The Bird with the Crystal Plumage Review

Debut feature films from directors of note are often incredibly interesting and Dario Argento’s debut, The Bird with the Crystal Plumage, is no exception. What is perhaps most surprising on re-watching and re-considering Argento’s debut is just how incredibly accomplished a first film it is and that even in the wake of a very large number of films influenced by it, how fresh and original it still feels.

Opening with an incredibly memorable scene in which the lead Sam Dalmas (Tony Musante) witnesses a struggle for a knife between Monica (Eva Renzi) and a mysterious black gloved man. Sam sees the struggle begin through a window but when he tries to intervene he becomes trapped between two glass doors, forced to witness the stabbing of Monica but unable to stop it. The deliciously wicked construction of this scene helps to suck you in straight away and the subsequent investigation, with Sam in the role of amateur sleuth, moves along at a reasonably brisk pace with red herrings and clues thrown in to keep you interested.

Whilst it may not have the visual leaps of something like Deep Red, The Bird with the Crystal Plumage is still also a striking film to look at, with interesting and appropriate compositional choices and lighting. The score by Morricone also adds greatly, one of my personal favourites, and the music in the scene in which Sam evades a yellow-jacketed killer is particularly special.

A slightly different version of this review was originally posted at HeyUGuys.