Oh no! Michael Bay is planning to remake a classic Alfred Hitchcock – The Birds
The Internet is abuzz with the news that Michael Bay producer / director of films such as the Transformer series, remakes of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and Friday the 13th, and a coming remake of Mutant Ninja Turtles is now aiming his talents at the terrifying but beloved Alfred Hitchcock classic… The Birds.
Bay has been nominated for five different “Worst Director” Golden Raspberry Awards* for his penchant for blowing up scenery every seven minutes. His films draw a certain audience enamored with robots that turn into cars. To allow a classic film, one of Hitchcock’s greatest, to fall victim to the pow-bangs of Bay is just plain wrong.*Source IMDb
The Birds, a haunting horror classic, was released in 1963. It follows the story of Melanie Daniels portrayed by Tippi Hedren, a socialite who visits Bodega Bay, a small town north of San Francisco. The film is based on a 1952 short story by Daphne du Maurier. The story builds on the gathering birds as they darken the sky and invade a children’s playground in one of the scariest scenes ever filmed. Hitchcock knew you didn’t need bloodshed to scare the bees out of your audience. He was a master at layering suspense… then the bloodshed.
A few years ago, Hollywood tried to remake Psycho and it fell flat. No one can tingle the psychological spine like the genius of the genre, Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock, KBE.
Hitchcock, who was born in England in 1899, and died at his home in California in 1980, pioneered the use of a camera in moving to mimic a person’s gaze, which compelled viewers to engage in a form of voyeurism. He was a genius at framing a shot to enhance anxiety and fear. His films are cinematic works of art.
Many of his films have a twist or double-twist at the end. He often used decoys or “MacGuffins” that serve the film’s plot and the psychological motivations of the characters.
In a career spanning six decades, Hitchcock directed more than fifty feature films. His knack for withholding crucial information from his characters and from the audience put the viewers in the picture and amped the tension. He has been described as the most influential filmmaker of all time.
Bits and Bobs
Around age five, according to Hitchcock, he was sent by his father to the local police station with a note asking the officer to lock him away for five minutes as punishment for behaving badly. This incident not only implanted a lifetime fear of policemen in Hitchcock, but such rough treatment and wrongful accusations would later be found throughout his films.
Interview: Hitchcock on Happiness
Movies (most commercially popular)
Rear Window, North by Northwest, Notorious, Psycho, Vertigo, Rebecca, Dial M for Murder, The Birds, The 39 Steps, Strangers on a Train, The Man Who Knew Too Much, The Lady Vanishes, Rope, and Marnie.
He was known for his use of icy blonde female characters. Hitchcock once said, ‘Blondes make the best victims. They’re like virgin snow that shows up bloody footprints.’
Ingrid Bergman (Spellbound), Grace Kelly (Rear Window) Doris Day (The Man Who Knew Too Much) Kim Novak (Vertigo) Tippi Hedren (The Birds) Janet Leigh (Psycho)
Hitchcock’s favorite leading men were Cary Grant and James Stewart. Grant appeared in Suspicion, Notorious, To Catch a Thief, and North by Northwest.
Stewart starred in Rear Window, The Man Who Knew Too Much, Vertigo, and Rope.
Many of Hitchcock’s characters plunged to their deaths. The villain in North by Northwest fell from Mount Rushmore. A fatal fall from an apartment building triggers the plot in Vertigo. In The Man Who Knew Too Much a villain falls from a theater box; in Jamaica Inn, Squire Pengallon takes a nose-dive from the mast of a ship. Near falls trigger debilitating vertigo and acrophobia for James Stewart’s characters in both Rear Window and Vertigo.
Vertigo contains a camera technique that has been copied many times by filmmakers, wherein the image appears to stretch. This is achieved by moving the camera in the opposite direction of the camera’s zoom. It has become know by many names, including Dolly Zoom, Hitchcock Zoom, and Vertigo Effect.
Only Hitchcock can remake Hitchcock. He successfully remade his own 1934 film The Man Who Knew Too Much in 1956. The film starred James Stewart and Doris Day, who sang the theme song, “Que Sera, Sera” (Whatever Will be, Will Be) which won the Oscar for Best Original Song. They play parents whose son is kidnapped to prevent them from interfering with an assassination.
In North by Northwest, Cary Grant plays Roger Thornhill, a Madison Avenue advertising executive who is mistaken for a government secret agent. He is hotly pursued across the United Sates by enemy agents; one of them being Eva Marie Saint… another blonde.
Psycho is almost certainly Hitchcock’s best-known film. Produced on a tight budget of $800,000, it was shot in black-and-white on a minimal set. The suspense leading up to the gruesome/classic murder-in-the-shower scene, the early death of the heroine, and the mentally disturbed murderer became the defining trademarks of Hitchcock’s psychological horror movie genre. The public loved the film and lined up outside theaters waiting for the next show. It was the most profitable black-and-white sound film ever made, and Hitchcock personally realized in excess of $15 million.
The Birds, inspired by Daphne du Maurier’s short story and by a news story about a mysterious invasion of birds in Santa Cruz, California, was Hitchcock’s 49th film. Tippi Hedren made her screen debut in the film. The scenes of the birds attacking included hundreds of shots of mixing live and animated sequences. The reason the birds attacked it left unanswered.
Psycho and The Birds had unconventional soundtracks: the screeching violin strings played in the murder scene in Psycho are still referenced to describe a particularly scary movie scene. Only the notes from Jaws can beat those violins for instant recognition. The Birds dispense with any conventional score, instead using a new technique of electronically produced sound effects. Primitive, but highly effective trick for getting into your head and sending your chill-meter for a ride.
Poor Hitch is probably turning over in director’s heaven. To think Alfred Hitchcock – The Birds may turn into robot cars, or perhaps cars turn into exploding birds?
Is nothing sacred?
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Miami Mummies: a comic salute to the great Alfred Hitchcock
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