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When you hear the name Dario Argento you know what to expect. In many ways, he is the gateway director to Italian horror, and with The Bird with the Crystal Plumage we see his debut into directing. While not his best work, it set many precedents for the Argento style…
Sam Dalmas (Tony Musante), an American writer finds himself witnessing a murder while on a trip to Italy. Unable to help the victim of the attack, luckily, the victim manages to survive. In the following days though Sam finds himself stalked by the killer, who he in parallel becomes obsessed with.
While I do like The Bird with the Crystal Plumage, I do find that Deep Red is his superior film which follows a similar narrative. What we have with Plumage though is an Argento film which has differences from certain traits the director has. One thing that doesn’t change of course is the fact that this is a Giallo. The mystery killer in the dark coat, the black gloves and the obsession with killing with knives is all in place. While the ending may not be what is expected, Argento is a director and writer who often gives a successful twist. In The Bird with the Crystal Plumage he gives one of his most memorable, and that is created through the museum scene.
In putting Sam in a boxed off glass room of the art gallery entrance, unable to get out to get help and unable to get into the museum itself he is left helpless, forced into being a voyeur to the murder. It is in this situation that the clues are put into place for what is a memorable ending. It is also interesting that the revelation is much similar to Deep Red in that it is interpretation and the memory of the crime scene that leads to the reveal of the killer.
A big difference to Argento’s later work is that the music for The Bird with the Crystal Plumage is done by Ennio Morricone. While I am a fan of Goblin who you usually think of when it comes to Argento, Morricone’s music is still very good, and fans of Quentin Tarantino will recognise the main theme. In fact, they’ll also see that Tarantino was paying homage to the opening of this movie in Death Proof.
Looking past the film itself and looking at the special features included with the Arrow Video release, there is an impressive list of interviews, as well as looks at the Giallo in relation to Argento’s work. The interviews with Argento himself are the highlight, but the interview with actor Gildo Di Marco (Garullo the pimp) is a very nice addition. He may have only had a bit-part in the film, but his performance was memorable enough to stick in people’s minds.
The Bird with the Crystal Plumage is a solid release, especially for lovers of Dario Argento’s work. Not only his directorial debut, it set the scene for many of his future hits and featured one of the most memorable scenes with the art gallery scene. Deep Red may be better, but this is a necessary inclusion into any horror fans collections.
Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek »
- Paul Metcalf
Documentary honours film fans who laboured to restore setting for 1966 spaghetti western’s climactic scene
After more than 50 years, several fistfuls of euros and countless wheelbarrow journeys, one of the most famous graveyards in cinema history has been rescued from oblivion and is to be honoured in a new documentary.
Continue reading »
- Sam Jones in Madrid
As the summer continues to roll on, that means we have another great week of horror and sci-fi home entertainment releases to look forward to. The folks at Scream Factory are keeping themselves plenty busy this Tuesday, as they’re resurrecting both The Lawnmower Man and Island of Terror on Blu-ray, as well as their high-def The Paul Naschy Collection, and Arrow Video has put together an incredible two-disc limited Blu-ray set of Dario Argento’s directorial debut, The Bird With The Crystal Plumage, that any fan of the Master of Horror will want to add to their collections. And, if you missed it in theaters, the horror/sci-fi thriller Life will be available on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, and DVD formats, too.
- Heather Wixson
This time they may have gotten it right! If a knife or a straight razor won’t do, how about killing a victim with 500-pound metal artwork studded with spikes? Dario Argento distilled a new kind of slick, visually fetishistic horror who-dunnit thriller subgenre with this shocker, aided by the dreamy cinematography of Vittorio Storaro.
The Bird with the Crystal Plumage
Blu-ray + DVD
Arrow Video USA
1971 / Color / 2:35 widescreen / 96 min. / Street Date June 20, 2017 / L’uccello dalle piume di cristallo / Available from Arrow Video/ 49.95
Starring: Tony Musante, Suzy Kendall, Enrico Maria Salerno, Eva Renzi, Umberto Raho, Raf Valenti, Giuseppe Castellano, Mario Adorf, Pino Patti, Gildo Di Marco, Rosita Torosh, Omar Bonaro, Fulvio Mingozzi, Werner Peters, Karen Valenti, Carla Mancini, Reggie Nalder.
