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H D - S E N S E I

A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Birds [Blu-ray]


http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/direct-chair/hitchcock.htm, 1963)


NOTE: The Birds is individually reviewed on 4K UHD HERE





Available individually on May 6th, 2014:


Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Universal Pictures

Video: Universal Home Video



Region: FREE (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:59:29.829

Disc Size: 41,804,104,734 bytes

Feature Size: 30,548,060,160 bytes

Video Bitrate: 29.37 Mbps

Chapters: 20

Case: Custom Bookstyle case

Release date: October 29th, 2012



Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 1785 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1785 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS Audio French 448 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps / 24-bit
DTS Audio Spanish 448 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps / 24-bit



English (SDH), French, Spanish, none



Deleted Scene (4:20)
Original Ending (3:40)
The Birds: Hitchcock’s Monster Movie -- New! (Blu-ray Exclusive - 14:23)
All About The Birds (1:19:49)
Storyboards (24:21)
Tippi Hedren’s Screen Test (9:57)
Hitchcock-Truffaut Interview Excerpts (13:58)
The Birds Is Coming (Universal International Newsreel - 1:17)
Suspense Story: National Press Club Hears Hitchcock (Universal International Newsreel 1:54)
Production Photographs
100 Years of Universal: Restoring the Classics (9:13)
100 Years of Universal: The Lot (9:26)
Theatrical Trailer (5:11)





Description: Universally recognized as the Master of Suspense, the legendary Alfred Hitchcock directed some of cinema’s most thrilling and unforgettable classics. Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection features 15 iconic films from the acclaimed director’s illustrious career including Psycho, The Birds, Rear Window, Vertigo, North by Northwest and many more. Starring Hollywood favorites such as James Stewart, Cary Grant, Grace Kelly, Paul Newman, Janet Leigh, Anthony Perkins, Tippi Hedren, Sean Connery and Kim Novak, this definitive collection showcases a true cinematic master at his best. Featuring over 15 hours of insightful bonus features plus an exclusive collectible book, each film has been digitally restored from high resolution film elements for the ultimate Hitchcock experience.



Vacationing in northern California, Alfred Hitchcock was struck by a story in a Santa Cruz newspaper: "Seabird Invasion Hits Coastal Homes." From this peculiar incident, and his memory of a short story by Daphne du Maurier, the master of suspense created one of his strangest and most terrifying films. The Birds follows a chic blonde, Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren), as she travels to the coastal town of Bodega Bay to hook up with a rugged fellow (Rod Taylor) she's only just met. Before long the town is attacked by marauding birds, and Hitchcock's skill at staging action is brought to the fore. Beyond the superb effects, however, The Birds is also one of Hitchcock's most psychologically complicated scenarios, a tense study of violence, loneliness, and complacency.

Excerpt from Robert Horton's review located HERE



The Film:

The story begins as an innocuous romantic triangle involving wealthy, spoiled Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren), handsome Mitch Brenner (Rod Taylor), and schoolteacher Annie Hayworth (Suzanne Pleshette). The human story begins in a San Francisco pet shop and culminates at the home of Mitch's mother (Jessica Tandy) at Bodega Bay, where the characters' sense of security is slowly eroded by the curious behavior of the birds in the area. At first, it's no more than a sea gull swooping down and pecking at Melanie's head. Things take a truly ugly turn when hundreds of birds converge on a children's party. There is never an explanation as to why the birds have run amok, but once the onslaught begins, there's virtually no letup.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

'The Birds Is Coming' the advance posters twittered ungrammatically but with justifiable excitement. With death dropping blandly out of a clear sky - its menace magnified into apocalypse from the crop-dusting scene in North by Northwest - this is Hitchcock at his best. Full of subterranean hints as to the ways in which people cage each other, it's fierce and Freudian as well as great cinematic fun, with ample fodder for the amateur psychologist following up on Hitch's tortuous involvement with his leading ladies.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

NOTE: The Birds is individually reviewed on 4K UHD HERE

The Birds always looked weak on SD - much of the visuals riddled with artifacts and the frequent soft-focus used with Tippi - especially in the first half - always looked fuzzy and ineffectual. The Blu-ray in Universal's Masterpiece Collection has improved that substantially. While the image has smoothed out the digital artifacts - it is never exceptionally tight.  This is dual-layered with a high bitrate and colors and contrast look better than they ever have for Home Theater viewing. We get the 1.85:1 aspect ratio showing a shade more information. They are scant few examples of depth. This Blu-ray does as good a job as we are likely to get and I'm thankful for the robust technical qualities of the 1080P presentation. The film has never been so scary for me as it was in this format.






1) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Universal Masterpiece Collection - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Universal (Masterpiece Collection) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM















Audio :

No surround bump here - we get a DTS-HD Master in 2.0 channels at 1785 kbps. The unified 'bird' squawks and caws have plenty of depth sounding very chilling in lossless. Much of the film is memorable for the minimal use of sound... until the attacks come. I was impressed with the power - there are optional subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE.


Extras :

The Blu-ray carries over all the extras from the last 2-disc Legacy DVD including the Deleted Scene, Original Ending, the extensive 1 1/4 hour All About The Birds piece (still in 480i) etc. we also get a Blu-ray Exclusive; The Birds: Hitchcock’s Monster Movie is 15-minutes with comparisons to the Universal Dracula, Frankenstein, The Wolf Man etc. genre of earlier films or more aptly as a 'creature-feature' like Jaws. It has input from David Skal and many others. There are also two of the 100 Years of Universal videos and the disc is My Scenes capable.



When ever I watch The Birds I feel like I am viewing a director in total command of his artistry. The Burks' cinematography and Tomasini editing create one of the most unique cinema experiences fusing with The Master's narrative which creates more holes than filling them. We are talking a pure masterpiece. The Universal Blu-ray does the very best it can with the production elements and with a 'murder' of supplements - this becomes a must-own for any digital library. 

Gary Tooze

October 19th, 2012





Available individually on May 6th, 2014:




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