Acclaimed Italian horror director Dario Argento made his debut here with this early giallo prototype, "The Bird with the Crystal Plumage". Part one of the director's coined "Animal Trilogy," (which has more to do with the films coincidental titles than anything else, with "The Cat O'Nine Tails" and "Four Flies on Grey Velvet" being the other two) the fact that the film, viewed in a particular binge of giallos for this feature, barely registers in my retrospective thought should say it all.
Like most films of the genre, it begins with a mysterious murder (our protagonist Sam Dalmas witnesses a stabbing sandwiched between two glass walls in an art gallery) and its resulting repercussions. Like the other two films of Argento's aforementioned "Animal Trilogy" (which we'll discuss - with more fervor - soon enough), the film hinges on the detective work of a common man (the drummer from "Four Flies on Grey Velvet," Karl Malden's blind man from "The Cat O'Nine Tails") while eventually leading us to the rightful assailant.
Like "Four Flies," the film hilariously hinges on a logical-yet-preposterous solving of a vital clue, which leads Sam and the authorities to nowhere but the zoo. I'll stop there, but this debut generally lacks the grip and technical veracity (if you ask me) of Argento's later works, particularly the latter two portions of this perceived trilogy.
Even yet, it's still a modest, above-average entry into the genre, if a bit slim and underwhelming for a professed cornerstone film in the giallo movement. Cherished and adored by many, I'll just have to eat my words on this one. Since my brief introduction to the genre, "The Bird with the Crystal Plumage" is far from the worst, yet very nearly the most forgettable. [C]
Saturday, October 15, 2011
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