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Thoughts on editing choices.

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I hope everyone is enjoying the material as much as I am!  Like you, I am fascinated by Hitchcock – the man, the director, and his work.  It’s only been a week and I have already learned so much.   Mostly about editing and the way he  was influenced by German Expressionism and Russian Montage.  It’s so very apparent in his films now that I am aware of the terms and the definition.  But I do have a pet-peeve I’d like to share and get your feedback.

The way I see it, this editing style is tremendously helpful with a silent film because you need to use the visuals to tell the story, with a minimum of title cards. Sure, musical accompaniment helps to set the tone but it’s really the editing that paces the film and the music follows.

There’s a scene in The Birds that particularly bothers me, but I’m pretty sure it’s not the only time he applied this style of editing.   You know the scene – Tippi is at the gas station and it’s just exploded from the lit cigarette.  People are screaming.  Hitch uses quick cuts of her facial reactions to the action around her.  Shock, shock, and more wide-eyed, gaping shock.  Here’s my issue – while that kind of orchestration of shots seem quite at home in a silent film, to me it seems hokey (yes, I’m sorry – I said hokey) in a modern day film that had sound.  I always wince a little when I watch that segment.  It always seemed a little heavy-handed and out of place.

Do you agree or disagree?  And can you point out any other similar instances?  Open to all thoughts.

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I agree, Craig. I, too, felt it was out of place, and it's at that moment that I make my eyeroll. The Birds is actually among my least favorite films by Hitchcock mainly because I think Tippi Hedren is a horrible actress, and I really hated her character. I also thought that many of her scenes were ridiculous. What was the point of her leaving the diner to be barricaded in a phone booth only to return to the diner again? I also didn't like the children's chorus as she's waiting in the school yard. So annoying!


Other than that, I love the Bodega Bay location. I often visit as its only a 90 min drive. Great mini Hitchcock museum, too.

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The Birds has some very good scenes, but does not hold up very well as a total movie.  Sad to say, but I think (and i'm not alone in this belief) that the master lost much of his "touch" after Psycho, although there is much to admire about Frenzy.  


To me, silent films are rather hokey by nature, and sticking too closely to those techniques is probably a poor decision, as Craig astutely points out in this scene in The Birds.


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yea for me i like my hitchcock films from 1939-1959, not a psycho fan but i know alot of people think psycho = hitchcock but for me north by northwest ='s hitchcock MORE because he did that wrong man story over and over and it never bores me 

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