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's films have become famous for a number of elements and iconography: vertiginous heights, innocent men wrongfully accused, blonde bombshells dressed in white, voyeurism, long non-dialogue sequences, etc. In this his final film, one last iconographic element was added to the canon: the woman in black. Karen Black plays a villainous character whose outfit is the antithesis of the blonde dressed in white. Her costume comprises black hat, black dress, large black sunglasses obscuring the face and a long blonde wig. This menacing character image was notable in this movie and its image dominated in the film's printed promotional material and movie posters. The malevolent character-image has since been re-used in such famous movies as for character Bobbi in 'Brian de Palma''s Dressed to Kill (1980) and Hannibal Lecter's on-the-run end-of-movie disguise in The Silence of the Lambs (1991). See more »
One of the FBI agents opens the door to the helicopter in a high shot and we distinctly see a man in the helicopter window (possibly a stunt double), however in the next shot it is a completely different man. The same error occurs when the helicopter is seen taking off. See more »
Man leading funeral:
[At funeral, quoting Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 9:20-27]
O how great the holiness of our God! For he knoweth call things, and there is not anything save he knows it. And he cometh into the world that he may save all men if they will hearken unto his voice; for behold, he suffereth the pains of all men, yea, the pains of every living creature, both men, women, and children, who belong to the family of Adam. And he suffereth this that the resurrection might pass upon all men, that all might stand ...
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The Universal logo does not appear anywhere on this film. See more »
Hitchcock was a better director of suspense than comedy.
This is a not altogether successful attempt at a send-up of Hitchcock's classic thrillers. The plot is as convoluted as ever, except that it borders on the silly.
As a stand-alone movie, it's beautifully shot, but too ridiculous to take seriously, without managing to be actually funny.
But if you take the plot as simply a line to hang the parody on, it's nicely amusing. It's a kaleidoscope of scenes from other Hitchcock movies which were scary the first time round, but this time they're caricatures. Relive bits from North By Northwest, Psycho, To Catch A Thief, and many more, grinning as you recognise where they came from.
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