Saturday, May 28, 2016

Weekend Movie Recommendations: Let’s Return to Bodega Bay and See What Happens

Those are the director’s actual dogs when he does his signature cameo in The Birds (1963), coming out of Davidson’s Pet Shop and crossing paths with Tippi Hedren.  It’s 2 minutes in and before the first line of dialogue.  Hitch confessed in an interview with Francois Truffaut that his cameos had become distracting to the audience so he liked to get them out of the way early so that people would stop looking for him and focus on the movie.
The Birds (1963) introduces Tippi Hedren as Melanie Daniels and Rod Taylor as Mitch Brenner, and the process of casting Tippi Hedren was also made into a film entitled The Girl (2012) with Sienna Miller as Tippi and Toby Jones as Hitch.  The Birds starts out as a love story with a classic meet-cute where Rod Taylor confuses Tippi Hedren with a saleslady at that very same pet shop, although it turns out he knows her already, but that doesn’t matter because Melanie’s already fallen in love with him.  She’s already willing to chase him back up north to Bodega Bay in her lovely and now vintage/classic Aston Martin DB2/4 Drophead Coupé, an impulsive act that she'll soon regret.
It is worth noting how much Melanie Daniels resembles Kim Novak as Madeleine Elster in Vertigo (1958), who is of course a simulacrum of Grace Kelly as Frances Stevens in To Catch a Thief (1955).  Those three ladies dine at the same tony restaurants; go to the same hair salons and shop at the same boutiques, and together they compose the trinity we have come to know as the Hitchcock Blonde.  In our modern culture that embraces diversity and individuality it would be impossible to reduce a woman to a hairstyle and a pair of evening gloves but in a Hitchcock movie she represented something unattainable and pure, iconic, if you will.
From an original story by long-time collaborator Daphne Du Maurier, it is also interesting to note that there is no soundtrack, only ambient noises of traffic of course, bird squawks and chirps.  This is also one of the rare Hitchcock movies where none of the central characters are actually guilty of anything.  The birds punish indiscriminately and would have attacked regardless of whether Melanie Daniels chased Mitch all the way to Bodega Bay or not.
The Birds also starred child actor Veronica Cartwright who would grow up to be Lambert, the navigator in Alien (1979), also star in the first (and best) Invasion of the Body Snatchers remake (1978).



my first novel? thanks for asking:) I wrote a 4 book supernatural martial arts series concerning the ongoing feud between a group of kung-fu killer witches in san francsico’s chinatown.