THE GOAL FOR 2018: 200 MOVIES WATCHED BY MIDNIGHT NEW YEAR'S EVE!  (AFTER TOPPING OUT AT 194 in 2017)

CAN HE DO IT?

THE WEBER MOVIE COUNTDOWN

​​THE WEBER MOVIE COUNTDOWN

THE BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE (1970)


I have been a Dario Argento fan since the day I gazed at one of his films. I don’t remember which one I saw first – probably Deep Red, one of his best. But all of his giallo films share the same elements: distinctive camerawork, often using unusual points of view and a complex whodunit story generally pointing back to someone you would never suspect – until it makes perfect sense in the end. Oh and unique touches when the victims in his films are killed. Aside from the blood, Argento has been compared quite favorably to the master, Alfred Hitchcock. Hitchcock is alleged to have said “this Italian fellow is starting to make me nervous,” upon seeing this film. If you have not experienced early Argento, I would encourage you to do so. Arrow Films is releasing on June 20th a fully restored collector’s edition of his first film, The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (#101 on the countdown), in both 4K and high-def, and the results are spectacular. I have never seen this film in this way before – my previous copies were crappy bootlegs and pan-and-scan versions. The story: Sam (Tony Musante) is getting ready to travel back to America when he sees a stabbing in an art gallery. The woman injured (Eva Renzi) has minor wounds but there’s something odd about the stabbing he just can’t put his finger on. The police ask him to stay in Rome a few extra days in case he figures it out. There are other killings and Sam puts himself and his girlfriend (Suzy Kendall) in harm’s way by attempting to track the killer. For a first effort, this is amazingly proficient. Argento would improve in time, but already with this film he proved that he knew what he was doing, establishing a style that would go on to inspire filmmakers worldwide.

This Arrow Films edition included tons of extras, both newly shot and archival, as well as a bound 60-page book all about the film, posters, postcards of the original lobby cards and a few things I am probably forgetting about. Solid film and a wonderful way to introduce yourself to the works of Dario Argento. Very much recommended.


TLA one-word review: chilling