The Birds

The Birds (1963): A Bird’s-Eye View of Bodega Bay

In a 1969 interview with Roger Ebert, Alfred Hitchcock described how he and his team achieved one of the most famous shots in The Birds. At a glance a bird’s-eye view of Bodega Bay, the aerial image depicts gulls swooping into frame and down towards the site of a fire which has broken out by the town’s waterfront restaurant, the result…

The Birds (1963): ‘Risseldy Rosseldy’

A couple of early incidents featuring agitated lone gulls – a swift strike as Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren) prepares to dock her motorboat, and another which annihilates itself in the Brenner front door – progress into a fully-fledged attack on Cathy Brenner’s (Veronica Cartwright) birthday party, as the youngster celebrates turning twelve. Later that evening a swarm of sparrows invade the Brenner home through…

The Birds (1963): Storyboarding the Scene at the Schoolhouse

One of the myths to have built up around the career of Alfred Hitchcock maintains that, after planning and storyboarding his films so thoroughly, once on set he never so much as peeked through the camera viewfinder, bearing each scene from start to finish precisely in his head. This sounds barely sensible, an uncharacteristic relinquishing of control and disavowal of prospective…

The Birds (1963) and Its San Francisco Pet Shop Opening

Analyses of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds have typically tended in two directions. There is the film’s at-the-time innovate use of special effects, which were added by Lewis Hampton and Ub Iwerks, but which required much in the way of planning and shooting: careful storyboarding, trained gulls, numerous camera angles, and then plenty of editing to bring together different shots. And there…