Cinematography: Vittorio Storaro
Film Editor: Franco Fraticelli
Original Music: Ennio Morricone
Directed by Dario Argento »
- Glenn Erickson
The Bird with the Crystal Plumage, 1970.
Directed by Dario Argento.
A man witnesses an attempted murder and becomes the would-be killer’s next victim.
Having recently delved into Dario Argento’s back catalogue with the excellent Phenomena Blu-ray package recently, Arrow Video are at it again by re-releasing the Italian maestro’s debut directorial feature The Bird with the Crystal Plumage and, let’s be honest, there’s no real need to try and sell this to you as dyed-in-the-wool Argento fans would have pre-ordered it once it was announced as who wouldn’t want to own a dual-format 4K restoration of one of the milestone giallo movies from a legendary director, all presented in a fantastic box set with a poster, lobby cards and a 60-page booklet with exclusive writings on the film? »
- Amie Cranswick
Leave it to the city of Fresno to finally settle the age old debate of which fans have the better franchise, Star Wars or Star Trek. During a Fresno Grizzlies minor league baseball game, B-Boys representing both sides decided to throw down in an ultimate dance battle to proclaim superiority. And depending on which side of this debate you fall, you may be surprised who wins.
Sure, the best way to decide which is the better franchise might be to gather all of the best characters from Star Wars and Star Trek into a blistering three hour crossover movie, and have them battle it out on the big screen, with the Millennium Falcon squaring off against the Enterprise in deep space while the Klingons and Stormtroopers have it out in the surf of Scariff. But as one series resides at Paramount, and the other at Disney, it's unlikely this would or could ever happen, »
“I can hear it now: ‘Go to Italy. It’s a peaceful country, nothing much ever happens there’.”
In 1970, young first-time director Dario Argento (Deep Red, Suspiria) made his indelible mark on Italian cinema with The Bird With The Crystal Plumage, a film which redefined the ‘giallo’ genre of murder-mystery thrillers and catapulted him to international stardom.
Sam Dalmas (Tony Musante, We Own the Night), an American writer living in Rome, inadvertently witnesses a brutal attack on a woman (Eva Renzi, Funeral in Berlin) in a modern art gallery. Powerless to help, he grows increasingly obsessed with the incident. Convinced that something he saw that night holds the key to identifying the maniac terrorizing Rome, he launches his own investigation parallel to that of the police, heedless »
- Tom Stockman
By Darren Allison
“Omaggio al Maestro Ennio Morricone”- CD sleeve.
Cinema Retro picked up on Cineploit’s talents very early in the day. I've been reviewing their releases now since those very first humble beginnings. When it comes to labels that are dedicated in keeping retro genre film music alive - Cineploit are arguably the very best. Never afraid to explore new avenues or indeed breathing new life into classic Giallo or Poliziotteschi film scores, the label has decided to celebrate their anniversary with the release of a tribute album ‘Omaggio al Maestro Ennio Morricone.’
This highly impressive compilation of the Maestro's work is performed by various groups and artists from the Cineploit stable, »
- email@example.com (Cinema Retro)
Gilt edged scripture etched into border patrol artillery, stylishly bombastic recaps and Ennio Morricone influenced anthems, foreshadow another entry in the American Gods ‘how to’ guide for re-engineering audience expectations. ‘Lemon Scented You’ may have shrouded itself in Lynchian influences and combined an architectural aesthetic with a painter’s eye for framing and colour. But ‘A Murder of Gods’ goes one further, wrapping that approach into a road movie ethos made up of debates on religion and methods of maintaining purifying flesh over distance in warm weather.
Dissecting allegiances with the subtlety of a surgeon’s knife American Gods brings together a polar opposite pairing unmatched since Preacher last year. Mad Sweeney and Laura Moon are mutually selfish, antagonised by indifference and driven by decomposition and greed. Throwing verbal barbs, threats of physical retribution and litigious declarations of intentional injury throughout their chemistry is infectious. »
- Amie Cranswick
Silver screen icon and committed feminist Claudia Cardinale, who’s being celebrated by the 70th Cannes Film Festival, has been breaking the mold of the submissive sex symbol for six decades.
