Arrow Video Limited Edition 4K Restoration of The Bird With The Crystal Plumage Blu-ray/DVD
In 1970, Dario Argento made his debut with a giallo classic, THE BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE. In 2017, Arrow Video releases this legendary film on Blu-ray, lovingly given a 4K remaster directly from the original film negatives. Heralded as one of the great films of any era, Arrow brings a definitive look at the film itself and the struggle of a creator fighting producers and cast to bring his vision to the screen.
THE BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE follows an American writer, Sam Dalmas (Tony Musante), living in Rome with his girlfriend, who witnesses an attempted murder at an art gallery. The authorities believe this is the work of a serial killer, and as Sam is the only witness they have to the killer’s crime, they confiscate Sam’s passport to keep him from leaving. In, what feels like a nod to Carol Reed’s THE THIRD MAN, Sam begins to investigate the killer in conjunction with the police investigation. Sam follows false leads and more killings, placing himself and his girlfriend in harm’s way, until the shocking truth is revealed and the killer uncovered.
THE BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE has everything we’ve come to expect in a giallo: an unidentified killer who wears black gloves and a trench coat, red herring suspects, brutal murders, and near nude or nude women who are targets of the killer. Giallos are pulp crime novels come to life.
Dario Argento shows a sure hand in his debut film. While THE BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE is lacking some of the explicit violence and nudity present in his future movies, the groundwork visual style of Argento is laid out here and informs all his future work. One only needs to look at classics like SUSPIRIA and DEEP RED to see that much of Argento’s vision was captured in THE BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE, and carried through the rest of his career in more extreme ways.
The score for THE BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE was created by legendary spaghetti western composer, Ennio Morricone. For this film, Morricone employed unusual instrumentation techniques and improvisation to create a soundtrack that is a kind of jazz acid trip. The score is much different than Argento’s future collaborations with Goblin, but the chaotic jazz score is the perfect match for this movie. If there is one complaint about this Limited Edition release, it is that Arrow did not provide a score only track for the Blu-ray.
The Limited Edition Blu-ray/DVD combo from Arrow Video is a must have in the collection of all horror and giallo movie fans. This release is Criterion-like in its care for the picture and sound transfer as well as the extra features included which delve into the film itself, the giallo genre and Dario Argento’s long film career.
There are two features of note in this collection:
- The video essay from critic Kat Ellinger, who critiques the film while touching on specific points in Argento’s filmography as well as in the giallo genre. This is a must watch feature for anyone new to Dario Argento’s movies and/or giallo films.
- A new interview with Dario Argento about the making of THE BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE, and touching on pushback he received from his lead actor and producer on Argento’s vision for the film. Argento admits that there were points, early on in the process, that the producer pushed to have him removed as director of the film.
The Limited Edition Blu/DVD Contents:
- Brand New 4K Restoration From The Camera Negative In Original 2.35:1 Aspect Ratio (produced by Arrow for this Limited Edition release)
- High Definition Blu-Ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD
- Original Mono Italian and English Soundtracks (lossless on Blu-Ray)
- English Subtitles for Italian Soundtrack
- Optional English Subtitles
- Brand New Audio Commentary by Troy Howarth, Author of “So Deadly, So Perverse: 50 Years of Italian Giallo Films”
- Brand New Film Analysis/Video Essay by Film Critic Kat Ellinger
- Brand New Interview With Writer/Director Dario Argento
- Brand New Interview With Actor Gildo DiMarco (Garullo, The Pimp)
- Brand New Visual Essay By Alexandra Heller-Nicholas, Author of “Devil’s Advocates: Suspiria and Rape Revenge Films: A Critical Study”
- Archival Interview With Actress Eva Renzi (Monica Ranieri)
- Reversible Sleeve Featuring Original and Newly Commissioned Artwork by Candice Tripp
- Double-Sided Fold-Out Poster
- Six Lobby Card Reproductions
- Limited Edition 60-Page Booklet