Monday, September 15, 2014

Summer cinema: The Birds

One thing I noticed for the few days I was able to spend in London is just how much of a theater town it is.  I already knew this, because my childhood summers usually included going to see one show.  As I grew up, I checked a lot of classic musicals off of my list: Cats, Phantom of the Opera, Chicago.  I also saw some Shakespeare, both at the Globe and in Stratford.  But being in London again, everywhere you look there's a poster advertising the latest, greatest show on billboards or a passing bus.  And there are plenty of theaters to house them all, around every corner.

Here in Austin, we have just a handful of theaters, including of course the Paramount.  Before I left, I caught my final summer classic film, The Birds.

It's interesting when you watch classics like this, because you have to remind yourself that what you've now seen many times over was being done for the first time.  When we watch these kinds of movies now, we're coming from a place of awareness and cynicism that audiences just weren't back then.  So you end up mentally shouting at the screen, 'Don't go in there!' while the blonde wanders into a situation that should be obviously avoided.  You have to appreciate that this is the foundation of what made Buffy the Vampire Slayer so cool, and just enjoy the show.

While others did it for decades after him, no one does it quite as deftly as Hitchcock.  Because you still end up with moments, like when the crows gather on a school playground, when you are still totally, uncynically, scared of the birds.  I found myself eyeing the pigeons of London very suspiciously, I can tell you.


  1. Awww poor pigeons! I love them, keep me entertained for hours. London is definitely a theatre city, we avoid Central like the plague unless we actually have to go in between the hours of 6 pm and midnight!

  2. LOVE me some Hitchcock. I'm still amazed at how he can create that feeling of suspense, even though we are totally jaded/advanced audiences now!