The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970)
December 23, 2021 3:04 PM - Subscribe

An American writer living in Rome witnesses an attempted murder that is connected to an ongoing killing spree in the city, and conducts his own investigation despite himself and his girlfriend being targeted by the killer. The acclaimed directorial debut from Italian filmmaker Dario Argento.

An uncredited adaptation of Fredric Brown's nővel The Screaming Mimi. Music by Ennio Morricone. 93% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. Currently streaming in the US on Fandor and Screambox.
posted by DirtyOldTown (5 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
This is pretty great until the final reveal. It's like he hadn't given any consideration to how the female killer's personality would come across, so he just told her to cackle like a maniac and they'd explain it away with a Psycho-style exposition via shrink speech.

I did really enjoy some of the oddball side characters like So Long, and the cat-eating painter.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 5:41 PM on December 23, 2021 [1 favorite]

I liked this movie, but I saw Deep Red not too long after and it blotted a lot of it out. Like, I want Daria Nicolodi to have been in this. (Apparently it was the movie that led her to seek Argento out so maybe she wished it too.)

It's a nice like Hitchcock kind of movie, really barely a giallo. I liked the cat-eating artist too, and the basic setup of being trapped in the airlock watching a murder is pure, as well as hearing the bird call being the clue.
posted by fleacircus at 11:01 PM on December 23, 2021

Deep Red and Suspiria are superior I think but this has a lot to like especially the cinematography by Vittorio Storaro and the score. This film does establish the trend in Argeneto's films that it doesnt matter if they make sense in the end (mind you, a lot of giallos are unconcerned if they are coherent or have a satisfactory ending).
posted by Ashwagandha at 5:31 AM on December 25, 2021 [1 favorite]

Giallos do be like that, though it doesn't bother me the way it does in some movies. Maybe because they are not really leaning on rationality in the first place, and are more about giving in to the irrational rather than like, rationalism trying to triumph (whether it succeeds or not).
posted by fleacircus at 3:23 PM on December 25, 2021 [1 favorite]

Yeah would generally agree - as long as movie is internally consistent it shouldn't matter if it has a plot that makes all that much sense. I think Argento's oeuvre demonstrates that - his earlier films are more consistent in tone and craftsmanship whereas his later films fail more frequently due to a lack of of that internal consistency.
posted by Ashwagandha at 11:54 AM on December 28, 2021

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