We're excited to present a great new set of boards to classic movie fans with tons of new features, stability, and performance.

If you’re new to the message boards, please “Register” to get started. If you want to learn more about the new boards, visit our FAQ.

Register

If you're a returning member, start by resetting your password to claim your old display name using your email address.

Re-Register

Thanks for your continued support of the TCM Message Boards.

X

Kyle Kersten was a true friend of TCM. One of the first and most active participants of the Message Boards, “Kyle in Hollywood” (aka, hlywdkjk) demonstrated a depth of knowledge and largesse of spirit that made him one of the most popular and respected voices in these forums. This thread is a living memorial to his life and love of movies, which remain with us still.

X

Jump to content


Photo

Daily Dose #18: Love Birds (Opening Scene of The Birds)


  • Please log in to reply
195 replies to this topic

#181 Mandroid51

Mandroid51

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 152 posts

Posted 25 July 2017 - 09:21 AM


​However, one particular part of the opening sound perplexes me. Just before Melanie enters the bird shop, she hears a wolf whistle and turns to see that it was made by a passing boy. It really seems to make Melanie's day that an apparently sub-teen-aged boy would display sexual attraction to her, and she breaks into a beaming and approving broad smile. Personally, I thought this was creepy. Did we really need a kid to inform us that Melanie was hot? I think we could have figured that out ourselves.


It does seem creepy in that context but I recall a story that Hitch was in on an inside joke about a commercial that Tippi was in where they whistled at her. I think Hitch was playing with that as a side note perhaps he's playing to a younger audience as opposed to strong sexual undertones. Experts can correct me if I'm wrong.
  • riffraf, tshawcross, picasso55 and 1 other like this

#182 agebha2

agebha2

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 20 posts

Posted 25 July 2017 - 09:17 AM

In what ways does this opening scene seem more appropriate to a romantic comedy than a “horror of the apocalypse” film? What do we learn about Melanie (Tippi Hedren) and Mitch (Rod Taylor) in this scene?

 

One way this opening scene seems more appropriate to a romantic comedy is the fact that it seems more like a "slice of life" than a prelude of things to come. It seems like your classic "boy meets girl" kind of story. 

 

Another way is the focus on the love birds in the pet shop. Melanie sees other birds (more ominous ones) as she walks into the pet shop, but there is no lingering on them. The lovebirds seem to signal a budding romance more than an apocalyptic disaster. The dialogue between the two characters as Mitch is describing the ideal bird could also be construed as the perfect mate--not too demonstrative, not too aloof.

 

We learn a few things about Melanie and Mitch. We learn that Melanie is there to pick up a special bird, one that has the ability to talk. Mitch is kind of a superior type--immediately he assumes Melanie is a salesgirl just because she's standing at the check-out counter, but what is more interesting is that she goes along with it right away. We also learn that Mitch has a very young sister whose birthday is coming up, and that is why he is looking at birds.

 

How does Hitchcock use sound design in this opening sequence? For example, how are the sounds of birds used to create a particular mood and atmosphere?

 

As Hitchcock has stated, the birds are the stars of the movie, and from the very beginning we are aware of their presence. Though we can see the characters, the only sounds we hear are of the birds. While at first the sounds of the birds doesn't seem like anything out of the ordinary, the fact that there really is no other extradiegetic sound starts to give the audience the feeling that they are all around, closing in.

 

The opening scene contains a famous Hitchcock cameo. Describe the cameo and if you think it has any particular meaning in relation to this scene.

 

The Hitchcock cameo in this scene is Hitchcock leaving the pet shop walking his two dogs. While I don't know if it has any particular meaning in relation to the scene, it could be related to the fact that the two characters in imminent danger walk into the shop looking for birds, while the man with the dogs will probably be just fine.


  • riffraf, tshawcross and Mandroid51 like this

#183 Mandroid51

Mandroid51

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 152 posts

Posted 25 July 2017 - 09:11 AM

1. In what ways does this opening scene seem more appropriate to a romantic comedy than a “horror of the apocalypse” film? What do we learn about Melanie (Tippi Hedren) and Mitch (Rod Taylor) in this scene?

