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Yojimbo's Movie Reviews (2316)

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Birds, The (1963) 
"The Birds" by Yojimbo
3/4 stars

Playful heiress Tippi Hedren pursues handsome lawyer Rod Taylor to the sleepy coastal village of Bodega Bay only to become besieged by flocks of killer birds. This film is another of Hitchcock's most influential and its formula pretty much became the blueprint for all disaster/creature features that followed. The premise is of course ridiculous, but this film is more of a showcase for directorial expertise. It begins with the usual soapy set up as we get to know the main characters, and it seems more a breezy romance with some nice snappy dialogue and likable characters. Hitchcock then builds the tension in his inimitable style, as waves of attackers slowly appear, subside and reappear while the increasingly paranoid victims wait for the next onslaught holed up in an isolated house; Night Of The Living Dead in particular owes more than a little debt to Hitch on this score. Tippi Hedren is one of those leading ladies that he obviously chose for looks rather than talent, but her imperfections are shored up by a solid turn by Taylor and some strong support by Suzanne Pleshette and Jessica Tandy. The whole idea of killer budgies is of course the film's main weakness because birds just aren't particularly scary, and a rather anti-climactic ending certainly doesn't help. But taken as a collection of great moments and memorable scenes, it more than does its job.


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