Wednesday, December 30, 2009
For the BIRDS
Ironically, one of last night's many Family Guy reruns was the one Lopex told me about, where Peter is on the news announcing what "Grinds My Gears"! Add to my own list: movies that are treated as classics when really they cry out for a Mystery Science Theater running commentary. The film I'm gonna gripe about here is Hitchcock's legendary "The Birds," which I had never seen until last night.
Family Guy sidebar: Did you know that Adam West's birth name was William West Anderson!
Back to the Birds:
Turns out my cable company includes a channel called Chiller. I only found it recently, as it is well-hidden as # 299 ! At first I thought the channel's sole mission was to run things with the word Poltergeist in the title, such as "Poltergeist: the Legacy"; however, last night I had a chance to finally see "The Birds." SPOILER ALERT, SPOILER ALERT, SPOILER ALERT! If you have never seen it, and possibly plan to, don't keep reading and say I spoiled it for you.
I only knew that Tippi Hedren was famous for this film. (Did you know her first husband was a Peter Griffith! OK, it's not Griffin, but it ALMOST ties in with my Family Guy opening!) I applaud her for her work saving big cats. In fact, her sanctuary is not too far from where I live! Tours are $40, and now I kick myself for not having even thought about going before now! Back to Tippi: I do NOT applaud her for giving us Melanie Griffith, but now I know where her last name comes from (the ALMOST Family Guy father!)
Was it my imagination, or was every close-up of Ms. Hedren in soft focus? I loved stepping back in time to the early 60s and a very "American" (says I) world. The cars, the clothes... cool! Also, I had never seen Jessica Tandy in anything. I'd never even heard of her before the non-stop barrage of "Driving Miss Daisy." She was very pretty! She is older in the film, yet still very pretty. Ruth McDevitt was always old, wasn't she? Wow, just learned she is buried in the same cemetery where my father resides!
The initial flirting part with MITCH MITCH MITCH (nearly as irritating as JOE JOE JOE --this is an in-joke, sorry--but if you ever see Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, you will understand!) was just plain stupid. And I was horrified to see a shop selling birds. Do not sell live creatures! And the shop had so many. SOOOOO many. I found Ms. Hedren's character to be mega obnoxious, stalking that Mitch fella. He was UGLY. Just UGLY. Who played Mitch? Ahh.. I just learned lots of things about him that I don't like! Sure glad he did NOT get the Apes role!!!
So she drives in her open-top car with those poor birds all the way up to his family home, and this being the early 60s, etc., somehow she comes into town as a stranger, is asking about his little sister (bug-eyed Veronica Cartright, who came back to continue her bug-eyedness in the X- Files years later; I did not know that she and her sister of Lost In Space fame were from England!)-and she doesn't give her own name or why she's there, but the locals gladly tell her how to sneak up to his house and even arrange the boat for her! Suzanne Pleshette (didn't know she was in this film!) gives info about a CHILD to a STRANGER... And they share cigarettes! Way too much smoking and drinking in this film, especially between those two rival females! And Tippi is wearing FUR !!!!!!! Despite her high heels, she rows a boat out and just walks into his house... And she only had that one outfit, so I began to worry about her stale smell.
OK, now I have questions: Why are the women so obsessed with ugly Mitch? Why does OLD Mitch have a YOUNG little sister? I thought he might turn out to be the father! How is it that Suzanne is the ONLY school teacher and all the kids are the same age? When the woman in the diner with the kids wants to follow that guy back to the road, why does he finish off his alcohol, and then go get in his car--drunk driving, anyone? Why does this diner that serves children also serve hard liquor?? When the birds are about to attack the school, why do they lead the children OUTSIDE into the full-on attack?? When they are attacking the diner, why does Tippi run OUTSIDE? Why didn't smoking man SMELL all the gasoline at his feet? What was the point of the fire scene anyway? Was I supposed to think that the tension among the three female leads was causing the bird attacks? When Tippi is in Mitch's family house and hears the flapping upstairs, WHY does she open the door and walk into the bird-filled room??? How do you fit four people and a cage of birds into a tiny car? What the hell kinda ENDING was that?
I suspect one day there will be a remake. And it will be the government testing some noise, and the military noise weapon will be the cause of the birds' troubles. The ONE scene that upset me was the dead man with his eyes pecked out. THAT was disturbing. I trust no birds were harmed in the making of this film?
I suppose it was quite original and interesting at the time, but Tippi's character wasn't likable, and Mitch was just ugly, and the smoking-drinking women were a turn-off, and the people did some stupid things. Plus they never explained what made the birds do that.
No, I do not plan on making film reviews a regular feature. Whew!