The Birds Review

Figure 1: poster (1963) 

“The Birds” (Alfred Hitchcock,1963) is a peculiar film. it's is an apocalyptic film with a twist, instead of zombies or a nuclear explosion being the case of turmoil, bird are chosen to be the harbingers of the end of the world. We follow Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren) as she stalks Mitch Brenner (Rod Taylor), A lawyer who embarrassed her in a bird store. To get back at him Melanie follows him town in northern California called Bodega Bay, to leave some love birds with a letter.

The special effects are nothing special now, but around its release it some went as far as saying “The film's technical wizardry is extraordinary”(Dirks, 1963).looking contextually the effects work very well to show the terror the bird are instilling in the cast. the special effects are made to feel more immersive with the non-existent score, instead we are given electronic soundtrack; which has the sounds of wings flapping and bird cries.
Figure 2:school (1963) 

The electronic sounds of the birds make them seem unnatural, that and the fact they kill humans, for no logical reason connote to the birds being the abject. Melanie can also be seen as the abject from the perspective of the Bodega Bay residents. similar to a virus, she entered the body( Bodega Bay) and caused destruction and death. Some argue she brings the idea sexuality to the island and the birds are a “manifestation of sex,”(Brooks, 2012). The birds killing Annie Hayworth (Suzanne Pleshette) can be seen as Melanie exerting her sexual force to remove the competition, in this sense the birds can be seen as her id displacing her pent up rage.

The birds attacking Melanie in the attic could connote id taking over the ego. Mitch comes to save her which could show him to be the super ego, that she acts kinder around him. establish that the birds are Melanie id, she is her ego and Mitch is the super ego, reasons for the bird attack can become clearer. Meanie's id is mostly in control( she does whatever she wants), when Mitch is introduced he acts to balance Melanie out being the super ego. the bird become a manifestation of her id trying to regain control, similar to Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) in “Fight Club”(David Fincher, 1999)
Figure 3:  Birds  (1963) 

Looking from a different perspective the birds could be a metaphor for the rise of feminism in the 1960 also known as the “Second Wave of Feminism”. The birds are the feminist Destroying the traditional social structure, evidence of this can be seen in the two main deaths in the film. An old man with a traditional man's job and possible a traditional mind set and a Annie Hayworth a woman who has traditional values and need a man to validate herself ( she moves to Bodega Bay to be near the man she can never have.) Feminist theory argues that the birds represent men and their distinctive nature, “Melanie is attacked as a punishment for her sexual aggressiveness”; the birds trying to remove forward and independent women.

Figure 1: poster (1963) [Poster]Available From: (accessed on 01/02/2015)

Figure 2:school (1963) [Film still]Available From: (accessed on 01/02/2015)

Figure 3:  Birds (1963) [Film still] Available From:  (accessed on 01/02/2015)


Brooks, X (2012) My favourite Hitchcock: The Birds. At: on 01/02/2015)

Dirks, T. (1963) The birds film review. At: (accessed on 01/02/2015)

Constance Penley ( 23 Sep 1988). Feminism and Film Theory. Oxon : Routledge. 13-14. (accessed on 01/02/2015)


  1. Hi Ryan,

    It's great that you are attempting to link theories such as 'the abject' and 'id, ego and superego' to your review :) What you have to be careful of though, is not overdoing it - it is probably best to take one theory and look at that in more depth - don't forget, your reader may not have any idea what these theories are about, so if you are going to discuss them, you really need to introduce them a bit; for example, you should probably mention Freud if you are discussing human psyche...
    Also, make sure that you proof read - here, for example... ' the beard become a manifestation of her id trying to regain control' - I'm sure 'beard theory' is something completely different!!


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