A wealthy San Francisco socialite pursues a potential boyfriend to a small Northern California town that slowly takes a turn for the bizarre when birds of all kinds suddenly begin to attack people there in increasing numbers and with increasing viciousness.
Professor Michael Armstrong is heading to Stockholm to attend a physics conference accompanied by his assistant-fiancée Sarah Sherman. Once arrived however, Michael informs her that he may be staying for awhile and she should return home. She follows him and realizes he's actually heading to East Germany, behind the Iron Curtain. She follows him there and is shocked when he announces that he's defecting to the East after the US government canceled his research project. In fact, Michael is there to obtain information from a renowned East German scientist. Once the information is obtained, he and Sarah now have to make their way back to the West. Written by
Bernard Herrmann was able to record 9 cues for this film before Hitchcock fired him. Unfortunately, only 3 cues from original recording have been released on disc. Those 3 cues are Prelude, The Ship, and Radiogram. See more »
The message Professor Armstrong writes out in the bathroom stall, "Contact Pi . . . " does not match up with the letters underlined on p. 107 of the book, the source of the coded message. See more »
Professor Karl Manfred:
Are they ever going to get the heating fixed?
They are working at it, Professor. Perhaps some of you scientists would like to give us a helping hand!
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This hardly ever appears in the lists of the master's best films, but it is a real gem - superbly acted, inventively filmed with great music, dialogue and plot. Julie Andrews and Paul Newman work really well together - a very sexy scene early in the film is a delight, filmed in extreme close-up. And Lila Kedrova's cameo is Oscar worthy. This is also a memorable look at the Cold War at its height, and although the pro-West propaganda is a little thick at times, there is still a sense of the absurdity of the situation. And there is a murder scene of unbelievable savagery that really left me shaken - excellent work here from Newman and Carolyn Conwell. The most memorable scene is the bus pursuit sequence, and the theatre audience turning into an hysterical mob when Newman yells "fire" is a great Hitchcock moment. One of his best cameo appearances too. I think this film deserves re-examination.
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