The Bird with the Crystal Plumage
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In 1970, young first-time director Dario Argento (Deep Red, Suspiria) made his indelible mark on Italian cinema with The Bird with the Crystal Plumage a film which redefined the 'giallo' genre of murder-mystery thrillers and catapulted him to international stardom.
Sam Dalmas (Tony Musante, We Own the Night), an American writer living in Rome, inadvertently witnesses a brutal attack on a woman (Eva Renzi, Funeral in Berlin) in a modern art gallery. Powerless to help, he grows increasingly obsessed with the incident. Convinced that something he saw that night holds the key to identifying the maniac terrorizing Rome, he launches his own investigation parallel to that of the police, heedless of the danger to both himself and his girlfriend Giulia (Suzy Kendall, Spasmo)...
A staggeringly assured debut, The Bird with the Crystal Plumage establishes the key traits that would define Argento's filmography, including lavish visuals and a flare for wildly inventive, brutal scenes of violence. With sumptuous cinematography by Vittorio Storaro (Apocalypse Now) and a seductive score by legendary composer Ennio Morricone (Once Upon a Time in the West), this landmark film has never looked or sounded better in this new, 4K-restored edition from Arrow Video!
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Watching it again for the first time after all these years, I realized how good it is. Dario Argento just gets under your skin with his weird childlike music and women always moaning. For the first stabbing in the art gallery, listen to how the stabbed woman just keeps moaning. You can't really hear her say "Help!" just moaning. Disturbing!
It's kind of a mystery as to what is going on. Who is the murderer in the black raincoat and black leather gloves? By the end of the film you will know the answer. It's wild to think that this film was 10 years after "Psycho" was released in 1960. This film owes a lot to "Psycho" I especially loved the first scene of the movie where the unknown killer is admiring his knife collection. Just chilling!
And the scene of the murderer cutting a hole through a wood door to get at his current female victim is also terrifying!
And, oh, that disturbing painting that the murderer has apparently purchased for his collection is really nasty picturing a man attacking a woman with a knife in a snowy field! Really sick painting, I can't get it out of my head...
Anyway, you will enjoy this - one of the first slasher films right after "Psycho."