It seems more like a romantic comedy because other than the foreshadowing of the hovering mass of birds in the sky Tippi flirtingly doubles as the pet store attendant and proceeds to be knowledgable of birds. She's playing an imposter in order to flirt and toy with Rod Taylor who we learn about looking for "love birds" in all the right places. You'd never know doom or apocalyptic themes were to take place even the music is light and suggestive of familiar romantic comedies. Correction: so light is the music it's not even there ;) my bad

2. How does Hitchcock use sound design in this opening sequence? For example, how are the sounds of birds used to create a particular mood and atmosphere?

I'll need more time to study the sounds so early in the film especially since Hitch will really lay it on in later scenes. I'd say the pet store with the layering of bird sounds are meant to emerse us in this world first as an audience that is safe and the dominant species then only later to be the prey (dominated) or victims of the natural world in unnatural circumstances. True chaos... FYI: I've seen the birds as much as Psycho and they strike me as his more horror-like genre. I like how he describes the "nightmare" that is 'North By Northwest' also, RIP Martin Landau so glad I could tell you how much of a legend I thought you were...

3. The opening scene contains a famous Hitchcock cameo. Describe the cameo and if you think it has any particular meaning in relation to this scene.

Playful cameo. Very memorable and fitting for using his own dogs. I think it's a bit ironic he's walking dogs as though he's giving us a clue that they are possibly more subservient species than the unruly birds but I could be stretching that theory also ;)
  • riffraf, tshawcross and Sue Anne like this

#184 tshawcross

tshawcross

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 89 posts
  • LocationDelray Beach, Florida

Posted 25 July 2017 - 08:57 AM

1.     In what ways does this opening scene seem more appropriate to a romantic comedy than a “horror of the apocalypse” film? What do we learn about Melanie (Tippi Hedren) and Mitch (Rod Taylor) through their interactions in this scene?

It was very illuminating for me to view the opening scene through the lens of Dr. Edwards' comment that the opening was a microcosm of the entire picture. I have not yet seen The Birds​, but now I am looking forward to it. I concur that the opening seems more like that of a romcom than of a horror film, and I suppose that was just Hitchcock being Hitchcock and setting us up for horror to pop up in seemingly everyday situations.

​Through their interactions, we learn that Melanie is plucky and interested in flirting with Mitch. We also learn that he is on to her, as it quickly becomes obvious that he knows much more about birds than she does. I particularly liked the humor that Hitchcock injected into their banter, such as when Melanie said that one can tell by their hangdog expressions that birds were molting.

​On a personal note, having been on vacation in San Francisco with my girlfriend two months ago, I was pleasantly surprised to see that Hitchcock opened the scene with a shot of Union Square and a passing cable car. As if these clues alone were not enough to establish that the scene was taking place in San Francisco, he has Melanie walk past a poster that says "San Francisco." It seems it was important to Hitchcock that the viewer should know exactly where actions take place. I wish I had seen this movie prior to two months ago, when my girlfriend and I were there. I took a picture of her with a background shot of the Big Alma statue, and it would have been fun to know that Hitchcock had seagulls swarming above it in the opening scene of ​The Birds.      


 

2.     How does Hitchcock use sound design in this opening sequence? For example, how are the sounds of birds used to create a particular mood and atmosphere?

I suspect I would not have noticed that the opening did not include music if Dr. Edwards had not pointed this out. I think it was ingenious for Hitchcock to use bird sounds and ambient street noise for his sound design. The comparison of the cries of the angry sea gulls to the submissive chirping of the bird shop birds was an interesting microcosm and harbinger of the movie. Frankly, the ability to distinguish between actual bird sounds and simulated bird sounds made by a modified Trautonium is not one of my core skills, so I am wondering if both were included in this opening sequence.

​However, one particular part of the opening sound perplexes me. Just before Melanie enters the bird shop,  she hears a wolf whistle and turns to see that it was made by a passing boy. It really seems to make Melanie's day that an apparently sub-teen-aged boy would display sexual attraction to her, and she breaks into a beaming and approving broad smile. Personally, I thought this was creepy. Did we really need a kid to inform us that Melanie was hot? I think we could have figured that out ourselves.   


 

3.     The opening scene contains a famous Hitchcock cameo. Describe the cameo and if you think it has any particular meaning in relation to this scene.

