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The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970)

L'uccello dalle piume di cristallo (original title)
Trailer
2:45 | Trailer

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An American writer and his English girlfriend are stalked by a serial killer terrorizing Rome after the former witnesses a murder attempt on a woman's life.

Director:

Dario Argento

Writer:

Dario Argento
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2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Tony Musante ... Sam Dalmas
Suzy Kendall ... Julia
Enrico Maria Salerno ... Inspector Morosini
Eva Renzi ... Monica Ranieri
Umberto Raho ... Alberto Ranieri
Renato Romano ... Professor Carlo Dover (as Raf Valenti)
Giuseppe Castellano ... Monti
Mario Adorf ... Berto Consalvi
Pino Patti Pino Patti ... Faiena
Gildo Di Marco Gildo Di Marco ... Garullo
Rosita Torosh ... 4th Victim (as Rosa Toros)
Omar Bonaro Omar Bonaro ... Police Detective
Fulvio Mingozzi Fulvio Mingozzi ... Police Detective
Werner Peters ... Antique Dealer
Karen Valenti ... Tina, 5th Victim
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Storyline

In Italy, the American writer Sam Dalmas witnesses an attempt of murder of the owner of an art gallery, Monica Ranieri, a couple of days before returning home. Inspector Morosini, who is in charge of investigating the three previous murderers of the serial-killer, asks for help to Dalmas and takes his passport. Dalmas decides to stay with his girlfriend Julia and to help the police in the investigation. The killer threatens Dalmas and Julia by phone and the police overhears a strange noise in the tape. Soon the serial killer stalks Julia and Damas. Who might be the killer? Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A Suspense Thriller! See more »


Certificate:

GP | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Italy | West Germany

Language:

English | Italian

Release Date:

12 June 1970 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Point of Terror See more »

Filming Locations:

Agnano, Naples, Campania, Italy See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$500,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. See more »

Goofs

The rare Siberian bird from which the title of the film comes from is actually a Crowned Crane native to Africa. See more »

Quotes

Inspector Morosini: Right! Bring in the perverts!
See more »

Alternate Versions

Initial pressings of VCI Entertainment's DVD release incorrectly restored part of the "panty murder" sequence. The shot of the killer holding the panties was re-inserted *before* he actually removes them from his victim. Some of the more recent pressings of the DVD have the scene restored correctly, in the proper order. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Deuce: Pilot (2017) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Good mystery
19 May 2004 | by ODDBearSee all my reviews

The Bird with the Crystal Plumage was Dario Argento's first film and it made him a hot property. Having had very little experience with actual filmmaking, he showed incredible potential with his debut and he took full advantage of it in years to come. Here he explored a lot of the scenarios that would later charectarize his films.

With this film, and particularly his next, Dario showed he had been influenced quite a bit by the great Alfred Hitchcock. The theme here; an american in a foreign country becomes a witness to a heinous crime and starts investigating himself; bears more than a little resemblance to many of Hitchcock's films. An innocent man finds his morbid curiosity getting the better of him and as he progresses in his investigations he puts himself in grave danger. The story unfolds in a similar way to Hitchcock's films, clues are gathered periodically and there's a surprise in the end which is hard to guess, but not impossible.

Argento gradually builds up the suspense and creates a genuinely intriguing mystery. The film never slows down too much and it never fails to be interesting. It's also got a surprising amount of laughs. But in comparing Argento to Hitchcock, Argento manages to create a style of his own, which he would perfect in Profondo Rosso aka Deep Red a few years later. That's of course the visual style. Here he has the assistance of one Vittorio Storaro and the visual aspect of this film is one of it's greatest assets. The film is wonderfully lit every single time and Argento switches effortlessly between dark and dreary visuals to shiny happy images. Argento's visual style is one of his greatest trademarks and it bears some influence from the likes of Mario Bava. I don't want to name any particular scenes, they all flow well together.

Another terrific Argento trademark is the music. Ennio Morricone's score is nothing short of fantastic, ranges from cathcy repetetive melodies to haunting sounds of fear. I think the impact from Argento's films would lessen considerably would it not be for those terrific scores he gets every time.

However, Argento is not perfect. He seems to lessen his standards when it comes to the acting department. Here, the characters are a bit wooden and he doesn't give them all that good lines to deliver. The dialogue in many of his films seem a little childish. And it doesn't look like he gives them many instructions, the acting here (and in most of his films) is shaky and not very consistent. It has been said about Argento that he basically thinks of actors as human props, what's most important is where they are positioned and how they move. Also, it's very annoying how he dubs every film, even the american actors have to do voice overs on themselves.

That said, Argento has more pro's than con's. His films are always interesting and wonderful to look at. The Bird with the Crystal Plumage is in my opinion one of his best. 9 out of 10.


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