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.
The trickster Madam Blanche Tyler lures the elder millionaire Julia Rainbird that believes she is a spiritualist. After a séance, she discovers that Julia is tormented by her past, when she forced her sister and single mother Harriet to deliver her baby for adoption to avoid a family scandal. Julia promises the small fortune of ten thousand-dollar to Blanche if she finds her nephew and heir of her fortune using her phony powers. Blanche asks her boyfriend George Lumley, who is an unemployed actor working as cab driver, to investigate the whereabouts of Julia's nephew. Meanwhile, the greedy jeweler and collector Arthur Adamson kidnaps wealthy people with his girlfriend Fran to increase his collection of diamonds with the ransom. When George concludes that Arthur Adamson might be the heir of Julia Rainbird, the reckless Blanche gets in trouble with the kidnappers. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Alfred Hitchcock was seriously in ill-health during the production of this movie. This lead to this picture being his final ever film. It was not intended to be his final picture as afterwards he worked on developing 'The Short Night' for the screen. See more »
During the runaway car scene George is almost strangled by Blanche as she hangs on to his tie while flailing around in the back of the car. George's tie is clearly loose around his neck in several shots. When he crashes and climbs out of the car the tie knot is perfect. See more »
Don't start to fret, George, or our waterbed will be no fun at all tonight; as an actor, you should know that fretting will ruin a performance.
You don't have to worry about my performance tonight, honey - as a matter of fact, this very evening, you're gonna see a standing ovation!
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The Universal logo does not appear anywhere on this film. See more »
Get ready for the tricks and suspense you've seen in other films, but be sure to get the commentary on DVD. Barbara Harris looks just like Hitchcock's daughter, as you'll see from the interview, just a younger version. A extra lesson: You will never get a facelift once you see the interviews with Karen Black. If she had allowed herself to age naturally, she would have been so much more attractive than the gargoyle you'll wince at seeing.
Here's a treat: the winding mountain road and no brakes scenario as never you've seen it. I loved the comic touches and the risqué language. It is indeed a unique film. If you happen to love the mountain of California and San Francisco, you'll also love the cinematography. The stills are mostly of Hitchcock in the graveyard, which makes you wonder if he wasn't a little clairvoyant himself. The whole movie centers around a phony psychic and her attempt to cheat an old woman out of her money.
In our cynical world of today, you'll expect them just to dress Dern up as the missing heir, but nope, they play it straight. Having read of Hitchcock's misogyny, you'll appreciate the cuts and slices between the lovers. Both pairs of grifters have their own love thing going. Rather touching to see the fidelity among the crooks. Inspired writing, indeed.
Hitchcock did have a pacemaker installed while this movie was being made, so you have to wonder if his own thoughts of his impending death might have caused as much concentration on the graveyard scenes. Buy the DVD; the added features will make the movies itself 3 times more interesting.
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