The birds

The movie : The Birds

First group‘ instructions :

  • Try to understand what the movie ‘The Birds’ from A. Hitchcock is about
  • Find how this story started in the mind of Hitchcock
  • Explain all of this to your classmates

The Birds is a 1963 American horror film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, loosely based on the 1952 story of the same name by Daphne du Maurier. It focuses on a series of sudden and unexplained violent bird attacks on the people of Bodega Bay, California over the course of a few days.

The story

seagulls, line, birds-5067489.jpg

The story focuses on the heroic efforts of disabled farmer Nat Hocken. He want to protect his family from the hordes of birds that relentlessly try to invade the family’s cottage. Nat does odd jobs around the neighborhood, and on his way home one evening in early December. He notices that there are more birds around than usual and that they have become strangely aggressive. When he arrives home, he hears on the radio that all over England something has happened to the birds.

“The flocks of birds have caused dislocation in all areas,” says the broadcaster. There is something sinister in the word “dislocation,” for it suggests that the order of nature has been broken. Humanity has lost its dominion over the birds and beasts. The government and the military admit that there is nothing they can do. Nat is forced to rely on himself to survive. It is survival of the fittest, and he knows who will win.

The end of human kind?

pictures from: pinterest

Birds peck at Nat’s eyes one day, and he is viciously attacked by gulls the next. One day when the birds calm down a bit, Nat goes to check on his neighbors, only to find their mutilated bodies next to the telephone. That night, as the birds mount an attack, Nat works ceaselessly to plug up every access to the cottage as thousands of birds descend upon the house, breaking the windows and screaming down the chimney.

Finally, unable to resist any longer, Nat settles back and listens as even the tiniest of birds join in the final assault. As the end approaches, he wonders “how many millions of years were stored in those little brains, behind the stabbing beaks, the piercing eyes, now giving them this instinct to destroy mankind with all the deft precision of machines.”

In addition to the gradual layering of horrifying detail, du Maurier also heightens the effect of the story by focusing only on Nat Hocken and his family. Defenseless, alone, doomed, they seem to be the last people on earth—and perhaps they are.


How did the story come to Hitchcock ?

“The Birds,” one of Daphne du Maurier’s most chilling short stories, is in the collection The Apple Tree. The shock lies in the idea of birds as destroyers. People usually associate birds with things like freedom and beauty and music. However, in this story, du Maurier drew on her own experience with vicious seagulls. She imagines once-innocent creatures suddenly mutated into merciless killers bent on destroying humanity.

The Birds, the jaw-dropping thriller that has spooked the nation since 1963, was partially inspired by this novel. But also by a curious phenomenon that occurs just a few years before…

In 1961, two years before the beginning of one of the freakiest films in history, hoards of disoriented seabirds rammed themselves into the sides of homes in the Monterey Bay area. There seemed to be no explanation for the bizarre event, but Hitchcock is said to have based The Birds on it.

More than two decades later, in 1987, four people died and 100 were hospitalized on Canada’s Prince Edward Island after eating mussels. 

Is there any links ?

Your job is to solve the mystery which leads to this scary movie… Using your skills in biology, as well as possible of course !

picture from pinterest

A little bit of help that could be usefull…

  • Algal bloom: An algal bloom or marine bloom or water bloom is a rapid increase in the population of algae in an aquatic system.
  • Seagull = goéland

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