U.S.A. • 1963 • COLOUR • 119 MIN

This celebrated film has a fantastic premise (birds launch an unmotivated assault on the human population) and an appropriately unconventional score. Herrmann worked closely with avant-garde composer Remi Glassman to develop the noise of birds electronically. A flutter or a squawk becomes almost as unnerving as the screaming violins in Psycho; and there’s a remarkable sequence where a family awaits a massed assault by birds on their home and the terror is conveyed almost entirely by the soundtrack. Herrmann also knew when to be silent, here leaving it to Hitchcock to create one of his greatest suspense sequences as the heroine (Tippi Hedren) waits nervously in the school playground to collect a child and, quietly unnoticed, some birds gather behind her with deadly purpose.

Musician & composer Gavin Friday will introduce this film.

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