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Sam, an American writer in Rome, witnesses a murder attempt on the wife of the owner of an art gallery by a sinister man in a raincoat and black leather gloves - but Sam is powerless to do anything as he gets trapped between a double set of glass doors in going to her aid. The woman survives, and the police say that she is the first surviving victim of a notorious serial killer. But when they fail to make any progress with the case, Sam decides to investigate on his own, turning up several clues that point in the direction of just one possible suspect - assuming that he really knows who he's looking for... Written by
Michael Brooke <email@example.com>
Splendid debut film for Italian horror master Dario Argento that nearly single-handedly launched the giallo genre.
American writer vacationing in Italy prevents a murder at an art gallery, then finds himself a pawn in the killer's deadly game.
Argento, who would go on to make such classic horror films as Deep Red (1975) and Suspiria (1977), shows his directorial talents well with this first film. Argento makes excellent use of such simple elements, like darkness, close up shots, and rustic locations to give this film a wonderfully garish style! He builds tight suspense through out the film, all the while giving us a nicely twisted murder mystery. The mystery is a gripping one, based upon Frederic Brown's novel The Screaming Mimi. The climax of the film is a truly clever twist. Composer Ennio Morricone adds greatly to the films dark atmosphere with his hauntingly beautiful music score. The film also sports one of the best titles of the giallo genre 'The Bird with the Crystal Plumage'.
The films cast does some good performances, the best being sexy Tony Musante as the films hero turned civilian investigator.
A terrific film, that is a must see not just for fans of Argentos work, but for those seeking a great thriller or clever murder mystery.
**** out of ****
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