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Hitchcock and the Censors$
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John Billheimer

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780813177427

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813177427.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM KENTUCKY SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.kentucky.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright The University Press of Kentucky, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in KSO for personal use.date: 26 February 2021

The Birds (1963)

The Birds (1963)

(p.244) 33 The Birds (1963)
Hitchcock and the Censors

John Billheimer

University Press of Kentucky

The Production Code Administration insisted that Hitchcock submit to the oversight of the American Humane Association during the filming of The Birds, and the Humane Association had a greater impact on the finished film than the Code itself. Humane Association representatives were on location for all scenes involving birds, and an aviary was set up to treat any that were injured. Concern for the birds’ welfare often dictated shooting schedules, which were sometimes halted when the Humane Association representatives felt the birds were too tired to continue. The production company also had to obtain a special permit to catch and train seagulls, a protected species. For its part, the Production Code Administration found the basic story acceptable, but cautioned against presenting the Tippi Hedren character in a bra and skirt, preferring a bra and full slip, and warned against excessive gruesomeness in the bird attacks. At least one commentator suggested it might have been better if Hitchcock and the Code office had shown less solicitude for the birds and more for the leading lady, who suffered grievously under the final avian attack and had to take a week off to recuperate.

Keywords:   Alfred Hitchcock, Tippi Hedren, American Humane Association, seagulls, Production Code Administration, bird training, The Birds

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