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


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#21 filmcat

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Posted 01 August 2017 - 10:45 AM

This opening appears more like a romantic comedy than a horror picture because of the flirtatious meeting between Mitch and Melanie.  There is no feeling of dread or fear, except for a foreboding from the large flock of sea gulls and their loud cries outside.  Once inside, however, the birds do not appear to present any kind of threat.

 

When we first see Melanie, it is apparent that she is stylish and sophisticated (and probably very rich).  She is not used to being disappointed, which is obvious with her impatience that the myna bird she ordered is late and won't talk immediately.  As she is writing her address at the counter, Mitch enters and innocently assumes she is a sales clerk.  However, when she looks up, he seems to recognize her.  When she pretends to be the sales clerk, he starts asking her questions that show how little she actually knows about birds.  We know that both characters are putting on an act for the other and both are mildly flirting.  We also find out that Mitch is there to purchase a pair of love birds for his sister's 11th birthday.

 

Except for some normal "street noise," all you hear are the sounds of birds.  Outside, the birds sound rather ominous, but once Melanie enters the pet shop, the birds inside are chirping pleasantly and provide a nice backdrop to the romantic encounter between Mitch and Melanie.

 

Hitchcock is seen exiting the pet shop with two small white terriers as Melanie is entering the shop.  I don't see any particular meaning in relation to the scene or the story.  However, I do think its cute that they are actually Hitchcock's dogs.  I guess we all like to show off our pets!



#22 dmaxedon

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Posted 01 August 2017 - 02:52 AM

1. I should start by admitting this isn't one of my favorite films, although, I remember it better than some because it was still relatively current when I first watched it, and it seems to get more frequent air time than some of his other films. That being said, the opening scene hints at something to come before she enters the pet shop, but quickly becomes disconnected from the goings on outside, and more about the flirting, and possible chemistry between the two main characters. It also establishes the usually peaceful nature of birds, by referencing "love birds", and even including the fact, birds probably make good pets for an 11 year old.

2. At first, outside the shop, the bird sounds almost drown out the usual "city sounds", enough so, that she stops and looks around. The quantity of birds is certainly a factor, but the uneasiness of hearing so many birds gives us pause. Once she enters the pet shop there still seems to be a lot of bird sounds, but they're expected, it's a pet shop, even Melanie and the clerk carry on a normal conversation, with the expected bird sounds in the background. Then, shortly after, our attention is diverted to the interchange between Melanie and the store clerk, and ultimately Mitch, the leading man, and even the benign gift of birds for his 11 year old sister. This ultimately sets up the premiss that birds are a normal part of every day life, that maybe we even take them for granted, seeing them as an insignificant part of our daily lives, and yet important enough to be elevated to the level of pet.

3. Melanie and Hitch cross paths as she enters the pet shop and he is exiting, establishing him as a pet owner, while subtly demonstrating the innocent relationship we have with our pets. A man with two dogs, dogs that happen to reflect his personality, peacefully exiting the pet shop, as if it is a routine stop on an otherwise uneventful day.



#23 sandeepchauhan

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Posted 01 August 2017 - 12:44 AM

One of the (many) things I love about Hitchcock's work is how he fuses genres. Like was said in earlier lectures, Hitchcock had a head for the business of film as much as the art. By using the trappings of a romantic comedy (a chance meeting of two attractive strangers, sly flirtations, and droll humour) Hitchcock eases us into the world he's creating. Whereas a lesser director might begin to build the tension from the opening, Hitchcock instead chooses to focus on the inner needs of his protagonist Melanie (first her bird not arriving, then being mistaken for someone who works at the pet shop) it works nicely here



#24 Reegstar

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Posted 31 July 2017 - 10:25 PM

My husband and I love to visit Bodega Bay.  It is about a two hour drive from our home in Northern California.  There is great food, lovely hiking trails, and fun shops.  The locals love the fact that their little towns (Bodega and Bodega Bay) were the locations for Hitchcock's famous movie, The Birds.  I'm going to attempt to attach a photo my husband took of the little old church in Bodega that was used as the setting for the schoolhouse.  And, yes, there are still one-room schoolhouses operating in Northern California.

Attached File  Bodega Church.jpg   408.87KB   0 downloads



#25 Mrs. Archie Leach

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Posted 31 July 2017 - 05:48 PM

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's a typical "meet cute" from a romantic comedy. The scene is light and playful. There is nothing intimidating about the location. Melanie plays the part of the salesgirl to talk to Mitch and the exchange is flirty and fun. He catches on quickly to the fact that she is pretending and his questions meant to expose her allow for some comedy as she makes up her answers. I think they have instant chemistry.

 

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?

