IT WAS THE CHARACTER OF MELANIE DANIELS that began Tippi Hedren's legacy as a coolly elegant Hitchcock girl, spurring her career with recognition as "Most Promising Newcomer" at the 1964 Golden Globes. It was also the character of Melanie Daniels whom Tippi had named her daughter after; Melanie Griffith, who, like mom, is a Golden Globe winner herself. Kudos to mother and daughter!
At once polished and prankish in nature, Melanie Daniels' kitten heels, pencil skirts, chignons and powdered eyelids seem to cue demureness, countered quickly by a penchant for playing coy, playing tricks, driving cars, driving boats and driving small towns crazy with her impulsiveness and notoriety.
To this unconventional young socialite, Tippi Hedren lends her exquisite looks and charm, completing the Melanie Daniels persona as a rare, free creature of beauty; one that becomes an instant darling to the film's sole male and instant prey to the women of Bodega Bay.
From her love interest's mother, to his ex-lover, to a random female customer at Bodega Bay's local restaurant, Melanie ruffles feathers, resulting in a less-than-welcome stay. Of course, there's the actual bird attacks too.
Why girls flock together and peck at other girls is a mystery. You don't see men do it, heading for the powder room in pairs to diss someone's new boyfriend. Or tweet-chatting in code about a guy being too much of a flirt. It's a girl thing I guess. We don't immediately like a girl who doesn't belong.
Tippi Hedren good looks or not, every girl's got a Melanie Daniels in her. Do you cage her in fear of attack? Or do you brave the pecking and fly solo? Mrs. Bundy, Bodega Bay's resident ornithologist, suggests an alternative to dissing and division. It may just be an excellent suggestion.
"I have never known birds of different species to flock together. The very concept is unimaginable. Why, if that happened, we wouldn't stand a chance! How could we possibly hope to fight them?" -Mrs. Bundy, elderly ornithologist
Tippi Hedren in The Birds, 1963. Directed by Alfred Hitchcock.