“There’s a lot of spare time in Bodega Bay.”

21 09 2012

It’s true what they say. “You always remember your first.”

My mother would have been 13 when Alfred Hitchcock’s cinematic masterpiece, The Birds, was released in 1963. I imagine I was around the same age, if not a year or two shy of that, when she first introduced me to the film. Even though I was a rather offbeat child, my mother knew what films would interest me and which ones I would return to our neighborhood library unwatched.

The movie quickly became one of my favorites and found its way home with me from the library on numerous occasions. Even if I tried, I couldn’t tell you the circumstances surrounding the first time I would see Psycho, Rear Window, or even Vertigo. However, my earliest memories of seeing the denizens of Bodega Bay get pecked apart by seagulls and crows are as vivid as ever.

It was either my second semester or sophomore year at Buffalo State College when I met Dr. Geraldine Bard. She was my professor for “History of Cinema II” and subsequently “Literature & Film.” Her love and knowledge for all things related to Hitchcock knew no bounds and most of her curriculum was heavily devoted to analyzing his films and looking at the connections between the movies and the original works of literature in which many were based. I remember how her eyes would always light up with excitement as she would address the class and divulge the hidden symbolism and metaphors that were so delicately placed into each scene.

It was thanks to Dr. Bard’s passion for Hitchcock that would allow me to view hiw work from a whole new perspective. A superficial layer had been peeled back from his films and I was able to, for the first time, see them as actual works of art.

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012. Turner Classic Movies screened a restored print of The Birds for one night only at a local movie theater. This would be the first time I would see it on the big screen. It was fitting that my first Hitchcock film in an actual movie theater would be the first Hitchcock film I had ever seen… rented from the neighborhood library on VHS… way back when I was 13, if not a year or two shy of that. Of course, I excitedly called my mother from the lobby of the theater.