 

We hear ambient street sounds along with the sound of the gulls. The sound of the gulls gets louder and is more prominent than any other. When she steps into the shop, the sound of the gulls is replaced by the more benign sound of the chirping caged birds. Right away we know that the sight and sound of the birds is unusual, even to Melanie, because she mentions it to the sales clerk. The sales clerk responds that there must be a storm brewing at sea. So the stage is set between the sounds of the birds and these few lines of dialogue.

 

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've always loved the Hitchcock cameos and thought it was a fun touch. Hitch is walking out of the pet store as Melanie is walking in. He's walking his two dogs. Maybe it's a fun suggestion that she should have been shopping for something safe, like a dog. Some animals can be domesticated while others should remain wild. Maybe he's escaping the film before all of the chaos begins. Melanie has just been whistled at by a stranger on the street but Hitch walks past her without looking up. I'm not sure ... I'll be interested to read other people's theories.



#26 startspreading

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Posted 31 July 2017 - 03:47 PM

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 shopping windows remind me of a romantic comedy that came out the same year as “The Birds”: “A New Kind of Love”. The architecture of the pet shop reminds me of the bookstore Audrey Hepburn works in “Funny Face”. The tone is playful, and Melanie even smiles when someone whistles.

A mistake about schedule makes Melanie meet Mitch. He mistakes her for a clerk, and she plays along. The conversation about lovebirds and the line “here they are: the lovebirds” can be seen as some kind of innuendo. Nobody could think this would evolve to a horror film, but at the same time it’s all part of the Hitchcock touch and his idea of using an ordinary situation to develop an interesting story.

 

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?

There are only bird sounds in this sequence. As we hear them, we think about tranquility, life in a small community, and also something wild. When we enter the pet shop, we still only have bird sounds, and a light mood.

 

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.

It’s a humorous cameo, and Hitchcock’s cameos usually don’t have a connection with the scene or the plot. But I believe that he may have chosen to walk a couple of dogs – his own dogs – to symbolize Melanie’s search for a pair.



#27 coleeva

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Posted 30 July 2017 - 02:40 PM

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?
For one thing, the character of Melanie tries to take on a position as a sales person with no knowledge of the different species of birds that exist and what naturally occurs and Mitch is aware of her lack of knowledge when it comes to the subject of birds.  What we learn about Melanie is that she is a character that has gotten her way and what we know about Mitch is that he cannot be fooled.
 
 
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 the birds attract the attention of not only the main character but also you the viewer. The sound is that of a large number of birds circling above.
 
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.
 
Hitchcock coming out of the pet store with two dogs of the same breed, I do not think it has any particular meaning relating to the scene.


#28 lovebirding54

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Posted 30 July 2017 - 02:39 PM

The opening scene seems more like a romantic comedy than a horror film as the presence of the birds is noticed but not in a menacing way in the sky or inside the pet store. They only become the starting point for a conversation between Melanie and Mitch. We learn that she is very interested in Mitch and that he plays along with her pretending to work in the store but it is obvious to him that she does not. The scene is playful and light.

 

Hitchcock uses sound design in the opening sequence totally of the sounds of birds and the sounds we would hear if we were in the scene, the sounds of the trolly car and a motorcycle. There is no music. This creates an atmosphere of reality in a simple street scene.

 

The opening scene contains the cameo of Hitchcock and his real life pet dogs exiting the pet store. It seems to be a carry over of his double theme. He has two dogs with him, Mitch is looking to buy two love birds as well as his necessary appearance in the beginning of the story so the audience can stop looking for him and concentrate on the film.   



#29 SherriW

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Posted 30 July 2017 - 03:47 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 Melanie and Mitch is almost ridiculous. He obviously suspects she has no idea what she's talking about.

 

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?

 

You can hear the sounds of the city including the birds, the clicking of her heels and even traffic noise.

 

 

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 walks out of the pet shop with his two dogs. I suppose it could be an emphasis on couples.



#30 Krushing

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Posted 29 July 2017 - 09:11 PM

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 like a happy film. Melanie and Mitch are just two people who happen to meet in a bird shop. She seems not to know a lot about birds whereas, he seems to know more about birds. At least enough to know what he is looking for. They are flirting with each other in a round about way.

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 didn't really pay much attention to the music but heard more chatter from the birds. It makes the mood happy and light like a summer day.

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 is coming out of the bird shop as Tippi is going in to the shop. He is also walking his dogs. I thought it odd for dogs to go into a bird shop because usually dogs chase birds. At least mine does until they take flight.

#31 luismminski

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Posted 29 July 2017 - 07:41 PM

In this scene we know the protagonists, both in its external appearance and, through their dialogue, in terms of his personality. It is a scene that may be typical of a romantic comedy. "Caged" birds mark the bottom. But, if we see Hitchcock leave the shop, we can presume that not everything that happens there will be innocent or innocuous. On the other hand, the birds in the sky, which called the attention of Melanie, portending things to come.

