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dombrewer's avatar


Even though this was Dario Argento's debut feature it is remarkably well made; extremely confident, bursting with cinematic flair and bags of atmosphere in what was to become his trademark style, for good and for bad. Like the later "Deep Red" and "Suspiria" he is scores highly on the visuals and atmosphere - several scenes are beautifully shot and cleverly conceived - for example the opening attack inside a white art gallery, the protagonist trapped between two huge glass walls able to watch but unable to help or hear the screams of the injured woman - but low on basic plot logic, a competent script and character motivation, and it is full of the violent misogyny rife in the Giallo genre Argento exemplified. He is more interested in the way a razor would realistically cut the skin of a woman being murdered than what any sane person or basically functioning police department would do if investigating a serial killer. To criticise Argento for realism or logic is a little silly for exactly that reason, as a master of style it really doesn't matter why the police allow and encourage a civilian to pursue an independent investigation when he is directly involved, or why he repeatedly puts his and his girlfriend's lives at risk when directly threatened.
The final twist is nothing extraordinary by today's standards, even predictable, where a thriller needing a twist has now become the norm it's not hard to find one. It also falls apart under too much scrutiny, but again, Argento probably wasn't too bothered about that - as an exercise in style and pure cinema Argento was undoubtedly firing on all cylinders right from the start.
11 years 4 months ago
thestuman101694's avatar


"Go to Italy. It's a peaceful country. Nothing ever happens there."
12 years 5 months ago
Bolero Tenebris's avatar

Bolero Tenebris

For some reason i wasn't interested to watch Argento's debut up to recently. First i have to say that some people's attitude towards these dream-like and surrealistic films is wrong.
It's not right to call them dumb, illogical... since they are not meant to be realistic, but multi-layered puzzle that is cross between Hitchcock & Buñuel.

This film is a decent example of stylish mystery, however it is a bit of an unfocused mess towards the end. It's not too original, but Argento is an A-class filmmaker compared to amateur Fulci.
Oh, and i see where Carpenter got inspiration... for example: when Michael Myers is stalking Jamie Lee Curtis - some shot compositions are pretty much the same.
5 years 6 months ago
NevertrustGoogle's avatar


Good debut, but suffers from being illogical at times, and the plot reveal at the end was unsatisfying and perhaps stupid.
3 years 6 months ago
BarbieLover's avatar


Tony Musante you always be famous!
10 months 1 week ago
panagos's avatar


One or two questions... Why the husband of the woman in the gallery first scene wore the killer's pattern outfit? What was the connection of the hired (?) killers who chased the author with the killer? What were the two policemen who guarded the couple doing the multiple of times the author got away and his woman got attacked in her home? What a nonsensical farce of a movie...
1 year 2 months ago
Siskoid's avatar


Dario Argento's first feature, The Bird with the Crystal Plumage, is a weird and wild thriller that could and should get a mention when tracking the history of the slasher genre. Black Christmas and Halloween are no doubt indebted to this earlier film, and I see its influences right through to Scream and beyond. The story is more than a little convoluted and requires a Silver Age comic explanation at the end (more or less), but it's not really about that with Argento. His interest is in disturbing image-making. Who then can forget the image of a man trapped in a glass box, forced to watch an attempted murder in an art gallery? Murder as art is certainly part of the shtick, and one wonders of Argento is simply mirroring his audience's position - trapped in a box, watching awful lurid things happen. Similarly, while it's absurd that the police would practically deputize a witness to help them solve the murder, the audience are also, in spite of itself, trying to solve the mystery. It's what we do as active viewers. His camera work is positively visceral, frequently giving us immediate points of view, unusual for 1970 and not all that common today either. The best example: A man jumps from a window, and we see it through is eyes as if it were us. So if there's something harrowing about The Bird with the Crystal Plumage, it's that immediacy - we're in the room with a killer.
3 years 3 months ago
MMDan's avatar


Part 1:
8 years 7 months ago
mook's avatar


The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970).
Dario Argento's debut film is a stylish giallo but it fails to build much of an atmosphere. 6/10.

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11 years 8 months ago
nicolaskrizan's avatar


style over substance – in my book

9 years 5 months ago
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