Spoilers follow ...
- The Bird with the Crystal Plumage review by NP
I’m not sure what it is about Giallo films. They’re very stylish and often beautifully put together, but have a certain uniform similarity about them: lurid colours, an exotic musical soundtrack, a killer wearing black gloves, glamorous males and females. And yet for all the familiarity, they are always fairly thrilling viewing. I rarely tire of their exotic set-ups of jeopardy, or the rolling locations and arty direction. Here, Dario Argento certainly does not disappoint. Each shadow and reflection has sinister possibilities.
Ennio Morricone provides another in his inexhaustible supply of melancholic, haunting, beautiful musical scores, and the twists that come at the end are once more expertly handled. In fact, it is actually during Inspector Morosini’s (Enrico Maria Salerno) summary explanations of events that the credits roll – almost as if the film’s running time is not enough to contain it!
But there are no errors here. Argento handles everything with precision. My notes about the familiarity of giallo films and their style and structure have little bearing on ‘The Bird with the Crystal Plumage’. There were still plenty more such Italian horror-thrillers to come by this time; it is just that I personally have seen many of them out of order.
Amongst the cast (apart from Salerno’s sterling Inspector) are Tony Musante as main man Sam Dalmas, British Suzy Kendall as Julia and Reggie Nalder stealing all his brief scenes as ‘the assassin’.
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