​This is a great question! Knowing that Hitchcock frequently made cameo appearances in his films, many of which were so brief as to be nearly unnoticeable, I have often wondered what was he trying to accomplish with his cameos. Were they intended to convey meaning? It seems to me that his early cameo in The Lodger​, which I could not see until classmates indicated the precise seconds in which we saw the back of Hitchcock's head as he sat at a desk, may have been made simply because he wanted to save a little money by not paying an extra to play the scene. Maybe he just wanted to put his personal stamp into his movies, and his cameos did not necessarily "mean" anything? Frankly, I cannot divine any meanings to many of his cameos, such as the one we recently saw where he tries to get on a bus but cannot. As for his cameo in The Birds​, people say that his two dogs point to his love of the "Doubling" theme, and the same has been said of the double bass he carries in his cameo in ​Strangers on a Train."  I suspect that Hitchcock put some careful thought into what he would do in his cameos, but if so, his effort was lost on me.      


  • GeezerNoir, riffraf, HEYMOE and 5 others like this

#185 jamesrspencer

jamesrspencer

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 29 posts
  • LocationLong Beach

Posted 25 July 2017 - 08:53 AM

what ways does this opening scene seem more appropriate to a romantic comedy than a “horror of the apocalypse” film? What do we learn about Melanie (Tippi Hedren) and Mitch (Rod Taylor) in this scene?

 

The Birds is my 2nd favorite Hitchcock next to Psycho.  Contrary to the question I do sense  a slight "horror apocalypse" foreshadowing in the opening scene mixed with dark and romantic comedy elements.  Maybe that is because I first saw this movie at age 6 and was really creeped out by it.  I have never been a big birds fan when it came to nature or pets.  As a child, there was a a large jungle jim near in the elementary school park.  One October it was cloudy and I remember the black crows gathering in packs nearly 40 of them... it was so reminiscent of the schoolhouse scene from the movie that I couldn't even go outside to play.  I remember even "not wanting" to go to school because of the the Birds.  In addition I currently live in a beautiful historical area of Long Beach, CA with many palm trees.  At certain times of the year, 100s of wild green parrots from Mexico fly into the palms in front of my condo.  In fact I have a panoramic glass window view of these palms.  Some mornings I'm waken up to the cacophony of parrot chirping that is so unsettling and then there is the retaliation of bird **** all over the cars that are forced to park on the street because many condos, and buildings in the old historic district I live in have no garages.  I also once was driving on PCH in Huntington Beach and a gull actually did crash into my car!  So though I doubt a bird apocolypse is possible, I do believe that smaller bird attacks and bizarre bird incidents are!  I also had crows that bit through telephone wires on my roof disconnecting my phone on 3 occasions.  I had to change to cell phone only.  Crazy huh?  Do like birds?  (NO NO NO).  I also have 2 friends who have parrots.  I can't stand the grating noise they make, the molting feathers and the smell.  UGG. so freaky.  

 

Ok sorry now to the movie:  I always loved San Fran, and of course TIppi is the typical Hitchcock blonde, graceful and beautiful.  I find it interesting that she is dressed in black business outfit which foreshadows danger.  The one shot of the black birds in the sky... freak me out!!!  Where others might not think about it.... I remember the first time I saw that .. was like Oh god time to move out of SF LOL.   When Tipppi (Melanie) enteres the shop... I'm easily as unsettled ... all those birds flapping their wings in cages to me is unsettling.  

 

Rod Taylor is in my opinion a pretty sexy actor.  I love him in this movie.  I love how he mistakens Tippi (Melanie) for the shop girl.  The flirtation is funny but the talk of birds foreshadow events to come.  Esp.. talking about birds being locked up..  It sets up the bird attacks so perfectly.  Even though I found the dark comedy/romantic elements sexy and fun.. I 'm always thinking.. what is one of those damn birds gets out of the cage and plucks Tippi's eye out.

 

I like how Hitch uses social class in development of characters..  Tippi (Melanie) is rich and expects to ALWAYS gets what she wants.  She is cross with the shop girl.  "Where are my birds" they are so suppose to be here.  Have them delivered to my penthouse etc.  This theme will lead her on her obsessive chase to get Rod Taylor (Mitch) into bed and romance (I don't blame her LOL).  The banter of Mitch buying love birds for his baby sis, and not wanting birds too "demonstrative" is funny to me.  I love Hitchcock's humor in this movie which is what makes The Birds so bizarre when the attacks start.  BIRDS is just plain bizarre and creepy which is why I love it. 

