Friday, May 26, 2006

For the Birds

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Alfred Hitchcock's classic horror film, The Birds, screened in 1963, was based on a short story by Daphne du Maurier.

The Birds and other Stories
by Daphne du Maurier was published by Penguin Books in 1963; this collection of short stories enabled her devoted readership to see her, for the first time, in a very different guise as an exponent of the sinister and macabre.

The idea for this famous story came to her one day when she was walking across to Menabilly Barton farm from the house. She saw a farmer busily ploughing a field whilst above him the seagull s were diving and wheeling. She developed the idea about the birds becoming hostile and attacking him.

In her story, the birds become hostile after a harsh winter with little food, first the seagulls, then birds of prey and finally even small birds, all turn against mankind.

The nightmarish idea appealed to Hitchcock who turned it into the celebrated film. Daphne disliked the film and particularly disliked the translation of the setting from Cornwall, with its small fields and stone hedges, to small-town America.

Peck at those seeds of information for a while, and I'll get back to my story soon enough.

Shabbat Shalom.