The Birds was Alfred Hitchcock’s last great film. Although Frenzy restored his reputation after three sub-par efforts, The Birds really feels like the end of his heyday. Including The Birds, it was as if he could do no wrong with a string of (now) classics under his belt including Vertigo, North by Northwest and Psycho. Following closely on the heels of Psycho, Hitchcock keeps the terror level high. I always find it amazing that a Hitchcock film (being comprised of suspense and terror – and sometimes murder) starts out on a very light-hearted, almost sunny tone. This of course is completely part of the plan. He wants you to settle in and be comfortable – and just like the birds, he begins to ‘peck away’ at that comfortableness until suddenly you are caught in his trap.
I had reservations about Tippi Hedren as the lead, but in the end she does an adequate job. I still cannot get over her first name and take it seriously. Hitchcock’s constant desire to find the next great leading blonde lady is one of his very few flaws. Focusing on the talent to be had instead of trying to find the next big star would have provided him with more and better performances from his leading actors and actresses. Here, his storytelling is superior as usual and the special effects are outstanding. The pet shop and rowboat scenes are borderline agonizingly long for some people, but in the end they are far superior to what can be seen in other lesser-revered films. Suspense, thy master is Hitchcock.
My introduction to the genius of Peter Sellers of course occurred while watching one of the Pink Panther films from the 1970s. It wasn’t until later that I discovered more of his earlier work from the 1960s (the original Pink Panther film as well as The Party). I only heard of Being There because he was nominated for an Oscar for his performance. Over the years, I tried to see the film on TV but missed it several times and it wasn’t until the craze of VHS rentals hit that I eventually got to see it.
Peter Sellers is so subtle here that he stands out like a raving naked man in the middle of the street. I am of the school of a ‘less is more’ performance and you’ll find that I admire and prefer acting performances like these against over-the-top performances. There is so much more to a slight turn of the head, a widening of the eyes, a twitch of the fingers or silence. The tightly coiled, hidden emotion is more powerful than full blown rage. That type of acting, though effective and attractive to today’s audiences, is easy. Truly talented actors are those that use the power of subtly. Peter Sellers’ performance was one of these.
When a powerful businessman takes Chauncey’s simple one-word utterances out of context and into deep economic and political meaning, the film is truly right on the mark on making a statement about the state of economics and politics.
While perusing the internet for content to read about the latest Alberta snow storm, I came across the following post (below) on CBC that really sums up my feelings about the mentality of “some” of the drivers who possess the driver’s licenses they have because they were found at the bottom of Cracker Jack boxes. It was so well put and so well written that I have posted it below. I would like to take credit for writing it, but it was not me – surprising, because at first glance, it would seem that I wrote it. So thank you “GrandPa Grump” (his handle on CBC) whoever and wherever you are for taking the words out of my mouth… or the words from my fingertips and so competently saying what needs to be said. I’m glad it is not only me who thinks that Darwin was right.
“If you live in Alberta, here is a question for you to ponder……
Who, or what was the chief cause of these major accidents on highway # 2 today?
A) Really bad snow storm in area for last 24 hours,
B) Late 20’s to mid 30 something male driver, hopped up on Red Bulls & beef jerky,
C) Driving like an fool, at high speeds, too fast for the conditions present,
D) An “Oil Field” related 1 ton truck, jacked up on “Vehicular Steroids”, pushing 700 hp through 28 inch custom aluminum wheels sporting bald summer tires, loss of traction,
E) All of the above!!!!!
I watched as it happened from the south bound lanes. Someone driving a 1 Ton pick-up sporting custom rims & skinny rubber summer tires, bombing up Highway # 2 like it was a mid summers night, weaving in & out of traffic faster than a loom can produce a yard of material, with not a care about anyone around them.
With certainty that they own the road with their monster 4×4 “Mud Crusher”, they blindly pushed the speed limit further than most should, the rear wheels slipped out from under them and away they went, towards the toolies, taking out a few other travelers around them. Naturally, the couple of transport trucks that were in the immediate area flew in every direction, trying to avoid the smaller vehicles around them.
Some were lucky, others not so much. Carnage ensued, metal crushing fiberglass & plastics, cars spinning into ditches & each other. The chain reactions lasted about 3 minutes. After that, it was utter chaos trying to find the injured amongst those trying to stay in their vehicles for warmth, as the furious winter storm blows across the accident scene.”
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