Born in Tunisia to Sicilian immigrant parents, Cardinale was discovered by Italian producer Franco Cristaldi as a teenager after she won a Miss Italian Beauty pageant. Her first mention in Variety, dates back to 1959. It reads: “Tunisian-Italian thesp, signed by Rank for Ralph Thomas’ ‘Upstairs and Downstairs,’… and specifies “she’s under contract to Vides of Rome.” That contract, inked reluctantly when Cardinale was 18, marked the start of a glorious career comprising memorable roles in classics by European masters including Luchino Visconti, Federico Fellini, Sergio Leone and Werner Herzog, and appearances in several Hollywood movies such as “The Pink Panther” and “Lost Command.”
Today Cardinale continues to work non-stop often with first-time helmers, most recently playing an avaricious duchess »
- Nick Vivarelli
“Master Of None” seasons two is finally here, and Aziz Ansari and co. are bringing more big laughs, great locations, and relationship woes to their hit Netflix series. But the latest batch of episodes also feature a wide array of music, and as you stream the series this weekend, you might want to keep this guide handy to look up whatever needle drop captures your attention.
Read More: Bingeworthy Breakdown: Should You Watch ‘Master Of None’ Season 2?
- Kevin Jagernauth
Author: Dave Roper
With Actors, Directors, Actresses and Screenwriters under our collective belt and Cinematographers still to come, we presently turn our eye towards Composers, whose music lends so much to the films they work on.
As with the other lists, credit is given for not merely one or two sterling scores, but rather a consistently excellent body of work with specific stand-out films. To be blunt, this is a trickier prospect than it at first appears. Just because a film is terrific or well-loved doesn’t necessarily mean that the score is itself a standout. We begin with perhaps the most obvious and celebrated film composer of them all…..
Goodness me. The Poseidon Adventure, The Towering Inferno, Earthquake, Jaws, Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Long Goodbye, Catch Me If You Can, Star Wars, Close Encounters, Star Wars, Superman, Et, Born on the Fourth of July, »
- Dave Roper
Every week, IndieWire asks a select handful of film and TV critics two questions and publishes the results on Monday. (The answer to the second, “What is the best film in theaters right now?”, can be found at the end of this post.)
This week’s question: Inspired by Baby Groot’s “Mr. Blue Sky” dance sequence at the beginning of “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” what movie has the best opening credits sequence?
April Wolfe (@awolfeful), La Weekly
Hands down, it’s R.W. Fassbinder’s “The Marriage of Maria Braun.” I watch the opening sequence at least three times a year and show it to every filmmaker I can. I love any film that begins with a bang, and this one does quite literally: We open up on an explosion that rips out a hunk of brick wall, exposing a German couple in the middle of a rushed marriage ceremony. »
- David Ehrlich
Author: Andy Furlong
When Guardians of the Galaxy was first released in 2014 for all its quirk and swagger the thing that really separated it from the rest of the Marvel pack was its use of music. Director James Gunn revealed that the film’s composer, Tyler Bates, had written large chunks of the score first so that they could film to the actual music. In many ways the film’s personality is its score, and with the release of the sequel Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 in cinemas this week audiences can expect more of the same.
Music is probably the most important thing in cinema for instantly establishing mood, tone and visual cues. From the menacing piano keys of John Williams’ memorable score in Jaws to the sheer elation of Alan Silvestri’s triumphant overture in Back to the Future, a film’s accompanying score is often as unforgettable as the movie itself. »
- Andy Furlong
Can radical theater make a good movie? Elio Petri continues his string of biting social comment movies with a black comedy about rich people, thieves, and the notion of ownership — it’s a caustic position paper but also a funny satire, with quirky yet believable characters. Ugo Tognazzi is terrific as scheming capitalist, as much a prisoner of his wealth as a poor clerk is of his poverty.
