Cinema: Apr. 12, 1963

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The Birds. Hitchcock-a-doodle-doo in the form of a fatuous plot makes for a slow start, but when the birds finally get a chance to do their stuff the feathers fly as hordes of gulls, finches and crows go to war against humanity.

The Courtship of Eddie's Father. A whole new era of Hollywood kiddy stars may be launched by irresistibly talented Ronny Howard, 9. He does a pro job at finding a mate for Daddy Glenn Ford. Shirley Jones, Dina Merrill and Stella Stevens are the applicants.

The Balcony. Part burlesque, part Black Mass, Jean Genet's shocker argues that the world is a vast brothel run by an allegorical madam who panders illusions to her customers in return for the surrender of their masculinity. Shelley Winters is the madam.

Mondo Cane. In this documentary of depravity, the world has gone to the dogs and the cards are stacked against human decency, all leading to the conclusion that people are no damn good.

The Playboy of the Western World. Torrents of gorgeous Irish talk, miles of fine Irish scenery, and some splendid acting almost offset the main flaw in this film version of Synge's play: Siobhan McKenna should not still be playing colleens.

How the West Was Won. Cinerama turns from picture postcards to epic storytelling as sodbusters, Indians, outlaws, good guys, and a thousand thundering buffaloes go West in a big way.

The Wrong Arm of the Law. Sneaky Pete Sellers as a raffish Raffles heads a gang of candid-camera jewel robbers.

To Kill a Mockingbird. Harper Lee's Pulitzer Prize novel comes off even better on the screen than on the page. Gregory Peck is wise and warm, and three children —Mary Badham, Phillip Alford and John Megna—are so convincingly rambunctious that they hardly seem to be acting at all.

Love and Larceny. Vittorio Gassman masquerades his way through one of the funniest Italian farces of the season.


Wednesday, April 10

In the Mouth of the Wolf (CBS, 7:30-8:30 p.m.).º A special documentary on grand opera in Parma, Italy, featuring the season's opener, Verdi's Luisa Miller.

Encyclopedia of Communism (NBC, 7:30-9 p.m.). The last in a series of four programs on the ideology and practice of Communism, with Chet Huntley.

Thursday, April 11

Premiere (ABC, 10-11 p.m.). A Bronx delicatessen owner (Howard Morris) searches for his long-lost joker of a brother (Louis Nye) in "This Will Kill You."

Friday, April 12

The Alfred Hitchcock Hour (CBS, 9:30-10:30 p.m.). An embittered wine baron (Gilbert Roland) challenges his disowned son to a drinking bout, while his secretary-fiancee (Laraine Day) stands by.

Jack Paar (NBC, 10-11 p.m.). More home movies, this time of Jack's trip through the Holy Land, plus Guest Stars Mahalia Jackson and Jim Bishop. Color.

Saturday, April 13

Exploring (NBC, 12:30-1:30 p.m.). A reading of Rumplestiltiltskin by Peter Ustinov and a performance with hoops by the Finnish Girls Gymnastic Team. Color.

The Defenders (CBS, 8:30-9:30 p.m.). "The Colossus" stars Leo Genn as a Nobel-prizewinning scientist charged with the murder of his wife.

Sunday, April 14

Directions '63 (ABC, 2-3 p.m.). "The Passion and Resurrection," Part 4 of Franz Liszt's oratorio, Christus.

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