Hosted by Jay @ Bibliophilopolis
“The Birds” by Daphne du Maurier
Card picked: An Ace
Thoughts: It’s funny how bent out of shape readers sometimes get about book-to-movie adaptations. Fidelity to the source material is usually the sticking point, but I wonder if it’s only at the extreme ends of the faithfulness spectrum that readers are happy. On one end is an adaptation that is extremely faithful. The characters, the setting, the plot are all what the reader knows. In the middle, there are adaptations that fall short. Maybe a character was added, or a new subplot was introduced. Maybe the actors don’t look like they should. These deviations usually leave readers hating the film. On the other end, there are adaptations like The Birds.
The Alfred Hitchcock directed film is based on a short story by Daphne du Maurier, but it’s really only based on the underlying concept of the story by du Maurier. In both, for reasons unknown, birds en masse begin viciously attacking people. The film is set up the coast from San Francisco in the early 60s. It veers close to being a romantic comedy with Tippi Hedren as a free living socialite and Rod Taylor as a handsome home-body lawyer. But then, the birds attack and the whole thing becomes a tense, well-made catastrophe survival film.
Du Maurier’s story takes place in Cornwall. The main character is Nat, a veteran of WWII. Due to war-time disability he has a pension and works on a farm half-time though he does seem able-bodied. On the third of December, the weather turns and the birds start acting strangely. With air raid experience (even at publication date, the end of WWII wasn’t even a decade in the past), Nat knows what to do to keep his family safe. The frigid east wind is given as the explanation as to why the birds have gone against their nature. That might have been as good of an explanation as anything for the inexplicable horrors that Europe had recently endured.
Which is better? It’s like apples and tomatoes. Both are fruits. Both are delicious. But maybe we like them both because they *are* different rather than because they are similar