Bird With The Crystal Plumage, The / L'uccello dalle piume di cristallo (1970)

4.5 out of 5

American writer Sam Dalmas, Tony Musante, witnesses a failed murder attempt inside an art gallery when he becomes trapped between two large glass doors. The police believe the attacker to be the same person responsible for a recent series of murders in Rome. Dalmas assists in the investigation, troubled by the idea that he may have unknowingly witnessed an important clue, as the killer begins to target both him and girlfriend Suzy Kendall.

Dario Argento’s directorial debut is an extremely impressive and suspenseful giallo which influenced more than a few genre films made in its wake. Many elements from this film would reappear in later Argento works, such as the importance of memory in decoding clues, the foreign protagonist who is forced into the role of amateur detective, dangerous artwork, subjective point of view shots, violent set pieces, and a black-gloved killer wearing a dark raincoat.

With a haunting and unnerving score by Ennio Morricone, stylish cinematography by Vittorio Storaro, and excellent performances by Musante and Kendall, Bird is an effective thriller which is essential viewing for Argento fans as well as those who are fond of the giallo.

Maurizio Merli header graphic courtesy of Paddy O'Neill of Foxyfide Graphics