Yesterday evening we watched Hitchcock’s The Birds, an intriguing work of art. I wanted to know more, particularly about the abrupt ending, so I surfed on the internet and came across a wonderful monograph, ‘The Day of the Claw: A Synoptic Account of Hitchcock’s The Birds’, by an Australian expert on Hitchcock, Ken Mogg. What Mogg very cleverly demonstrates is that Hitchcock’s and Evan Hunter’s screen play was not only, as acknowledged in the credits, based on Daphne Du Maurier’s 1952 short story of the same name, but its inspiration was also drawn, consciously or unconsciously, directly or indirectly, from a series of works of fiction including: The Food of the Gods (1904), by H.G. Wells; The Terror (1917), by Arthur Machen; Our Feathered Friends (1931), by Philip Macdonald; Le Hussard sur le toit (1951), by Jean Giono; The Mind Thing (1961), by Frederic Brown; and, most strikingly of all, The Birds (1936), by Frank Baker. But Mogg is not interested in implying plagiarism but, rather, in demonstrating the underlying philosophical and cultural influences which these works all shared to a lesser or greater extent and also in highlighting the very deliberate and considered genius of Hitchcock. The director once famously declared that film critics who ignored ‘pure cinema’ and concerned themselves only with the content of his films were like a gallery visitor who wonders whether Paul Cézanne’s apples are sweet or sour. Mogg’s monograph, an unexpected and delightful diversion, demonstrates why Hitchcock is considered a genius by his own kind.