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The mystery behind the avian outbreak that inspired one of Alfred Hitchcock's greatest films may have finally been solved.
Hitchcock's 1963 film "The Birds" was inspired by both a Daphne du Maurier short story and a mass outbreak of avian insanity that took place in California's Monterey Bay two years earlier. According to a team of researchers, that outbreak was caused by the least suspenseful thing of all time: poisoned plankton.
Sibel Bargu of Louisiana State University led a team of researchers that determined that 79% of the plankton that the squid and other creatures that the birds ate contained toxin-making algae, which was passed along through prey to predator.
In the film, the birds attack people, while in real life they sufferd seizures and confusion and then died, plummeting down on houses and cars when they dropped from the sky. As USA Today points out, the poison may have been »
- Jordan Zakarin
I was 7 years old when my mother first made me watch Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. The second I saw Suzanne Pleshette’s eyes gouged out by a murderous bird on Bodega Bay, I became petrified of even the most harmless hummingbirds. I only became more frightened learning that the film was inspired by real-life events, when birds on Monterey Bay began mysteriously flying into buildings in the early 1960s. And then I became even more terrified a few days later when a bird flew into my window and died.
But it’s likely I no longer have to live »
- Kate Ward
Following years of research into birds attacking humans and losing their bearings mid-flight, the boffins have ruled the creatures ate a form of toxin-making algae that causes amnesia and disorientation.
The 1963 film about the now-explained phenomenon was based on a 1961 event in the Monterey Bay area of northern California, where a flock of disoriented seabirds crashed into homes.
The scientists' findings also help to explain the mysterious deaths of four people on Canada's Prince Edward Island in the late 1980s and countless examples of stranded sea creatures over the years.
Oceanographic researcher Sibel Bargu of Louisiana State University insists she was the perfect person to get involved with the study.
She tells ABC News, "I have a special connection to this movie (The Birds). When I was a kid, they showed it on TV and my parents didn't let me watch it. While they were watching in the family room, I was outside, trying to see the movie from the keyhole. What I saw was so scary.
"When I started work on harmful algae blooms and their toxins and then learned of this superexciting connection, I felt I had to work on this." »
Washington, Dec 29: Alfred Hitchcock's thriller 'The Birds' was apparently inspired by a 'strange' real life event, which occurred two years before the release of one of the scariest films in history.
Over two decades later, in 1987, four people died and 100 were hospitalized on Canada's Prince Edward Island after eating mussels.
In 1991, there were numerous animal-stranding events in Southern California.
Subsequently, all the events were considered. »
- Arun Pandit
Filed under: Movie News
Back in January -- when it seemed like you couldn't get through one day without reading about a rash of bizarre bird deaths -- you would have been forgiven for adding 'The Birds' to your Netflix queue in the hopes of finding out ways to survive the coming birdpocalypse. The 1963 Alfred Hitchcock film remains one of the scariest cautionary tales of all time, if only because of its mystery: Hitch based the film, in part, on a 1961 incident in Monterey Bay, California, where seabirds rammed themselves into houses. Fifty years later, it seems that the impetus behind the bizarre occurrence has been discovered.
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- Christopher Rosen
Chicago – The unmistakable silhouette of the Master of Suspense will be cast over the Music Box Theatre during the final days of the holiday season. Ten of Alfred Hitchcock’s most beloved masterworks will be presented on the big screen in inspired double bills that illustrate the startling range and enduring brilliance of the legendary filmmaker.
Even if moviegoers have seen these titles eight dozen times on DVD, they will be amazed at how fresh the films play when screened in a packed theater. No filmmaker knew how to delight and frighten an audience better than Hitchcock. When Robert Osborne held a free screening of “North by Northwest” at the Music Box last year, it felt as if the picture had been made yesterday.
