Something for the Birds

Overview

Something for the Birds is a toothless satire of Washington, filmed during the McCarthy era. For lack of a political target that wouldn't get them labeled as Communists, the producers decided to go after lobbyists. Patricia Neal comes to Washington on behalf of the preservation of the California Condor; she finds herself the object of ridicule for almost everyone, including leading man Victor Mature, a lobbyist for the oil interests who threatens a large bird sanctuary. Edmund Gwenn is one of the few ...
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Overview

Something for the Birds is a toothless satire of Washington, filmed during the McCarthy era. For lack of a political target that wouldn't get them labeled as Communists, the producers decided to go after lobbyists. Patricia Neal comes to Washington on behalf of the preservation of the California Condor; she finds herself the object of ridicule for almost everyone, including leading man Victor Mature, a lobbyist for the oil interests who threatens a large bird sanctuary. Edmund Gwenn is one of the few Washingtonians willing to financially back Neal's cause; unfortunately he turns out to be a charlatan with nary a nickel to his name. Eventually Mature is made to realize that the plight of the Condor is worthy worrying about, and he is able to dissuade the agreeable oil executives from drilling on the bird's territory.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Political satire that's afraid to attack politics is rather pointless, and this fact does some damage to Something for the Birds. Targeting lobbyists is not necessarily a bad idea, and may even have greater ramifications for modern audiences, but Birds would have made a better film had it been made with greater courage and with a sharp pen that wasn't afraid to draw a little blood. Still, even with this drawback, there are a number of things in Birds that work well, including that part of the story that deals with Edmund Gwenn. Indeed, Gwenn is the best thing in the film, engaging and amusing and always doing some little something that grabs the viewer's attention. Less successful is Patricia Neal, whose performance is technically fine and often inventive, but which suffers from the fact that she's slightly miscast. As written, the character has to be a bit dim not to see what is going on around her, and Neal is simply too intelligent for the audience to totally buy into this. Victor Mature is fine, if nothing more, as the oil lobbyist with whom she becomes involved; a bit more sparkle and fire would have been nice, but he's certainly competent in the part. The dialogue is a bit uneven but occasionally strikes some very good moments, and there's a double entendre about a gun that's rather amusing in context. Something for the Birds never takes off and soars the way it should, but it's moderately entertaining.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 2/26/2013
  • UPC: 024543873945
  • Original Release: 1952
  • Rating:

  • Source: Fox Mod
  • Time: 1:20:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 69,640

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Victor Mature Steve Bennett
Patricia Neal Anne Richards
Edmund Gwenn Johnnie Adams
Larry Keating Patterson
Gladys Hurlbut Mrs. Rice
Hugh Sanders Grady
Christian Rub Leo
Wilton Graff Taylor
Walter S. Baldwin Bigelow
Archer MacDonald Lemmer
Richard Garrick Chandler
Ian Wolfe Foster
John Brown Mr. Lund
Camillo Guercio Duncan
Joan Miller Mac
Madge Blake Mrs. Chadwick
Norman Field Judge
Gordon Nelson O'Malley
Emmett Vogan Beecham
John Ayres Congressman Walker
Charles Watts Jessup
Rodney Bell Announcer
Norma Varden Congresswoman Bates
Leo Curley Congressman Macy
John Maxwell Congressman Craig
Edmund Cobb Reporter
Elizabeth Flournoy Receptionist
Russell Gaige Winthrop
Bob Livingston General
Louise Lorimer Mrs. Winthrop
Herbert Lytton Captain
Sam McDaniel
Paul Power Court Clerk
Joan Shawlee Woman in Station
Fred Datig Jr. Bellhop
Technical Credits
Robert Wise Director
I.A.L. Diamond Screenwriter
Samuel G. Engel Producer
Hugh S. Fowler Editor
Boris Ingster Screenwriter
Alvin Josephy Jr. Original Story
Sol Kaplan Score Composer
Joseph La Shelle Cinematographer
Thomas K. Little Set Decoration/Design
Bruce MacDonald Set Decoration/Design
Lionel Newman Musical Direction/Supervision
George Patrick Art Director
Joseph Petracca Original Story
Lyle Wheeler Art Director
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