The birds is a great film, shows how the terror - as formerly crime - may appear in everyday life.



#32 devin05

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Posted 29 July 2017 - 06:41 PM

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?

 

What starts as a mistaken identity, he thinks he works at the store, becomes a witty flirtatious conversation.  She must be intrigued so she plays along, he quickly realizes she is not with store, but continues, but she realizes he knows, but continues anyway.  Thus they prolong the conversation.  There are sexual innuendos.  Love-birds that are affectionate, but not too affection.  The mating of birds.  Setting us up for something lighter that morphs into horror.

 

It dawns on me, Shakespearean comedy begins with mistaken identity or at least includes it.  And ends in marriage.  Tragedy however, ends in death.  Hitchcock is morphing one genre into another.  Perhaps The Birds are elemental in that manner.

 

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 birds are omnipresent, always there even if we don't see them.  They brush it off as the gulls being driven inland by a storm.  But perhaps the birds are watching us, judging us.  Later they have a God-like perspective on the small town.  

 

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.

 

One of my favorite cameos.  It is just comically absurd, but I just learned that were his actual pets.  I think he liked the comic nature and the pet store was an opportunity because he knew how it would look.  Perhaps there is deeper meaning, man's best friend juxtaposed against what will be man's worst enemy, the birds.  But really I think this was just bit of whimsy.


Edited by devin05, 29 July 2017 - 06:51 PM.


#33 Soonya

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Posted 29 July 2017 - 03:54 PM

  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?

We learn that Tippi has been in this shop many times and though she may look sophisticated and mature, she is not above playful tricks (maybe like the trick Hitchcock is playing on us as he leads us to believe this is going to be a screwball comedy type movie). We learn that Mitch is a sweetie who is buying a very thoughtful birthday gift, but his mind can be changed by a beautiful blonde.

  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?

The sounds of the birds in this opening sequence create a pleasant cacophony if there can be such a thing. The mood / atmosphere is light and rich (in a deep, layered way - not monetarily).

  1. 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 of Hitchcock walking his dogs comes early in the movie so now viewers that were focused on finding him can now relax and fall under the spell of the movie.



#34 MrNews

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Posted 29 July 2017 - 02:52 PM

This opening scene really defines Melanie as somewhat stuck up, a bit predatory, and apparently deceptive. After watching it a few times, I find myself almost wishing something evil upon her. She realizes that Mitch has mistaken her for a salesgirl, and immediately decides that he is hunk-y, and she will pretend to be what he think she is. She obviously knows nothing about birds (telegraphed by the fact that she did not know that mynah birds need to be taught to "talk"). While not quite despicable, it is easy to see Melanie as a less-than-honest, and perhaps under-handed person, worthy of contempt. Apparently, The Birds think so too.

 

BTW, there are other animals in the store. When Rod Taylor first walks in, there are some puppies in cages near the door. He glances briefly at them, then goes upstairs to the bird area. Hitchcock's cameo with his dogs has no meaning- he is just being playful. Surprising, I don't see any CATS in this movie- were I in this fictional nightmare, I would quickly enlist the help of numerous felines to help solve this bird "problem." The cats, however, would surely refuse to work for scale, and would certainly be napping during key moments.

 

The sound design is subtle, but pervasive. Despite its uniqueness, it is somewhat irritating, and later seems to almost take over the film. I think an additional musical score would have been better.

 

 


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#35 Thief12

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Posted 29 July 2017 - 01:59 PM

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?

 

Well, the exchange between Melanie and the cashier can be considered humorous, and so can her conversation and flirting with Mitch. The only foreshadowing of the horror aspect is the swarm of birds outside the store, but other than that it starts pretty light.

 

We can see that Melanie is decisive and determined. She is outspoken and a bit sarcastic. She takes it upon herself to flirt with Mitch when he mistakens her for a store employee, and carries it all through the scene. Mitch is also outspoken and extroverted, but not as much as 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 sound of the birds is constant. Despite the light mood of the scene, the constant tweeting and screeching might get on ones nerves. There is an uneasy atmosphere because of the sound.

 

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.

 

Not sure, but perhaps the fact that he's walking two dogs, instead of going out with birds. I don't think we ever see any other type of animal inside the store, but Hitchcock walks out with dogs.



#36 DLaws

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Posted 28 July 2017 - 09:39 PM

If you are planning to watch The Birds tonight, and if you are an alum from Dr. Edwards's film noir class (or even if you are a film noir fan in general and don't plan to watch The Birds until later!), be sure to watch for Charles McGraw, film noir tough guy and detective, as a fisherman in the diner scene.

