in Horror Movie Reviews

The Bird With The Crystal Plumage Limited Edition

The Bird With The Crystal Plumage Limited Edition Blu Ray and DVD

I am a big fan of Italian giallo movies, and one of my all time favourites in this genre is The Bird With The Crystal Plumage (1970). And I am SO excited to own the brand new Arrow release of The Bird With The Crystal Plumage Limited Edition.

The Bird With The Crystal Plumage – which was the first instalment in the Animal Trilogy, and was followed by The Cat o’ Nine Tails (1971) and Four Flies on Grey Velvet (1972) – was also the first giallo movie that Dario Argento directed, on his way to making his own significant mark in this hugely popular category of filmmaking. Taken from the 1949 novel The Screaming Mimi by Frederick Brown, the movie would lay the foundations for the standard giallo film for the next ten years or so. And unlike the 1958 Hollywood version, directed by Gerd Oswald and titled Screaming Mimi, Argento’s offering would be much more violent and lurid, characteristics for which such giallo directors as Argento would become so famous.

The basic storyline of The Bird With The Crystal Plumage concerns an American writer, Sam Dalmas (Tony Musante) who, whilst working in Rome with his model girlfriend, Giulia (played by the lovely Suzy Kendall, whom I also loved in the other two giallo movies she made, namely Spasmo and Torso), witnesses the attempted murder of Monica Ranieri (Eva Renzi), a gallery owner’s wife, by a mysterious black-gloved attacker in a raincoat. As he is trapped between two glass doors, Sam is powerless to help the woman, and so can only watch in utter horror as the assailant makes a swift getaway.

The woman does manage to escape with her life, and when detectives arrive to investigate the incident, they confiscate Sam’s passport, deeming him to hold information that may be useful to their pursuit of a man they suspect may be responsible for several other murders in the city.

Sam and his girlfriend soon become deeply – and dangerously – entangled in the web of the killer’s deadly game. When Sam gets a telephone call from the fiend, he picks up on a certain sound, which is the cry of a rare species of bird from Siberia known as “The Bird With The Crystal Plumage” (due to the diaphanous glint of its feathers). It’s the only bird of its kind in the whole of Rome, and it is kept in the city zoo. While the police are investigating their list of suspects, Sam continues his own investigation, an investigation fraught with knife-edge tension and danger.

There is a particularly nerve-wracking scene involving his girlfriend, when she is left all alone in their apartment, and the killer breaks in. This scene is one of the most memorable and gripping scenes I have seen in a giallo movie. And as for the twist at the end… well, without giving it away lest you haven’t seen the movie, let’s just say it completely stunned me, as I never saw it coming. An awesome end to a truly awesome move!

I am really thrilled with my new copy of The Bird With The Crystal Plumage Limited Edition, as it comes in a truly beautiful boxed set, and has never looked or sounded better in this new, 4K-restored limited edition from Arrow Video.

All the special features are as follows:

  • The Bird With The Crystal Plumage Limited Edition Contents

    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 (lossless on the Blu-ray Disc)
    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
    Double-sided fold-out poster
    6 Lobby Card reproductions
    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

If you haven’t yet seen The Bird With The Crystal Plumage, then I strongly recommend that you go and check it out. Not only is it a veritable masterpiece of giallo filmmaking, but it is also a movie that you can watch again and again, and there aren’t many films you can say that about. And you have to – just HAVE to – grab a copy of this wonderful Arrow Special Edition. Trust me, it will definitely be money well spent.

You can buy the Arrow Limited Edition of The Bird With The Crystal Plumage by clicking on either the image link at the top of this article, or on the one just below.

Alan Toner