 

How does Hitchcock use sound design in this opening sequence? For example, how are the sounds of birds used to create a particular mood and atmosphere?

 

Bernard Herrmann's sound design is brilliant.  The sound of birds to me is always unnsettleing. Crazy. Again in the store all the background cacophony of birds creates tension.  That is what I sense in the opening scene.  Tensions of traffic, and mobs of people in a big city like SF,  tensions of the birds in cages and the flock of birds in the sky,  sexual tension between Mitch and Melanie,  the tension the shop girl feels that Melanie's order is not ready.  The background track ads to the tension and I love how Herrmann's bird tracks build and build through the movie  It just gets more crazy till the bird war.  Creepy as hell. 

 

The opening scene contains a famous Hitchcock cameo. Describe the cameo and if you think it has any particular meaning in relation to this scene.

 

I always love Hitch's cameos. We always see the use of duality in Hitch's movies;  good and evil, sexual and passive, black and white, etc.  I think the duo of Hitch's pet dogs forshadlow that all relationships can go randomly from compatible to feuding.  Many 2s  (2 love birds) Mitch/Melanie, etc.  I think the 2 dogs also subliminally say "Mans best friends" aka safety in numbers...  that Melanie and Mitch will be forced to come together to save themselves and others from the birds.  Notice how many birds we see in the opening scene. The only other animals are the brief glimpse of Hitch's dogs. 

 


  • riffraf, tshawcross, Marianne and 4 others like this

#186 A_Laff

A_Laff

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 20 posts

Posted 25 July 2017 - 08:31 AM

1. In what ways does this opening scene seem more appropriate to a romantic comedy than a “horror of the apocalypse” film? What do we learn about Melanie (Tippi Hedren) and Mitch (Rod Taylor) in this scene?
 
This opening scene seems more appropriate to a romantic comedy because we watch this little meet-cute between Melanie and Mitch. She's a prankster, thinking she's playing a little joke, while Mitch knows what she's up to this whole time. We learn that Melanie does not seem to take things very seriously, while we go on to find out Mitch decides to play this joke in order to teach her a lesson. 
 
2. How does Hitchcock use sound design in this opening sequence? For example, how are the sounds of birds used to create a particular mood and atmosphere?
 
In this opening sequence, the sounds of the birds are almost ambient, what you'd expect to hear in outdoors or in a pet shop. However, they begin to incite feelings of terror and horror as the film goes on. 
 
3. The opening scene contains a famous Hitchcock cameo. Describe the cameo and if you think it has any particular meaning in relation to this scene.
 
The famous Hitchcock cameo in this film is significant because he is walking two dogs out of the pet shop. It foreshadows all the couplings that will become important in this film (Melanie and Mitch, the lovebirds, Mitch and his mother, Mitch and Annie, San Francisco and Bodega Bay). 

  • riffraf, tshawcross, Marianne and 2 others like this

#187 Knuckleheads Return

Knuckleheads Return

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 52 posts
  • LocationKansas

Posted 25 July 2017 - 08:24 AM

  1. In what ways does this opening scene seem more appropriate to a romantic comedy than a “horror of the apocalypse” film? What do we learn about Melanie (Tippi Hedren) and Mitch (Rod Taylor) in this scene?

​​                  ​In the opening scene we have the playful interchange between Mitch and Melanie. When mistaken for a clerk in Davidson's Pet Shop by Mitch, Melanie decides to have some fun and string him along. Instead of saying "Sorry, I don't work here" (which I am sure many of us have experienced) Melanie acts the part as a less then knowledgeable clerk. Mitch, upon realizing that he is being had, decides not to tip (not Tipi) his hand and continues to play along. This indeed becomes a flirtatious interlude just like in a romantic comedy of the classic period.

          We also have the first bird "expert" trying to explain the odd behavior of the seagulls to Melanie.

 

2.How does Hitchcock use sound design in this opening sequence? For example, how are the sounds of birds used to create a particular mood and atmosphere?

              

             The first scene is on the streets of San Francisco with the appropriate traffic and street noises i.e. Cable car gongs, motorcycles roaring, cars passing and feet walking on the sidewalk. However, we hear over this the sounds of the seagulls... something is stirring them up, something perhaps ominous. Once inside the Davidson's Pet Shop, the sounds of the birds are more peaceful and docile. Canaries, "red birds", love birds all merrily chirping and cooing with an occasional screech thrown in. The store counter clerk does remark about the possibility of a storm at sea upsetting the seagulls to account for the loud sounds emanating from them in the sky.