I recognized Charles McGraw in The Birds myself, and as someone who took Dr. Edwards' film noir class and is a FN fan, his appearance stood out. By the way, McGraw was known for portraying similar characters in westerns (Gunsmoke, Bonanza, Wagon Train, Destry (the TV series, of which Psycho's John Gavin was the star), Laramie, The Deputy, etc.) too, which - in my mind, anyway - are the films noir covering that particular period in history. There are quite a few parallels (harsh realities of life following a war, the grittiness of traveling west and/or settling down in the west (or perhaps not settling down at all), to name a couple). McGraw fit them all perfectly.



#37 ChristyKelly

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Posted 28 July 2017 - 09:25 PM

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?
Well, Tippi knows nothing about birds, and she's willing to fake her identity in order to flirt with Rod. Rod knows very soon that Tippi knows nothing about birds. We also know that they will be a couple in this film.

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?
First, there's the cheerful chirping of the parakeets and canaries, the sound of a successful pet shop. The ditzy owner could barely be heard above the din as she explains about Tippi's mynah bird being late. There's no reminder of the danger that has begun outside.
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 think Hitch is saying to us that doesn't like birds.

#38 Schlinged

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Posted 28 July 2017 - 08:48 PM

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 opening has Melanie looking up at the large number of birds circling the area, possibly foreshadowing the movie, but ultimately not ominous. Melanie enters the pet store looking for the Minah bird she ordered and then sees Mitch as he asks for a pair of love birds for his sister. The banter is light and it's obvious Melanie doesn't know her 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? Over the sounds of the city, the audience hears the large flock of seagulls and then in the bird room of the pet store, the noise of the birds is quite loud. It sets the scene quite well and tells the audience what the movie is about.

 

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. Hitchcock is walking out of the pet shop with two dogs on leashes. It really didn't pertain to the movie it just provided him a reason for that particular cameo.  


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#39 pwest1962

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Posted 28 July 2017 - 07:01 PM

The opening of The Birds is very playful.  The bird sound track is a wonderful touch and at the beginning of the film and sets no ominous tone for the audience.

We see Tippi Hedren, Melanie, heading for a pet shop to pick up a Minna bird.  She notices all the birds hovering but goes about her business.  As she goes in the pet shop, Hitchcock makes a very early appearance with his own dogs walking out and again the audience senses no dread!  Melanie asks the shop keeper about the birds and is satisfied with the answer about a storm at sea. She wants her Minna bird but it has not yet arrived.

Rod Taylor, Mitch, comes in and mistakes Melanie for an employee and he asks her to help find two love birds and the flirting begins.  I like Tippi Hedren in this part; she has the dignity and class of Kim Novak and Grace Kelly, but her character, Melanie, is approachable, especially when she goes after Rod Taylor.  He soon discovers she doesn’t know one bird from the next but keeps playing along with her.  I love it when he asks her if she feels bad about the birds being cages and they banter about molting season. 

I love that Hitchcock uses birds as an instrument of judgment or chaos.  Birds are, for the most part, melodious creatures and their chirping brings us pleasure, and they are some of the least treating animals on the planet.  There are a few exceptions, like Vultures.  Vultures are scavengers of death, but he doesn’t use them as instruments of chaos.  Hitch uses Sea Gulls, Robins, Crows, Finches and other birds I can’t name to attack this peaceful town.  I think Hitch uses the birds because they traverse the skies and see all human behavior from a God like perspective. 

When I first saw this movie, I thought might be Hitchcock sending a message about the environment, but after listening to Dr’s Edwards and Gehring, I think it really is just about bringing chaos into the lives of ordinary people.  I also like the way Dr. Edwars describes the ending of the film and how difficult it to photograph. 

 


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#40 ManondelaCure

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Posted 28 July 2017 - 06:36 PM

  • 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?
  • Melanie is openly flirting with Mitch and he knows it.  He knows more about birds in the store than she does and he goes along with it to see where this may go.  We see he looks at her shoes and legs with a smile and then her face in the beginning so we know there is a sexual attraction from him.  We know it from her as she looks at him and then decides to check this specimen out further by posing as the store clerk.  Nothing heavy outside of why the birds are caged.  We learn they like each other as they both keep talking when they both know their cards have been shown.
  • 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?
  • There are city/streets sounds, but the birds are louder, but more like normal sounds for the country, not the city.  This changes quickly, especially when Melanie looks up to see so many over the park.  Funny to have the little boy whistle at her and do a bird call, which makes Melanie stop and smile.  
  • 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 is done with his business at the bird shop, whether it was successful or not, we don't know as he doesn't leave with any birds.  We see him with his two own dogs.  We spoke about twos frequently in his film.  Soon we see a potential coupling of Melanie and Mitch.





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