Tippi Hedren) travels to a small coastal California village to play a prank on a man (Rod Taylor) who earlier played a prank on her. As love blooms, all of the birds go crazy.
This could have been just an unconventional monster flick with a bolted-on love story, but not in Hitchcock's hands. We learn and really care about the flawed characters as the situation becomes more dire.
Before I praise The Birds some more, allow me to pick some nits. When birds attack, children and adults alike run around like nuts rather than run for cover. Three scenes in particular come to mind, but I shan't spoil anything. The characters simply don't behave believably. Hedren herself asked why she would do something and Hitchcock responded "Because I told you to."
Additionally, I detect no larger meaning to the horror. Just birds gone crazy. No cold war tension, environmental disaster, no science gone too far cautionary moral. Maybe that isn't a flaw in of itself, but what we have is a budding romance and crazy birds. That's all. It seems incomplete.
Now, that said, The Birds is a wonderful tale. Great pacing, character development, and well written dialog. A very young Suzanne Pleshette was quite adorable (although it was hard watching her light up cigarettes knowing she will die young of lung cancer). Jessica Tandy played the overprotective mother, lending to the idea that she was always old. AMRU 4.
Side note: since I saw Psycho I have been targeting this movie. I would record it and it would be deleted from my tiny DVR before I got a chance to see it. I recorded it again, and again it was deleted. On my third try I had a DVR failure and it didn't record. Luckily, this is a movie that TCM loves to run. On the forth try, I finally got to see it.