Study Guide

The Birds Scene 18

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Scene 18

Scene 18

  • Later in the night—the fire is still going. Mitch is passed out in a chair.
  • Melanie is still awake and seems to hear a fluttering of wings.
  • She doesn't want to wake Mitch so she decides to investigate herself, taking the flashlight.
  • You've seen horror movies, right? You know this is a bad idea.
  • Melanie must not have seen Psycho. Come on, lady. Don't go investigating on your own. Nothing good will come of that.
  • She ignores Shmoop's warnings, and off she goes.
  • She checks the kitchen, where the lovebirds are still in the cage.
  • Then, she heads for the stairs.
  • Up, up, up she goes, right to her doom.
  • She hears fluttering behind a door.
  • She opens it very, very slowly.
  • She looks up and sees a hole in the roof. The birds are perched on furniture in the room.
  • She shines her light, and they attack her.
  • She gasps and thrashes but can't get the door behind her open.
  • More gasping and thrashing.
  • More gasping and thrashing.
  • It goes on for awhile, the gasping and thrashing, with Melanie getting more and more bloodied.
  • "Oh, Mitch," she moans, which seems weirdly sexual.
  • She sinks to the ground, blocking the door.
  • Mitch and Lydia finally show up, and Mitch manages to drag her out of the room.
  • Lydia goes for bandages; Cathy brings brandy.
  • Melanie wakes up and thrashes hysterically.
  • She's catatonic with shock.
  • Mitch wants to get her to the hospital in San Francisco. Lydia doesn't think they can make it.
  • Mitch says they have to do it.
  • Mitch decides to go outside and try to get Melanie's car.
  • Mitch goes outside … and this is only the second time in the film that you move away from Melanie's perspective.
  • Outside, the ground is covered in birds, birds, birds. Also, birds.
  • Mitch walks slowly across the yard, with the birds everywhere.
  • One pecks him when he gets his hand too close (it was the anchovies), but otherwise, they mostly avoid him.
  • They just sit there and watch him.
  • Mitch gets to the car and turns on the radio.
  • He hears the announcer say the bird attacks have stopped and that there have been a few attacks outside of Bodega Bay.
  • Most of Bodega Bay has been evacuated, and there's been talk of sending in the military.
  • Mitch drives the car out slowly, slowly, and you get lots of shots of gulls milling about on the ground. They look like such ordinary gulls.
  • Mitch goes to the house, and he and Lydia help a still-unresponsive Melanie to the car.
  • Melanie takes a look at the birds and says, "No … no!" And who can blame her?
  • She's still wearing that fancy fur coat. But, she's not so smug or sophisticated now, is she? The birds made sure of that.
  • Heavy symbolism: all of her wealth and uptown elegance couldn't protect her.
  • Mitch goes back to help Cathy, who brings the lovebirds with her.
  • Melanie nestles against Lydia in the car.
  • The last shot is from the yard with all of the birds—zillions of them—watching as the car slowly drives away into the distance.

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