The Bird With The Crystal Plumage (1970)
Written by: ML
Edited by: Grave Reviews Staff
Director: Dario Argento
Producers: Salvatore Argento
Writers: Dario Argento
Date Released: February 19, 1970
Tony Musante as Sam Dalmas
Suzy Kendall as Julia
Enrico Maria Salerno as Inspector Morosini
Eva Renzi as Monica Ranieri
Umberto Raho as Alberto Ranieri
Renato Romano as Professor Carlo Dover
Mario Adorf as Berto Consalvi
Rating = 3.5/5 Graves
***May contain some spoilers***
The Bird With The Crystal Plumage is about an American writer, Sam, who was about to travel back to America when he witnessed and attempted to stop a crime on his way home. Being the star witness, he was held by the Italian police for questioning. In response to the events that transpired, Sam decides to stay and solve the mystery of the killer who was reportedly involved in several similar murders. However, the new question becomes how long Sam will stay if he becomes the next target.
As a slasher film with a serial killer, the movie presented a lot of brutal murders. However, there were few scenes which explicitly showed blood or gore. In fact, most of the scenes only showed the weapon, the movements and/or the aftermath of a murder. The most notable scenes involve the murder of a woman on the bed and the slashing of a woman with a razor. However, the implied brutality is sometimes just as effective as was the case in this film.
The Grave Review
It’s amazing how the movie used the title as the clue for the murder mystery. It was not in any way related to the crimes but just an ambient sound coming from the bird with the crystal plumage. I thought that was very clever. As you watch the film, you will have a better understanding of why the film was titled, The Bird with The Crystal Plumage. The film, overall, executed a well-written, clear and clever storyline.
In respect to the cast, the performance of the actors and actresses were commendable. But there was a particular scene which seemed rather forced and quite frankly, ridiculous. The scene involves the killer who goes to an apartment where a girl is. Girlfriend, Julia suddenly becomes weak, with no energy to protect herself or to hide from the killer. She just collapsed on the floor crying instead of feeling pumped up to escape or fight. Although not completely unreasonable under the circumstances, the way in which the scene unfolded just seemed off and forced.
The best aspect of the film was the mystery that was kept until the end. The film does a good job at creating suspicious characters and other clues, some of which are there to keep the viewer stay engaged and think about who is behind these murders. By the end of the film, you will be shocked by who the real murderer is and how the clues fit in with one another. In that respect, The Bird with The Crystal Plumage did a good job at crafting and piecing the story together.
There are, however, a few negatives about the film. This primarily stemmed from the lack of explanation and motivation for the murders. For example, the film does not explain how the victims were chosen or how some of the murders actually happened. In this way, you are required to make some assumptions of your own. It is disappointing because the majority of the story had a nice flow and transition throughout the film. However, to be fair, the ending does give a little more explanation as to the motivation and reason behind the murders, though it seemed a bit abrupt. In our view, a backstory from the perspective of the murderer would have helped to provide further explanation.
Overall, this movie is recommended for those who love murder mysteries.
For the foregoing reasons, Grave Reviews gives The Bird With The Crystal Plumage (1970) three and a half graves out of five graves.
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