The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (15) | Home Ents Review

Dir. Dario Argento, Italy, 1970, 98 mins

Cast: Tony Musante, Suzy Kendall, Enrico Maria Salerno

Review by Colin Dibben

Dario Argento’s directorial debut is out in a brand new 4K restoration. It doesn’t luxuriate in violence like some of the later films but it’s still stylish as hell.

 

Sam (Musante) is an American in Rome. Walking around late one night he sees the highly lit, large window of an art gallery. Inside a woman is being stabbed. Her attacker flees when he sees Sam. The police think the attack is related to a series of murders that have been taking place. Sam decides to do a little bit of sleuthing on his own – unaware that he’s putting himself, his girlfriend and his friends in danger.

A very assured debut, The Bird with the Crystal Plumage already establishes the key traits of Argento’s style: the curious innocent hero and the fetishized killer in shiny black raincoat; visuals that are either very lavish or high-modernist minimalist; a mix of horror, police procedural and graphic novel motifs; brutal scenes of violence that use closeups and cuts to great effect; scenes of stalking that use the killer’s perspective in a disturbing way.

There’s sumptuous cinematography by Vittorio Storaro and a breathless score by legendary composer Ennio Morricone.

This limited edition includes:

  • Brand new 4K restoration of the film from the camera negative in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio, produced by Arrow Video exclusively for this release

  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations

  • Original mono Italian and English soundtracks

  • English subtitles for the Italian soundtrack

  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtrack

  • New audio commentary by Troy Howarth, author of So Deadly, So Perverse: 50 Years of Italian Giallo Films

  • The Power of Perception, a new visual essay on the cinema of Dario Argento by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas, author of Devil’s Advocates: Suspiria and Rape-Revenge Films: A Critical Study

  • New analysis of the film by critic Kat Ellinger

  • New interview with writer/director Dario Argento

  • New interview with actor Gildo Di Marco (Garullo the pimp)

  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Candice Tripp

  • Limited edition 60-page booklet illustrated by Matthew Griffin, featuring an appreciation of the film by Michael Mackenzie, and new writing by Howard Hughes and Jack Seabrook

The Bird with the Crystal Plumage is out on DVD and Blu-ray on 19 June 2017.

Colin Dibben

Author: Colin Dibben

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