My endless quest for the perfect chicken sandwich continues. Popeyes, Chick-fil-A, KFC, Burger King. I'm discovering timing regarding the overall quality of the sandwich is nearly as important as the sandwich itself. Is it made fresh? This should comes as no great revelation, but alas it is. It's like when the French fries are fresh versus sitting around all day. My brother would ask specifically for them to make fresh French fries at McDonalds. He had a point. What a difference. They were often amazing right out of the deep fryer. Anyway, something about that chicken bird that keeps me on my endless pursuit of the best of the best chicken sandwich. And yet so many I have yet to discover.
Speaking of birds and discoveries, The Sci-Fi Fanatic took in director Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds (1963), following a recent look at the classic Psycho (1960), as part of an ongoing personal Hitchcock-a-thon.
These films are indeed historically important and are still stunning as visual feats and feasts. These are pictures sadly lost on most filmgoers (remember before Covid when we went to the cinema) today.
I won't deny that these films have aged. They have. They must. Looking at The Birds I was struck by how odd some of the language and writing was in the film. Perhaps its particular time and era lends an air of peculiarity to the mystery of the supernatural proceedings. The play and dance of words between characters was clearly intentional, but it is odd.
The beautiful bird Tippi Hedren stars, mother of Malanie Griffith, in her debut opposite Rod Taylor (The Time Machine), Jessica Tandy (Driving Miss Daisy, Cocoon, Fried Green Tomatoes), Suzanne Pleshette and Veronica Cartwright (Alien). The film is loaded with birds and real ones too. It's quite impressive just how strong even dark some of Hitchcock's female leads were in some of his films as they are here or as was the case for Janet Leigh in Psycho (1960).
It's wonderful to see the details of an era long gone too from cigarette machines to cars and detailed backdrops. Bodega Bay couldn't be more striking with all of the wonderful mattes provided for this feature. The effects work was top notch once upon a time. But again, The Birds is an odd little picture, something of a Dodo by today's standards, and I mean no disrespect in that to cinephiles, because film aficionados understand its intrinsic beauty and film values.
There's something special about the editing in the film too, like Psycho, that is rarely seen today. Such a remarkable and judicious use of powerful editing by Hitchcock in critical moments. There's one scene of truly gruesome horror that had to be a bit surprising in 1963. Eventual directors like David Cronenberg had to be inspired. I was reminded of a key scene for Cronenberg in his The Dead Zone (983).
It's undeniable the influence of films like The Birds on any number of director's pictures even on something much more contemporary like Frank Darabont's The Mist (2007), for example, but you can see it. People held up and imprisoned by supernatural forces marching unrelenting upon them.
It's hard to recommend The Birds to just anyone especially from a modern filmgoing audience, but it is clearly recommended to the aficionado of film classics. Here are some of those striking Hitchcock images for your eyes to enjoy. Time for me to fly.