Alfred Hitchcock is commonly known as "the master of suspense". Does he achieve this in the "Climbing Frame" scene in the film The Birds?

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Muhammed Hashim Khan                  10CS

English Group: 10aEn1

Teacher: Ms Pitts

English: Media Coursework.

Alfred Hitchcock is commonly known as “the master of suspense”.

Does he achieve this in the “Climbing Frame” scene in the film The Birds?

The film we are going to be reviewing is called “The Birds” and was directed by Sir Alfred Jacob Hitchcock.  This apocalyptic thriller was distributed in the year 1963 by Universal Pictures, and had been based upon the story written by Daphne Du Maurier.  This film is filled of chaotic attacks of ordinary birds, and not of birds of prey, and we are looking at one particular scene, “The Climbing Frame  

Before this scene, you find that the movie is set in Bodega Bay.  Melanie (acted by Tippi Hedren) finds out that Mitch (acted by Rod Taylor) lives in this town of water.  She goes along to this village and sees him to deliver some lovebirds.  As she approaches the port of the lake she is attacked by a gull.  This is the first sign in which we establish that the suspense has started.  We find out that, “the birds” is not an ironic title for the film but is explanatory before you have either seen the cover or the whole film.  After this part of the movie, Melanie has decided to stay in Bodega Bay with the consultation of Mitch.  She has dinner with Mitch’s family and this is when the second attack occurs, as more birds fly in through the fireplace.  This creates tension, because I had never imagined that the birds could come in through the fireplace during a pleasant evening meal.  This came as a shock to me as I did not think of that to be possible.  I do not think we were expecting birds to attract people as they seem pleasant in real life.  Before this designated scene the birds have been used build up to one horrifying attack.  Each attack is worse than the other.  The birds have been portrayed to give an impression that they are fierce and ruthless.  This is shown in one particular scene; this is when the Lydia goes to see her friend and finds a distressing and horrific image of him lying on the ground, with his eyes exposed without eyeballs, and the blood that leads Lydia to this finding.  In my opinion, I think that the tension had begun in the start of the movie and not only in the selected scene.

“The Climbing Frame” scene is divided upon four sections; which are: when Melanie drives up to the school and enters, the actual climbing frame section, back in school and the attack.  In the following paragraphs I will be describing how Hitchcock creates tension in the diverse sections.

The first section is when Melanie drives up to the school.  This is the shortest section of the scene.

In each of the sections the camera shots are important.  At the start of the first section,  the camera was at head level.  It had been mostly set on Melanie and her car, as she enters the scene and the set of the school.  This sets the scene.  It gives me the impression that this was going to be the start of a scene as it is a cliché.  This doesn’t create any tension yet as nothing has happened in the scene yet.  

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After this the camera starts to zoom in to show Melanie as she goes to keep an eye on Cathy.  She is not aware of her fate before the event and so she keeps a straight face.  She is doing this because Lydia has asked her to keep an eye on Cathy (she may have been happy to gain a minute amount of Lydia’s trust in her).  The camera then zooms in at the name of the school to tell us where this is happening, but also to tell us where the scene is setting up from.  It sets ...

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