The Birds. 1963. USA. Directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Written by Daphne du Maurier, Evan Hunter, based on du Maurier’s short story. With Rod Taylor, Jessica Tandy, Suzanne Pleshette, Tippi Hedren. 35mm. 119 min.
In 1963, Bogdanovich organized a groundbreaking Hitchcock program at MoMA—what was then the Museum’s longest retrospective (37 features and six television films) devoted to the work of a single filmmaker. The Birds was slated to premiere at the Museum as the climax of the program, but technical considerations forced a move to the Palace in Times Square. Although Bogdanovich’s own work seldom drew on Hitchcock’s technically sophisticated, synthetic style, echoes of Hitchcock’s work can be found throughout his career—perhaps most surprisingly in Mask, in which the climactic final image, a landscape that balances hope and despair, life and death, evokes the epic ambiguity of the last shot of The Birds.