 

3. The opening scene contains a famous Hitchcock cameo. Describe the cameo and if you think it has any particular meaning in relation to this scene.

​     

            ​The cameo shows Hitchcock and his own two Sealyham terriers Geoffrey and Stanley walking out of the pet shop. They must have been out for a walk and have just popped into the shop to look around. They appear to have not purchased anything. Hitchcock and crew walk out of the store and head to the left along the sidewalk.  Possible meanings... dogs are truly man's best friend through thick and thin. Another hint may be that its time to "get out of Dodge" because mayhem is ahead.


  • GeezerNoir, riffraf, tshawcross and 3 others like this

#188 Sue Anne

Sue Anne

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 20 posts

Posted 25 July 2017 - 08:18 AM

As Melanie looks up and sees the gulls she wonders what is happening.
The pet shop lady says there must be a storm coming, because the birds are moving
inland. This is a foreshadowing of the chaos to come.

In the opening scene Melanie tries to put one over on Mitch by pretending to work at
the pet shop. Mitch knows what is going on the whole time and tries to teach her
a lesson.
The lighthearted banter between the two is another touch of Hitch's to throw us off
and then bring us back to the main story line.

The soundtrack is pure genius by Hitch, because it makes the birds the main characters
of the story.

Another Hitchcock touch his use of doubles. The cameo walking his two dogs,
the love birds, Mitch and Melanie's relationship.
Also comparing the sleepy sea town of Bodega Bay to Santa Rosa in "Shadow
Of A Doubt" where evil comes to town.

This is a good character study of how people interact, when confronted with extreme
circumstances.
  • riffraf, HEYMOE, dwallace and 1 other like this

#189 12Ben6

12Ben6

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 18 posts

Posted 25 July 2017 - 07:51 AM

(1) In the opening scene, we learn that Melanie has ordered a myna bird which she’d hoped would already be able to talk when she picks it up.  We learn that Melanie has a playful side as she pretends to work at the pet store when Mitch mistakes her for an employee and asks her for help finding love birds.  Mitch, we see, is quick-witted and playful as well.  He is quick to discover Melanie’s charade, posing questions and making comments that reveal she is not knowledgeable about birds.  The opening scene of The Birds is like a romantic comedy because of the mistaken identity trope and the flirtation that ensues.  Furthermore, the characters talk about love birds and the demonstrativeness of their affection, which is sexually suggestive.

 

(2) Initially, I considered the sound of the gulls outdoors as normal ambient noise, but when I saw how many gulls were in the sky—an exorbitant amount—the noise became a little unsettling.  Immediately upon Melanie’s entrance into the pet shop, however, I was put at ease by the singing and chirping of the birds in captivity.  The sound of the birds inside the pet shop is relaxing.  The birds there are in captivity, so it is a safe space, a sanctuary.  In this opening scene, we see the prelude to chaos outside juxtaposed with the mood of safety and security that remains intact inside.

 

(3) The movie is called The Birds.  Seeing as how Hitchcock exits the pet shop with two dogs—an no birds—I think his cameo serves as a foreshadowing of the havoc the birds will wreak.  (Birds are not his pet of choice.)  Having two dogs with him could represent the concept of safety in numbers.  The two dogs, as mentioned in the curator’s note, also touch on the Hitch’s frequent theme of doubling.


  • tigorprod, GeezerNoir, riffraf and 2 others like this

#190 Alynia

Alynia

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 21 posts

Posted 25 July 2017 - 06:57 AM

 

While it may be a minor observation, I think it's also interesting that after entering the shop, Hedren is asking for a bird that will talk (Myna). She's told she will have to teach it to talk (i.e., to be more "human-like"). This is ironic that by the film's end the birds are dominating the humans, and not the other way around.

