- article: The Savage Audience: Looking at Hitchcock's The Birds
- author(s): Leslie H. Abramson
- journal: Film & History (2011)
- issue: volume 41, issue 2, pages 19-28
- journal ISSN: 0360-3695
- publisher: Center for the Study of Film and History
- keywords: "A Hitchcock Reader" - edited by Marshall Deutelbaum and Leland A Poague, "The Cinema of Alfred Hitchcock" - by Peter Bogdanovich, "The Dark Side of Genius: The Life of Alfred Hitchcock" - by Donald Spoto, Alfred Hitchcock, Assaults, Bodega Bay, California, Camille Paglia, Charles Barr, Donald Spoto, Evan Hunter, François Truffaut, Laura Mulvey, Leland Poague, Marshall Deutelbaum, Motion pictures, New York City, New York, Peter Bogdanovich, Psycho (1960), Raymond Bellour, Rear Window (1954), San Francisco, California, Slavoj Žižek, Strangers on a Train (1951), Susan Lurie, The 39 Steps (1935), The Birds (1963), The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog (1927), The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934), The Ring (1927), Tom Gunning, Vertigo (1958)
- Most sources indicate that the author later redacted this paper.
Hearkening to the allure of what Tom Gunning has termed "the cinema of attractions" - exhibitionist early films that addressed extra-diegetic beholders who, watching in the context of variety shows, actively responded to the ocular stimulations - diegetic audiences in Hitchcock's films behave in a similar way, responding to spectacle with animated association. The onscreen mass audience constantly oversteps the traditional boundaries between spectator and spectacle, heckling the performer, swarming the object of display, halting exhibition altogether as it rushes out of the theater during midperformance, and usurping the position of object of the gaze. According to The Birds, the motivations of this magnetized legion are impenetrable; they elude rationalization and regulation.