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Alfred Hitchcock "the Birds"


annelindley
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I've seen The Birds a hundred times, and each time I hope for a different ending than Tippi, Rod and Mom driving away from the house. This is because I swear when I saw it at the theater (first time only), it ended with the birds attacking the car as they neared town. Am I nuts or did someone else out there ever see this ending?

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The ending you describe is apocryphal: I remember friends telling me that was the original ending back when it first came out. (You know how bloodthirsty 7th graders can be.) But it's hard to imagine Hitchcock, at even his cruelest, devising something that horrible to happen to the four leads

 

There was another ending, however, and you can read about it and see the storyboards for it on the new Collector's Edition DVD. Here's a description from one of the DVD's reviews:

 

The film's original ending was reportedly more pessimistic: Mitch and Melanie drive from Bodega Bay, assuming that the birds have only overtaken that one small town. Upon arriving in San Francisco, however, they catch sight of the Golden Gate Bridge, completely covered in birds.

 

It's been a long time since I read it, but screenwriter Evan Hunter's book about the writing of the movie does, as I recall, support the above description.

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Mr right, thank you, I always thought I was losing or lost it, maybe I saw some preview wthout knowing it. I guess I forgot the whole ending, but since you described it, that seems to be bringing back a memory. Believe me, it's tough to get old!

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Oh, and as to the abruptness of the ending... just a fade-out, with no "The End" or cast-list... it's been theorized that this is Hitchcock trying to be "nouvelle vague" at the time when the French critics like Truffaut were lionizing him in Cahiers du Cinema and other publications. Some writers feel that this was the beginning of Hitchcock's downfall, which they attribute to him starting to take himself too seriously.

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?Mr right, thank you, I always thought I was losing or lost it, maybe I saw some preview wthout knowing it. I guess I forgot the whole ending, but since you described it, that seems to be bringing back a memory. Believe me, it's tough to get old!?

 

Yeah, well, I saw ?King Kong? in a theater in 1952 when I was about 10 years old. And over the years I always remembered a scene of Fay Wray and her boyfriend standing and talking at night on the back of the ship, during the trip back to New York, with King Kong tied to a big barge that was being towed behind the ship.

 

I next saw the film in a theater in the late 1960s and the barge scene was gone.

 

I was puzzled about this for years, then I read on a message board that another guy remembers the barge scene. I told him I did too. But, a problem arose. I remembered the barge scene from the original film, and he remembered the barge scene from the 1970s remake.

 

Others told us that there never were any barge scenes in either movie.

 

So what is this? A barge scene neurosis? I don?t get it. Why do we remember scenes that never were in the movies? Does our brain confuse us with the ?false memory syndrome??

 

And I swear, I remember the musical score from ?The Birds?. Then someone told me recently that there is NO music in ?The Birds?.

 

Am I crazy? Do we live in parallel universes? Am I really here?

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That's a very good theory. Maybe I wondered when I was a kid in 1952 how they got King Kong back to New York, and I figured they must have towed him on a barge, and maybe I thought that they needed at least one barge scene in the movie, to show how they got him back to New York. Then, after a few years, I wrote the scene into my memory.

 

I must have written a musical score into "The Birds" too.

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The film's original ending was reportedly more pessimistic: Mitch and Melanie drive from Bodega Bay, assuming that the birds have only overtaken that one small town. Upon arriving in San Francisco, however, they catch sight of the Golden Gate Bridge, completely covered in birds.

 

This is a much better ending that the one used in what's always been a very unsatisfying film.

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In my memory of the ?music? in ?The Birds?, I?m hearing a full orchestra with a lot of typical Hitchcock excitement and threatening music during all the bird attack scenes. In the opening of the film I?m hearing some tension music, suggesting that something bad is about to happen.

 

I?ve watched this film several times over the years, and I never realized it didn?t have any music track until someone here mentioned it a few weeks ago.

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Hey Mr Dobbs this is little off subject but it is about the Birds sort of .I am a collector of sorts (hobbie) I was browsing downtown one day and found this bathroom dish with Mother Of Pearl embossed through it with little shells anyway I bought it for cheap and on it says Bodega Bay .It is from the sixties .For anybody who is interested in memorabilia

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Bodega Bay was a quaint little town back then. It became a popular tourist attraction after the movie was made.

 

Also, that little old Spanish town in ?Vertigo?. Complete with the church and the steeple Kim Novak kept falling out of.

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...Also, that little old Spanish town in ?Vertigo?. Complete with the church and the steeple Kim Novak kept falling out of.

 

Hi Mr. Dobbs, The "old Spanish town" that you mention is the mission of San Juan Bautista. And actually, it is not complete with the steeple. You see the actual location has no steeple. The interiors of the tower were shot at the studio. Exteriors for long shots was a process shot using a matte painting of the tower, and closer shots were also done on the lot. Wouldn't want you to be disappointed should you ever go there...

 

:)

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Thanks.

 

Jack is right about the steeple. The steeple was made for the movies. The church actually has a bell tower or a bell wall to the right front of it. But I forgot about that, because I've seen the movie more times than I've been to the town.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I've always seen it with them driving away. It's a very frustrating movie, and not one of my favourite Hitchcocks. The movie seemed to have no closure. I can handle abrupt endings, and cliff hangers, but "The Birds" was rediculous!

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Hitch's peak can't be confined to one film: it's a period, which probably runs from REAR WINDOW (1954) to NORTH BY NORTHWEST, with VERTIGO in between.

 

Effective as it may be, PSYCHO is, as far as I'm concerned, a blatant exercise in audience manipulation, really beneath Hitchcock's stature as a storyteller, and the worst thing that ever happened to his career, because its immense success caused audiences and the studio to demand more of the same. Hitch never made a NORTH BY NORTHWEST or anything even remotely similar or as good, again.

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