The well-known film called “The Birds” created by Alfred Hitchcock is based on the story by Daphne DuMorier, which has the same title. Even though both works are named the same way and seem to have the same themes, they are very different. Hitchcock’s film was made in 1963, the story was written in 1952.
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The director transformed the plot and the characters; he changed the settings. The story by Daphne DuMorier takes place in a small country town in cold England. Hitchcock’s characters live in San Francisco and Bodega Bay, California.
What evidence of foreshadowing is there in the movie and the story?
Both the story and the movie are designed as a sequence of horrific happenings that have no explanations. The birds in the area where the main characters dwell go restless and aggressive, they gradually become insane and start attacking buildings and people.
From the very beginning of the film and the story, the main characters start noticing the unusual behavior of the wild birds. Though, in the film, the first element of foreshadowing happens when the characters meet at the pet shop, where Mitch wants to find a pair of lovebirds “that are just friendly” as a present for his little sister (The Birds).
The birds that we see as a symbol of love, attachment, and devotion are used in the film as the first sign of a tragedy that has a supernatural character and is inevitable. In the story, the first elements of foreshadowing are the main character’s observations that “the birds had been more restless than ever this fall of the year, the agitation more marked because the days were still” (DuMorier, 1).
The stillness of the days reflects the famous belief that unusually quiet times always foreshadow something really bad. Besides, in both the film and the story, there are scenes, where a bird kills itself hitting a wall or a door. In many cultures of the world, this is a sign that is normally interpreted as an omen.
What themes does Hitchcock touch that is not in the story? Are there any common themes?
The common themes of the story and the film are the confrontations between people and the supernatural, people, and nature. In both the story and the film, the characters that have not been cautious about the birds’ attacks are found dead later. This is how both Hitchcock and DuMorier note that unreasonable bravery leads to negative consequences. Besides, both authors suggest a new perspective on something very common.
We see birds every day, they are all the time around, and there are thousands of them in every city, the film, and the story present an alternative view to the possible threat and power these creatures could have if they united and attacked together. Neither of the works contains an explanation of the aggression of the birds and their strange and dangerous attacks.
Though, it turns out that making his film Hitchcock has been under the influence of an event that happened in 1961 in San Francisco when thousands of sea gulls killed themselves flying into walls of various buildings (The Birds (1963), par. 5). This mass suicide was caused by a toxic poisoning of the birds.
The special theme Hitchcock raises in his film that is not in the story is the issue of environmental pollution and the fact that the aggression of the birds may have been the result of people’s effect on the environment.
DuMorier, Daphne. The Birds. PDF file. n. d. Web.
The Birds (1963). Filmsite. 2014. Web.
The Birds. Dir. Alfred Hitchcock. Perf. Rod Taylor, Tippi Hedren, and Jessica Tandy. Universal Pictures, 1963. Film.