- Attack of the Killer Krows: Hitchcock's The Birds and The Book of Ruth
Hi Marian, I checked out your blog, and I am very optimistic about us entering a conversation. My stories, compared to your poems, could be described as entertainingly subversive. A lot of my time is taken up with being a board member of the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, but when my stint is up, I plan to start a blog, too.
I wonder at times about the "I" that I project via Facebook and the livejournal blog. The blog partly started merely to keep track of the books I read. I don't know if readers would guess that I am female. Maybe the books by Ursula Le Guin and Chelsea Quinn Yarbro would give me away. Looking forward to hearing from you again.
Last night I viewed the DVD of Hitchcock's The Birds. It seemed a fitting end to a day spent watching the ocean and birds. The movie is seemingly about evil flocks of birds that attack innocent children and unsuspecting adults, and cause horrific accidents, [End Page 208] such as, symbolically, a conflagration fed by spilled gasoline. The setting is a small, closed-off village in a shabby seaside town one hour from San Francisco by freeway, or longer via the scenic route (we are told this a number of times). So of course I wondered about the underlying message. I don't know if you've seen this movie, but I will give you the run-down here.
Tippi Hedron is young, blond, rich, self-confident, with a reputation as a liar and "playgirl." Mitchell, a single lawyer of about 35, meets her in The City while shopping for birds for his little sister's birthday. He knows of her thru the gossip columns. She plays a practical joke on him by taking two lovebirds to his weekend home in Bodega Bay. As soon as she appears, in her mink coat, helmet of laquered gold hair, and convertible, she's the focus of small-town interest, as exotic to them as the lovebirds in the cage. After secretly getting the birds into Mitchell's home, she's attacked by a gull. Mitchell finds her and tends to her small wound. She meets his widowed mother (a painting of the dead patriarch is another presence), and is invited to the sister's birthday party the next day, when a whole flock of birds attack the children. Tippi and Mitchell help rescue them, and begin to feel a romantic attachment. After more attacks and deaths, she is accused of being the cause. Ultimately she, Mitchell, his mother and sister manage to escape in her car, forming a new family, and leaving behind the backward town for The City.
It's heroic, compassionate Tippi vs. the small-mindedness of insular towns; a possessive, fearful, lonely widowed mother (Tippi's own mother had abandoned her at the age of 11); Mitchell, the loyal son who refuses to leave his mother and marry, up to now; and little sister, who rounds out the family. Tippi needs a mother and Mitchell has one that needs protection; little sister needs a strong female role model; Mitchell needs a wife and helpmeet, and to produce an heir. It's an updated story of Ruth and Naomi, to me. Just had to share this with you!
Thanks for reminding me of The Birds. I do recall many long college dorm room discussions about the movie. A third of us were majors in some type of science and were perturbed that no explanation was given for the birds' reaction. Another third just saw it as a good horror story. I think that the last group concentrated on the relationship between the lovers. As I became older, I jumped from the first group to the third. I do remember explaining to my (Engineering major) sister that Hitchcock wasn't interested in why the birds behaved as they did. They were a physical manifestation of the disruption in the life of the main character. When her life problem was resolved, she...