Property is No Longer a Theft
Blu-ray + DVD
Arrow Video USA
Cinematography: Luigi Kuveiller
Film Editor: Ruggero Mastroianni
Original Music: Ennio Morricone
Production design / Costume design: Gianni Polidori
Produced by Claudio Mancini
Directed by Elio Petri
Essere o Avere? »
- Glenn Erickson
Looking back on this still-young century makes clear that 2007 was a major time for cinematic happenings — and, on the basis of this retrospective, one we’re not quite through with ten years on. One’s mind might quickly flash to a few big titles that will be represented, but it is the plurality of both festival and theatrical premieres that truly surprises: late works from old masters, debuts from filmmakers who’ve since become some of our most-respected artists, and mid-career turning points that didn’t necessarily announce themselves as such at the time. Join us as an assembled team, many of whom were coming of age that year, takes on their favorites.
Grindhouse was intended to be the ultimate homage to the kinda cool, kinda sexy, kinda divine (but not too divine as to make you realize you’re still dealing with trash), kinda exploitation cinema on which Quentin Tarantino »
- The Film Stage
Arrow Video is already looking to make this a summer to remember for fans of Italian horror, as they recently revealed that their June Blu-ray / DVD releases will include Ovidio Assonitis' Madhouse (1981) and Dario Argento's first feature film, The Bird with the Crystal Plumage.
Fuses slasher elements with the over-the-top excess of ‘80s Italian terror.
Pre-order your copy in the UK: http://bit.ly/2nN0nOK
North American pre-orders links should be live soon!
Release Dates: 12/13 June 2017
Many People Visit … No One Ever Leaves.
Helmed by legendary producer/director Ovidio Assonitis, the man behind such cult favourites as The Visitor and Piranha II: The Spawning, Madhouse is a crimson-soaked tale of sibling rivalry taken to a terrifying and bloody extreme.
Julia has spent her entire adult life trying to forget the torment she suffered at »
- Derek Anderson
Guy Buckland Apr 12, 2017
The animal is out. Nicholson. Pfeiffer. Wolf.
Frankly, that sparse poster copy would have been enough to tempt most punters into the cinema in 1994, but a werewolf movie starring a man who already appeared to be mid-transformation in real life would have been a deal-sealer for many a horror aficionado. Which is perhaps why, when appraising Smiling Jack’s extensive filmography, Wolf is often drudged up from the file marked ‘oh yeah, I forgot about that one’.
Because Wolf is many things; but it ain’t a horror film.
In fact, trying to pin Wolf »
When naming our favorite scenes in the filmography of Quentin Tarantino, there was one that was an easy shoo-in: the opening scene if Inglourious Basterds. “The now-iconic scene is a perfect introduction — not only to Col. Hans Landa, but to Christoph Waltz, whose career up to this point had been relegated to German television. It alone may have netted Waltz his first Academy Award,” we said. “A French dairy farmer finds himself under interrogation from the exacting Landa, inquiring for the whereabouts of a Jewish family, who just so happen to be hiding beneath the very floorboards on which they stand.”
We added, “On the soundtrack, Ennio Morricone’s “L’incontro Con La Figlia,” a composition cribbed from Duccio Tessari’s The Return of Ringo, forebodingly wails, evoking a tone closer to a horror film than a war movie. It’s not long before Landa discovers the secret, ordering his »
- Jordan Raup
Giuseppe Tornatore’s ode to the Italian love of movies was a major hit here in 1990, despite being severely cut by Miramax. In 2002 the director reworked his long version into an almost three-hour sentimental epic that enlarges the film’s scope and deepens its sentiments.
Region B Blu-ray
1988 / Color / 1:85 widescreen / Special Edition / 174, 155, 124 min. /
Nuovo cinema Paradiso / Street Date March 21, 2017 / 39.95
Cinematography: Blasco Giurato
Production Designer: Andrea Crisanti
Film Editor: Mario Morra
Original Music: Ennio and Andrea Morricone
Written and Directed by Giuseppe Tornatore
Your average foreign import movie, it seems, makes a brief splash around Oscar time and then disappears as if down a rabbit hole. A few years back I saw a fantastic Argentine movie called The Secret in Their Eyes. »
- Glenn Erickson
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