Category Archives: 1963

The Birds (1963)

Don’t they ever stop migrating?

— Annie Hayworth

You know how much I love Alfred Hitchcock movies. He is the only director that I have reviewed at least five on his movie at the time of the LAMBs in the Director’s Chair series. The Birds is another movie that I crossed off that list. It was nominated for a single Oscar for Best Visual Effects. This movie that did not make me feel the same way about birds as Jaws did with sharks.

Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren) goes into a pet shop in downtown San Francisco to pick up a bird that she had ordered. Her bird had not come in the time it was supposed. She had to wait until a dashing young man comes into the store, Mitch Brenner (Rod Taylor) mistaking her for the a worker there. Mitch asks Melanie about what type of bird is best for his sister, Cathy (Veronica Cartwright). He wanted lovebirds. They begin to chat each other up until he leaves.

Melanie decides to surprise Mitch by buying the lovebirds and leave them out on his apartment. She learns that he is out-of-town for the weekend. He is visiting his family in Bodega Bay. She drives to Bodega Bay to find out where the Brenner house is located. She visits the local schoolteacher, Annie Hayworth (Suzanne Pleshette) to ask her about the family home which across the bay. She charters a small boat to sneak birds into the house.

When she crosses back across the bay, she is attacked by seagull. She and Mitch thinks that it is a fluke until the birds of the town start going crazy and start attacking all the residents of the town. The town becomes under siege with seagulls, crows and blackbirds for neighboring towns.

The movie for the most part is unsettling to watch, but I didn’t completely buy into it. I have to say who the hell get killed by a bunch of birds. What, do they peck you to death? It sounds ludicrous to me.

Did anybody get the feels that there is something more about Melanie and Lydia Brenner (Jessica Tandy)? Did you get the sense of a man being a attracted to a version of his mother? I got that feeling big time.

Judgment: The movie is unsettling to with, but it won’t make you afraid of birds.

Rating: 7.5/10

Federico Fellini’s 8 1/2 (1963)

Enough of symbolism and these escapist themes of purity and innocence.

— Guido

I have always wanted to see a Federico Fellini movie. I tried to watch La Dolce Vita, but it turned out to be a bad copy of the movie and I had to scrap the viewing of that movie. I hope to get back to that particular movie soon. The next movie that every film fans rave over is the #188 Movie of All-Time on IMDb, 8 1/2. This is inspiration of the musical, Nine, which I reviewed in 2009 that I liked. The two-time Academy winning film has been given a lot of unwanted praise in my opinion.

Guido Anselmi (Marcello Mastroianni) is a down and out director that trying to start his creative juices before his next production doesn’t go down the toilet. The production is already underway without a script or a concept of what the end product is going to be.

Guido has driven himself sick with debilitating headaches. He tries to get inspiration for the people around him like his friend,  Mario Mezzabotta (Mario Pisu), his younger girlfriend, Gloria Morin (Barbara Steele). Nothing is coming to his mind. Guido’s screenwriter is pulling his hair out to extract Guido’s thoughts into paper. Guido’s daydreams are a menageries of Catholic imagery, man kites and random women from his life pop in.

Guido’s mistress, Carla (Sandra Milo) comes to town to give Guido some inspiration for his next big screen hit. Their late night romps are not helping matters. To make matters worse, Guido wants to have his wife, Luisa (Anouk Aimée) to come to the set. He wanted to start the fireworks, but his life is going down in shambles. He has no way of getting out of the mess that he is in.

This film is so different from Nine, because Nine simplified the story and made it coherent. There were some positives that I liked in the movie with the relationship between Guido and Luisa. The movie felt like a Greek tragedy to me. Guido’s life is a production and everybody has to play their part in it.

I felt that the film was all dubbed. Nobody’s mouths were matching up to the words. Even thought I was reading the translation, I felt distracted from the non-sych of the actors mouths. Also, Guido’s daydreams were very random and cluttered. It was an assault to the eyes.

Judgment: Just because a movie is over twenty years old and in another language doesn’t mean that it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread.

Rating: 6/10

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