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The Bird With the Crystal Plumage (2-Disc Special Edition)

Tony Musante , Suzy Kendall , Dario Argento    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 71.83
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Sam Dalmas (Tony Musante) is an American reporter living in Rome who witnesses what appears to be a murder. Trapped by a glass wall, he can't intervene, but does manage to scare off the killer. Wounded, the victim survives, and Dalmas's curiosity drives him to look further into the story, but he soon finds himself and his girlfriend in jeopardy and stalked by the would-be murderer. Director Dario Argento's debut film is a remarkable work, more restrained than many of his later films. Based on an obscure l950s pulp novel, Bird draws heavily on Hitchcock, as well as on American novelists such as Dashiell Hammett and Cornell Woolrich. At the same time, its execution makes it a highly original, inventive, and fast-paced film that plays with the conventions of the thriller genre. As was often the case with Hitchcock's work, Dalmas is a spectator to the original crime, reflecting the voyeuristic role of the film audience. He's an ordinary guy who unravels the circumstances of the crime until he comes across the most unlikely scenario, a device also reminiscent of Hitchcock. The score, editing, and camera work, however, give the film a distinctly Italian stamp, and established Argento as a stylish, innovative director to watch. The scene in which Dalmas is chased through the streets by a gun-toting assassin, in particular, is a little gem of suspense. Modern-day thrillers should hope to live up to this film's intelligence, energy, and intricate plot twists. --Jerry Renshaw

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Tense, great looking fun May 19 2011
By K. Gordon TOP 50 REVIEWER
Beautifully shot by Vittorio Storaro, this is a stylish and fun Hitchcock-like thriller. (To me it feels more Hitchcock than gaillo). But I can't put this in prime Hitchcock territory, since the underlying themes are more heavy handed, and yet shallower, and less care is taken with character, acting and storytelling than by Hitchcock.

There are some terrific set pieces, and lots of tension. but also logic holes big enough to drive fleets of trucks through, and acting that ranges from lifeless to over the top, and all the performances are dubbed (even the US actors post synced their voices).