 

An excellent point; as I heard her request, I thought of movies now, where people are looking for robots instead of birds and the dialogue could be exactly the same.  I don't think your observation was minor at all!   :)


  • GeezerNoir, picasso55 and Mandroid51 like this

#191 Alynia

Alynia

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 21 posts

Posted 25 July 2017 - 06:52 AM

  1. In what ways does this opening scene seem more appropriate to a romantic comedy than a “horror of the apocalypse” film? What do we learn about Melanie (Tippi Hedren) and Mitch (Rod Taylor) in this scene? -- The banter between the two characters could indicate more of a romantic comedy, but for me the tone was off and covered more foreshadowing than playful humor. Melanie is as impatient as Mitch - yet she breaks away from her serious attitude with the clerk to play 'saleswoman' with Mitch. Mitch doesn't seem to be buying it as he knows more about the birds than her, but goes along with the gag, probably so see how far she will go.
  2. How does Hitchcock use sound design in this opening sequence? For example, how are the sounds of birds used to create a particular mood and atmosphere? -- The sounds of birds outside created a seaside town, yet the birds inside, once cheery, become a little more deafening, not because he enhances their sounds but because he does not dim them; most of the time background noises are lessened to allow the dialogue to be heard; in this case, the birds remain a part of the dialogue and therefore, create not a romantic opening, but a sinister one. Subtle. Crafty... 
  3. The opening scene contains a famous Hitchcock cameo. Describe the cameo and if you think it has any particular meaning in relation to this scene. -- He passes through the door with his two dogs; Mitch is looking for two love birds for an 11 year old child (2 1s); Melanie and the clerk are the only two women in the store at the time...  so yes, Hitchcock offers a clue about doubles for the viewer quick enough to catch it. 

  • riffraf, tshawcross, dwallace and 2 others like this

#192 GromeksDeath

GromeksDeath

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 21 posts

Posted 25 July 2017 - 06:44 AM

In what ways does this opening scene seem more appropriate to a romantic comedy than a “horror of the apocalypse” film? What do we learn about Melanie (Tippi Hedren) and Mitch (Rod Taylor) in this scene?

Seems just a casual day in a pet shop with friendly flirtatious dialogue. Funny Melanie is trying to mess with Mitch yet he is onto her and has a little fun of his own.

How does Hitchcock use sound design in this opening sequence? For example, how are the sounds of birds used to create a particular mood and atmosphere?

I suppose with a film called the Birds, what better soundtrack than bird chirps & calls. I think the bird sounds act as almost a laugh track to the playful flirting between Mitch & Melanie.

The opening scene contains a famous Hitchcock cameo. Describe the cameo and if you think it has any particular meaning in relation to this scene

Hitchcock's cameo seems uneventful. It fits the mood of this light and fun scene. His dogs go with all the pairs in the film... love birds, Mitch & Melanie, two cities, etc...
  • Sue Anne likes this

#193 cbrashears

cbrashears

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 12 posts
  • LocationCorpus Christi, Texas

Posted 25 July 2017 - 06:40 AM

I think the sound score was most striking, especially after a lack of music was pointed out. I've seen this film numerous times, and I guess I never caught on to it.

 

During the playful romantic banter between Hedren and Taylor, chirping birds are heard throughout. This is interesting to me, as you can still make out the dialogue between the two main characters, but the bird sounds are quite noticeable. But these birds are chirping almost playfully, happily, reinforcing the romance budding between Hedren and Taylor. This is different than the squawking heard from the massive flock of birds Hedren sees before she enters the shop.

 

While it may be a minor observation, I think it's also interesting that after entering the shop, Hedren is asking for a bird that will talk (Myna). She's told she will have to teach it to talk (i.e., to be more "human-like"). This is ironic that by the film's end the birds are dominating the humans, and not the other way around.


  • GeezerNoir, tshawcross, picasso55 and 2 others like this

#194 Sue BBq

Sue BBq

    Newbie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 6 posts

Posted 25 July 2017 - 06:23 AM

  1. In what ways does this opening scene seem more appropriate to a romantic comedy than a “horror of the apocalypse” film? What do we learn about Melanie (Tippi Hedren) and Mitch (Rod Taylor) in this scene?

    I love this film. Of all the Hitchcock films, this is the one that is most familiar to me next to Pscho. It is hilarious watching the parlay between Tippi and Rod in the opening scene. She is trying so hard to answer his questions and he is totally on to her. And how about that? Mitch is looking for love birds and he knows more about birds than Melanie for sure. I believe further in this segment he actually knows who she is based on her family history and a photo in the newspaper. There's nothing horrific about this, yet the question about the sea birds inland seems a bit forbearing of things to come.

 

 

  1. How does Hitchcock use sound design in this opening sequence? For example, how are the sounds of birds used to create a particular mood and atmosphere?

