Some years before the general public witnessed the stunning and surreal SUSPIRIA, first time director and screen writer Dario Argento reinvigorated the Giallo genre with The Bird with the Crystal Plumage. A taught little slasher mixed in with the witness turned detective thread.
After his success in co-writing the screenplay for Once upon a time in the west with Bernardo Bertolucci for Sergio Leone, Argento turned to his producer father Salvator to finance his first film, based on the Fredric Brown novel, The screaming Mimi.
Here we find Argento establish many of the visual tropes we've come to love from him.
Deep reds (pun intended), black gloves and the faceless killer slashing its way through a number of gorgeous women.
Tony Musante plays Sam, a writer in Rome who witnesses the brutal attack of a young woman in an art gallery. Is this the work of a known serial killer? Once his statement is taken he is forced to stay in town and is under suspicion for the crime. The police cannot find sufficient evidence to find the killer and now it is now up to Sam to clear his name and obtain his passport to ensure his freedom and the survival of himself and his girlfriend.
Suzy Kendall (Circus of Fear) plays Julia, his lover who inevitably becomes entwined in the mystery. While her role is limited to potential victim, she has one scene that truly pushes a young actresses limits.
Reggie Nalder fans look no further. His name is buried deep in this one, but if you enjoyed him in Mark of the devil, he's here in all his creepy goodness. I was so happy to see his burnt visage in this film. A real treat!
I loved the mystery unfolding here in this film. Character motive is always in question and it takes you right to the end to find the killer unmasked.
Now, let's say that Argento's father wasn't an established film producer. Would he have had a much harder time getting the film made? Maybe. But does it bare any effect on his writing and directing ably? NO! He leaps out of the gate and really gives the film a stylistic flare and runs with it. His finger prints burn into this film, and he also doubled as the killers hands! So there you go! An Ennio Morricone score certainly helps as well! It's gripping and adds much to the suspense.
On the Blu Ray:
Cinema Cult bring us bird in an aspect ratio 2.00:1; or so we think it is. The back of the box just states 16:9. Its a very strong transfer and we noticed more information on top than the US VCI Blu.
We are not entirely sure what the original aspect ratio is regardless; it maintains rich colours and deep black levels. This appears to be the same transfer used by Arrow films in the UK.
Seeing how the US (blue underground) and UK (Arrow disc) are OOP and going for crazy prices; Cinema Cult save us once again bringing us it locally at a insanely good price.