Every punchline scored a belly laugh, every moment of delicious tension caused viewers to lean forward in anticipation, and when the film ended, the packed house broke out into extended, »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Adam Fendelman)
Eva Marie Saint, Tippi Hedren, Ernest Borgnine, Norman Jewison, Robert Osborne, and Ben Mankiewicz are some of the TCM Cruise passengers shown in the picture above. (Click on the photo to enlarge it.) The group pic was posted on TCM's Twitter page. Eva Marie Saint won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for Elia Kazan's On the Waterfront (1954). Her other film credits include Fred Zinnemann's A Hatful of Rain (1957), Alfred Hitchcock's North by Northwest (1959), Otto Preminger's Exodus (1960). Ernest Borgnine won a Best Actor Oscar for Delbert Mann's Marty (1955). Borgnine's other movies include Fred Zinnemann's From Here to Eternity (1953), Richard Brooks' The Catered Affair (1956), and Sam Peckinpah's The Wild Bunch (1969). Tippi Hedren was an Alfred Hitchcock discovery. Her movies include The Birds (1963) and Marnie (1964). She is the mother of Melanie Griffith. Norman Jewison has been nominated for three Best Director Academy Awards: In the Heat of the Night, »
- Andre Soares
After years of development projects trying to get a movie about Alfred Hitchcock on the screen, two are coming close to fruition. The first is Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho, based on Stephen Rebello's book of the same title. (Rebello co-scripted with Black Swan writer John McLaughlin.) The film has had Anthony Hopkins set to play Hitch for a while, and just moved from Paramount to Fox Searchlight. And now Helen Mirren will likely play Hitchcock's wife Alma Reville. Sacha Gervasi (Anvil! The Story of Anvil) is directing this one, the subject of which should be pretty evident from the title, and THR  says that this deal is still in early stages, but the film hopes to shoot in April. After the break, part of the creation of The Birds will hit HBO and the BBC. The other film is The Girl, which HBO Films will co-produce with the BBC. »
- Russ Fischer
The film will chronicle Hitchcock's experiences while filming the thriller Psycho in the late 1950s. The film became an instant classic when it was released in 1960 and many film fans argue it is the director's greatest movie.
The role will mark Hopkins' latest real-person portrayal - the British-born movie star has also played former U.S. president Richard Nixon, artist Pablo Picasso, bike racer Burt Munro, former British leader David Lloyd George and writer Charles Dickens onscreen. He is also currently playing literary great Ernest Hemingway in Hemingway & Fuentes.
Alfred Hitchcock & the Making of Psycho isn't the only film about the director's great works currently in early development - Sienna Miller has been cast as Tippi Hedren in an as-yet untitled film about the actress' relationship with the legendary filmmaker on the set of 1963's The Birds. »
The Master has found his Mistress.
Helen Mirren will be playing Alma Rainville, the wife of world-renowned filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock, in the upcoming biography film that we really hope ends up getting a better title, "Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of 'Psycho,'" according to Heat Vision.
Mirren will be playing the better half of Anthony Hopkins' Hitchcock, with Sacha Gervasi ("Anvil! The Story of Anvil") set to direct. News of Mirren's casting comes with the announcement that the long-in-development project has moved from Paramount to Fox Searchlight.
"Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of 'Psycho'" (maybe with the studio change will also come a new title, 'cause that one really has to go) tracks how Hitchcock had to raise the funding for his low-budget horror movie himself after no studio would touch it. The film, written by John McLaughlin ("Black Swan") from the book by Stephen Rebello, also »
- Bryan Enk
Looks like we're gonna have two Alfred Hitchcock movies on the way, and in a rare feat, they both look promising. Just yesterday it was revealed that Toby Jones and Sienna Miller were heading up"The Girl," which focuses on the director's obsessive relationship with Tippi Hedren, who starred in "The Birds" and "Marnie." But in case you forgot, over at Fox Searchlight, another movie has been brewing from "Anvil!" director Sacha Gervasi with the self-explanatory title "Alfred Hitchcock And The Making of Psycho." In his flick, Anthony Hopkins plays the legendary director and now he's got one of the classiest gals around to hang off of his arm. THR reports that none other than Helen Mirren will co-star in the pic, playing his wife, Alma Reville marking the first time these two have worked together on-screen. The subject matter is great stuff for movie buffs. "Psycho" was a project that Paramount hated. »
Just yesterday we reported that BBC2 was planning a film based on legendary director Alfred Hitchcock’s obsession with his The Birds star Tippi Hedren, and today we’ve got casting news on another Hitchcock movie currently in the works. Helen Mirren is apparently eyeing the role of Hitchcock’s wife in the drama Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho. The project has been in development for years with Anthony Hopkins attached the played the famed filmmaker, and now it looks like a production start date is finally looming. Hit the jump for more. Based on the non-fiction book by Stephen Rebello, the film tells the story of how everyone thought Hitchcock was crazy for wanting to make a horror movie at the pinnacle of his career. The director scrambled to find financing, shot the picture with his inexpensive TV crew, and soon after Psycho became a nationwide sensation. »
- Adam Chitwood
In his recent book Monsters In The Movies, John Landis talks about how movies are one of the few art forms in which even the bad examples can be enjoyed. The director of ‘American Werewolf In London’ and ‘The Blues Brothers’ further argued this notion with a recent interview with Tor.com.
“Movies have this unique power over books, music, or paintings. We’ll watch a bad movie. If we see a bad painting, we’ll not linger on it for hours at a time, we’ll walk way. But we don’t do that with movies. We’ll sit through them”
Landis is absolutely right, and it’s now increasingly common for awful movies to cultivate their own cult fanbases, as well as recognition for being some of the worst of all time.
