Thoughts On: The Birds - Marriage And How To Do It?


The Birds - Marriage And How To Do It?

Quick Thoughts: The Birds

Melanie Daniels follows romance to a small beach town about to be attacked by huge flocks of birds.

This is not a good film. It most definitely hasn't aged that well, but, that doesn't really matter. It was crap to begin with. My primary argument on this is that it's utter nonsense, moreover, the acting is mediocre, characterisation flat, plot more than disinteresting and the logic... wow... the logic. But, most of all, this film is in no way horrifying - not to me. I don't want to rip into this film though for it does have some redeeming qualities. Its bat-shit-crazy narrative and insane character motivations (to run into flocks of somehow killer birds) is driven by a singular metaphor. The birds are in fact Hitchcock's way of presenting the social atmosphere of the town and relationships between characters. The birds of course start as a humorous euphemism with the love birds, but become violent when the plot moves into Bodega Bay. It's here where sea gulls, crows and sparrows attack - even the chickens are a bit off. This all comes down to the relationship between Melanie and Mitch. Mitch seems to be some kind of player who has mummy and daddy issues. This should be ringing many alarm bells - especially if you've read my post on Psycho. (Links in the end). Hitchcock uses birds in the same way he does with Norman and Marion in that they represent a possible relationship. In Psycho the relationships in question are between Norman and women as well as Marion and Sam. With The Birds it's between Mitch, his family and Melanie. In short, Mitch's family are in a slight upheaval with his father having died, leaving his mother needing a trustworthy son and his sister a role model. The women he then chooses to bring around have a huge effect on his family's dynamic. Moreover, the conflict between Melanie and Mitch's family permeates throughout the whole town - it being small and gossip being capable of devastating the family. This results in the birds attacking - an expression of said hostility. You see this clearly with every scene revealing character, such as Mitch's and Melanie's back stories, proceeding an attack. Moreover, every time their relationship progresses, the birds grow violent. This ultimately plunges the town into chaos and puts many in danger. This somewhat abbreviated explanation of what the birds are then allows you to recognise the question posed to both Mitch and Melanie who are at fault (metaphorically) for the bird attacks. The question posed to them is whether they want to stick around town and make this film a horror/tragedy much like Romeo And Juliet meets Psycho (but with birds replacing knives) or leave for the sake of preserving a healthy family circle. And it's with the end of the film that all the characters learn to trust and respect one another, so they can leave the town with the ex-girlfriends and painful history to start again.

It's by comparing Psycho to The Birds that you get a nice juxtaposition of how to overcome memory and convoluted social ties to move forward in life - not get stuck. So, if you haven't checked out the Psycho post: links here.

And if you want to see why this Quick Thoughts essay is apart of the Receptacle Series make sure you check out:

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