Sunday, October 3, 2021

#2,626. The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970)

 




Dario Argento’s directorial debut, The Bird with the Crystal Plumage was a box-office hit, and set the standard by which all future Giallos would be measured.

Sam Dalmas (Tony Musante), an American writer living in Rome, witnesses the attempted murder of Monica Ranieri (Eva Renzi), wife of a well-known art dealer (Umberto Raho). Because this assault bears some similarities to a string of recent killings, police inspector Morosini (Enrico Maria Salerno) questions Dalmas, whose memory of the event proves unreliable.

Yet Dalmas remains haunted by what he saw, and believes he holds the key to solving these horrific crimes, even if his continued involvement in the investigation means putting both his life and that of his British girlfriend Julia (Suzy Kendall) in the greatest of danger.

Along with featuring many of the tropes that helped define the Giallo (the killer wearing black gloves, erotic subtext, bloody kill scenes, etc), The Bird with the Crystal Plumage is an incredibly stylish film; Argento wasn’t afraid to shoot in the dark (the nighttime chase scene, set in a bus depot, is intensely exciting), and there’s one shot towards the end of the movie - a fall out of a window - that’s flawlessly executed.

The Bird with the Crystal Plumage may not be the first Giallo ever made (Bava’s Blood and Black Lace predates it by six years), but is, without question, one of the best.
Rating: 10 out of 10






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