The beaks inherit the earth: Learn about the eerie opening to Hitchcock's 'The Birds' (1963)

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“If you have ever eaten a turkey drumstick, caged a canary or gone duck hunting, The Birds will give you something to think about,” drawled the voice of Alfred Hitchcock. It was 1962 and this was a radio advertisement for the film, a clever spot designed to intrigue and titillate audiences while implicating them in the director’s latest horrific tale. 

Based on the story of the same name by Daphne Du Maurier, The Birds is a taut picture with moments of delightful comedy and abject horror. Hitchcock classifies the film as a “catastrophe” picture, saying that the characters “were the victims of Judgement Day”. The credits, executed in the blue of a perfect clear sky, are torn to pieces as if pecked apart. The text is destroyed, shattered like the teacups that appear later in both the Brenner living room and the Fawcett kitchen — stark symbols of human civilization being cut down.

Read about The Birds on Art of the Title.