitchcock’s film certainly stands the test of time and will likely continue to endure. Here’s to 60 more years of wing-flapping, eye gouging terror.