The Birds by Daphne Du Maurier is my all time favourite story of hers.
This brilliant novella was made into an equally brilliant film by Alfred Hitchcock in 1962. However, the original 1952 Du Maurier story was quite different to the Hitchcock movie in many ways.
For example, in the novella, the location is Du Maurier’s native Cornwall, whereas in the movie it’s California. Also, the characters in the story are quite different to those in the movie, for in the former the main protagonists are a farmhand and his family, the Hockens, whereas in the latter the main characters are a lawyer called Mitch (Rod Taylor) and a pretty blonde media heiress named Melanie (Tippi Hedren).
Also, the opening scene in the movie is a pet shop, whereas in the novella it’s an introduction to the farmhand’s observations of the sudden strange behaviour of our feathered friends – or, under the circumstances, should that be “fiends”?
All these differences aside, the general premise – birds of all species suddenly banding together, for some unfathomable reason, like lethal kamikaze pilots and swooping down ferociously on helpless humans in their hundreds – is basically the same for both novella and movie. And both certainly mirror each other in the excellent job they do in terrifying the living delights out of both reader and viewer! After reading the novella and watching the movie, it certainly goes without saying that many people have never looked at birds in quite the same way again!
The Birds was first published in Daphne Du Maurier’s collection The Apple Tree: A Short Novel and Some Stories in 1952. In 1963, the same year that Hitchcock’s movie The Birds was released, the book was reprinted under the title The Birds and Other Stories by Daphne Du Maurier.
You can buy both the book and the movie of The Birds by clicking on the image links below.