    Funny how you watch a film and the background music becomes just that - background. In The Birds, the noise of the birds has made a subliminal impression on me. I didn't realize there was no music, but the sound of the birds was so fitting with the film's story you don't notice the lack of music. It seems perfectly normal that you hear the sound of the birds. On a side note, I can hear a few birds tweeting and a pheasant squawking in the brush with the wind in the cottonwood tree. Sometimes I can hear the wind under their wings. So bird backgrounds are quite pleasant and my morning is not complete without a few moments at dawn. There is a storm somewhere in the distance and so the birds are rather quiet -- at the moment ...

     
  2. The opening scene contains a famous Hitchcock cameo. Describe the cameo and if you think it has any particular meaning in relation to this scene.

    Seems like a perfectly normal thing, a man walking out of a pet shop with his two birds, but you know ... that famous Hitchcock silhouette is quite easy to see in this shot. It conveys normalcy. So what really could possibly happen to upset the apple cart? 

  • riffraf, tshawcross, cbrashears and 1 other like this

#195 Cscharre

Cscharre

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 22 posts

Posted 25 July 2017 - 03:51 AM

In what ways does this opening scene seem more appropriate to a romantic comedy than a “horror of the apocalypse” film? What do we learn about Melanie (Tippi Hedren) and Mitch (Rod Taylor) in this scene? Mistaking Hedren for an employee and her playfully manipulating the moment, allows Hitchcock to establish her character's traits. She is strong, flirtatious, non-helpless, and "knows what she wants" woman. She also shows that no matter what, she will get her way. The first scene plays like a RC with its playful banter but, I've always found it rather a demonstration of Hedren controlling behavior. In a way it's a roll reversal for this time. She being the typical male character who see what she wants and goes after it, he being the victim of a joke and plays along waiting for her to make the first move. Yes, this could be a RC but, I've always walked away feeling she is a spoiled child who was never told "no".

How does Hitchcock use sound design in this opening sequence? For example, how are the sound of birds used to create a particular mood and atmosphere? From the street, there is no music, only sounds of life, a trolley bell or the birds sound from above. By allowing the sounds of the street instead of a musical soundtrack to follow her to the shop, Hitchcock establish where she is. She is in San Francisco as we can see by the poster on the wall and by the trolley going by but, it is more effective with the seagulls as we are reminded that the sea is near. In a way, you can almost smell the city as the bird sound reminds you of that you are very close to the ocean. That seagull sound is only missing the sound of the tide coming in. It also, makes you think all is well until, Hedren looks up and see more birds than expected. When Hedren asks about the swarm, she is quickly dismissed by the expert because after all birds are harmless.

The opening scene contains a famous Hitchcock cameo. Describe the cameo and if you think it has any particular meaning in relation to this scene. Hitchcock is coming out of the pet shop with his two dogs. In the opening scene, two is a theme. We see two dogs followed by two love birds, concluding with the main character's flirting making a couple. The cameo to me just represent the possible of a romantic relationship for this scene. It sets up the scene that follows of the romantic banter.
  • GeezerNoir, tshawcross and Alynia like this

#196 Dr. Rich Edwards

Dr. Rich Edwards

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 270 posts
  • LocationBall State University

Posted 25 July 2017 - 01:35 AM

Today's Daily Dose is the opening scene from The Birds.

 

Watch the scene over at Canvas and then come back here and discuss.

 

Here are three questions to get everyone started:

 

1.     In what ways does this opening scene seem more appropriate to a romantic comedy than a “horror of the apocalypse” film? What do we learn about Melanie (Tippi Hedren) and Mitch (Rod Taylor) through their interactions in this scene?
 

2.     How does Hitchcock use sound design in this opening sequence? For example, how are the sounds of birds used to create a particular mood and atmosphere?
 

3.     The opening scene contains a famous Hitchcock cameo. Describe the cameo and if you think it has any particular meaning in relation to this scene.


  • Mandroid51 likes this

Richard Edwards, PhD

Ball State University

Instructor: TCM Presents: The Master of Suspense: 50 Years of Hitchcock (2017)

Instructor: TCM Presents: Painfully Funny: Exploring Slapstick in the Movies (2016)

Instructor: TCM Presents: Into the Darkness: Investigating Film Noir (2015)

 

 





0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users