In celebration of good-bad movies everywhere, here’s my personal pick of 10 of the most enjoyable bad movies ever made. »
- Stephen Leigh
The first item that needs mentioning is Sight & Sound's followup to last week's tweets and sneak peeks, "2011 in review: The full poll," 101 critics and curators listing their top five films and generally reflecting on the year that was. Editor Nick James introduces the bundle.
The second order of business would be the obligatory mention of David Fincher's commenting on the David Denby vs Scott Rudin brouhaha (briefly: the New Yorker critic reneged on his promise not to run a review of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo before the embargo would be lifted on December 13; the producer blew his top). Talking to Rene Rodriguez of the Miami Herald, Fincher naturally comes down on the side of his producer, but also adds: "Embargoes… look, if it were up to me, I wouldn't show movies to anybody before they were released…. But by the same token, when you agree to go »
Hedren starred in Hitchcock's signature film, "The Birds" after the famed director spotted her in a soft-drink commercial in 1961. Finding that Hedren could fulfill the "ice blonde" void left in the grisly auteur's heart by Kim Novak and Grace Kelly, Hitchcock signed Hedren to a seven-year contract and featured her prominently in his films, including 1964's "Marnie."
"The Girl" will focus on their tumultuous relationship and Hitchcock's obsession with the young actress. Hitchcock controlled Hedren's public image with alarming detail. He controlled what she ate and forbade her from »
- Andrew Reilly
Happy Birthday to Ryan Carnes (above), who turns 29, and Ryan White, who would have turned 40 today. A petition is underway to have the British government officially pardon gay mathematician Alan Turing. If the petition reaches 100,000 signatures, the Parliament will be obligated to debate it. Sienna Miller and Toby Jones will star as Tippi Hedren and Alfred Hitchcock in The Girl, about Hitch's obsession with Hedren while filming The Birds. I just pray they'll include that infamous moment when he presented Tippi's daughter Melanie Griffith with a miniature doll of Tippi ... in a small pine box. Kudos to Bradley Cooper for doing the right thing. Awww ... it's cute he thinks he'll ever have the chance to not make that "mistake." Santorum Makes Baffling Comments On Gay Sex. ... And? Below you can see Hillary Clinton giving her powerful United Nations speech about Glbt rights. You can read the text here.
Good news! »
Sienna Miller (G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra) and Toby Jones (Red Lights, The Hunger Games, The Mist) are set to take on Hitchockian roles in a new film. Bloody Disgusting reports that they are set to star as Tippi Hedren and Alfred Hitchcock, respectively, in BBC Two drama, The Girl.
The film is being directed by Julian Jarrold (Becoming Jane), and will focus on Hitchcock’s “obsessive relationship with his The Birds star.” What makes this movie legit is that Hedren is giving interviews to writer Gwyneth Hughes, and Hitchcock biographer Donald Spoto is consulting on the film. Miller recently visited Hedren to discuss the project and they reportedly “got on like a house on fire.” Filming begins this week in South Africa and includes Imelda Staunton and Penelope Wilton.
Here is some background on Hitchock and Hedren: Hitchcock was at the height of his fame and creativity when, »
What a difference a few months make! Back in early September we first heard about the BBC Two's upcoming docudrama The Girl, which chronicles director Alfred Hitchcock's obsessive relationship with his The Birds star Tippi Hedren. At the time there was one pair of names attached to star as Hitch and Hedren, but times have changed, and now we have two new names - Toby Jones and Sienna Miller, respectively.
Per Deadline the Wall to Wall Television production of The Girl will be produced by Amanda Jenks and executive produced by Leanne Klein for Wall to Wall and Lucy Richer at the BBC. Shooting starts this week in South Africa.
Miller (pictured, Stardust) is no doubt best known for her tempestuous relationship with actor Jude Law over many years while Jones has appeared in such films as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, The Rite, Captain America: The First Avenger, »
- The Woman In Black
This is far too intriguing not to think about for hours: The BBC2 just announced a project called The Girl, starring Sienna Miller as model-turned-actress Tippi Hedren and Toby Jones as Alfred Hitchcock, who obsessed over Hedren as they filmed the The Birds in northern California's Bodega Bay. The extreme relationship between Hitch and Hedren, which included some violent bird-throwing sessions during one climactic scene, is well-documented and ready for re-inspection (as is any film starring the dashing Rod Taylor). But is this the most fascinating Hitchcock story to examine? We offer one other possible Hitchcock era that might be intriguing to revisit. »
The telemovie will chronicle the famed director’s obsessive relationship with his "The Birds" leading lady, a previously unknown fashion model.
Hitchcock became obsessed with her and his failure to win her affections arguably destroyed both of their careers.
- Garth Franklin
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