Historically important and clearly influential on many later directors and films (from DePalma to 'The Shining' to John Carpenter), I still can't quite see this as the masterpiece a number of critics make it out to be. But it is certainly great looking, tense fun, and well worth seeing.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A brillant debut!!! Dec 24 2003
I saw this movie after seeing many other films from the master of horror Dario Argento and I was a little scared about this one but surprisingly I found it very interesting for a first picture from a new director. The cold colors, the calculating plot and suspense keep you into a nail bitting tension from the start to the end. The only bad thing from the movie is probably the english traduction but this is very often from foreign motion pictures. It`s a must for the fans of Dario but also a great thriller for the others.
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5.0 out of 5 stars His first and arguably one of his best Dec 11 2003
I really couldn't tell you why I have yet to watch every film in Dario Argento's filmography. A few years ago it was easy to claim ignorance of many of this Italian director's important works because it was often so difficult to find any of them in an uncut form. Fortunately, DVD arrived on the scene and salivating film fans with dollars to spend prodded numerous companies to start churning out any movie they could get their hands on to satiate the masses. It wasn't too long before practically every Argento film arrived on store shelves, with many of these releases being the uncut, unrated editions. Even Troma, the flagship of flaccid filmmaking, released a so-so version of Argento's "The Stendhal Syndrome." People outside of the world of Italian horror cinema have most likely never heard of Dario Argento, unfortunately. These days, more people are familiar with the director's beautiful daughter Asia than with the horror maestro himself. What a shame. Argento's films, at least the ones I have seen, are masterpieces of style injected with truly cringe inducing gore. And to think it all started in earnest with this engaging Hitchcockian thriller, "The Bird With the Crystal Plumage." Argento and his fans never looked back, but this is an apt starting point for those unfamiliar with this director's work.
An American reporter staying in Rome witnesses a truly shattering event one evening when he sees a gruesome assault takes place inside of an art gallery. Barred from interfering with the proceedings due to huge sliding glass doors, Sam Dalmas can only look on with horror as two figures, one clad entirely in black and the other a woman, struggle with each other over a very shiny knife.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Where it all began... Oct. 19 2002
Work number one by Dario Argento, this movie is also referred to as the original matrix to the Italian Giallo Movies. Check out the reason why. Excellent plot, good acting, sensational atmosphere, black gloves, hats and raincoats, knives, razors, screaming good-looking girls, sex traumas, violence, gore, and that flash, burnt in the protagonist's memory, which is the key to the solution (and what a solution!) to the entire plot. This is enough to recommend you the purchase of a DVD which, unfortunately, is quite disappointing. The video format is partly disturbed, the audio is unbelievably in mono and no extras are available rather than the theatrical trailer and (good choice) the original soundtrack by Ennio Morricone. But we're talking about a masterpiece, and I suggest this purchase anyway.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Buon giorno, Mr. Hitchcock. Oct. 16 2002
By A Customer
*The Bird with the Crystal Plumage* is cult-fave Dario Argento's first movie. Horror fans have complained that *Bird* is too tame for their bloody taste; that it's for "completists" only. (Meaning, Argento fans should have it only to complete their collection, and others need not bother.) They're right, in a sense: we certainly don't swim through rivers of blood and gobbets of gore as we will later in Argento's *Deep Red* and *Suspiria*. This 1969 film explicitly tips its hat to *Psycho* -- and the Hitchcock oeuvre, generally -- without straying too far beyond the parameters of graphic violence that had been set by the earlier film. Hitchcock devotees will be familiar with the type of protagonist presented here: an American in Rome who becomes a witness to a murder, finds himself under a cloud of suspicion, is hunted by the real killer, starts an investigation of his own . . . you know the drill. (Tony Musante's inept performance is good for some chuckles. Though to be fair, he's Olivier compared to the amateurs Argento tends to cast in his films.) In any case, there's more to any movie than just blood & guts, all you horror fans out there. This movie has about 6 or 7 set-pieces -- Musante witnessing the crime while trapped within glass partitions like a bug in a jar; a chase through a graveyard for Rome's public buses; our hero getting literally pressed down by a collapsed sculpture that has spikes; the surprising revelations at the end; and especially the cloaked killer's attempt to carve a hole through a door using his murderous knife, in order to get at the hero's girlfriend -- ALL of which are worthy of the deepest admiration.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good for a 33 year old movie
I gave this 3 stars; I would have given it 3.5 if that were possible. I watched the VCI Home Video "uncut widescreen presentation" on DVD; I don't know if that's the same version... Read more
Published on Sept. 7 2002 by David F. Nolan
4.0 out of 5 stars A Great Debut From A Great Director!
I am a big fan of Dario Argento's films, and "Bird" is rather different from his later works, but it still packs quite a punch. Read more
Published on July 1 2002
2.0 out of 5 stars Alfred Hitchcock he is not.........
I lost a bet and had to watch this movie but I didn't mind becouse I had heard it was one of his better films (Dario Argento). Read more
Published on April 5 2002 by scott belba
4.0 out of 5 stars An different terrific suspense thriller.
An american writer (Tony Musante) witness a close murder by a person, who could be a He or a She. He becomes drawn into the web of mystery and violence. Read more
Published on Jan. 4 2002 by Christian Pelchat
3.0 out of 5 stars Broad appeal for Argento's debut feature
Even those who don't care for writer-director Dario Argento's later baroque extravaganzas may warm to his debut feature "The Bird With the Crystal Plumage" (L'Uccello... Read more
Published on Jan. 3 2002 by Libretio
5.0 out of 5 stars Italian Slasher At It'sBest
I don't watch Dario Argento movies for plots that make sense or characters who act logically. I watchArgento movies for extremely tense scenes of suspense and shocking gore. Read more
Published on Dec 5 2001 by Wil-n-Tally
1.0 out of 5 stars plain out [bad]
I wish I would have listened to my inuition about older films like this: they're never as good as they used to be. Read more
Published on Aug. 31 2001 by Critical Reviewer
5.0 out of 5 stars This Is Where Argento's Journey Begins
Dario Argento's first film is an extremely enjoyable taut thriller, introducing visual themes that crop up on subsequent films (murders with sexual overtones, inventive camera... Read more
Published on April 15 2001 by John Peterson
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