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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent debut
This is the first Dario Argento film I have seen and chose to see it first because it is his directorial debut. Unlike the films he is best known for, namely horror, this film is more of a suspense thriller. The plot surrounds the murders of three women in Rome and an attempted murder of another women. The attempted murder is witnessed by an American tourist who then...
Published on 8 Feb. 2006 by Jamie S.

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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It is still cut.................after all these years!!!!
I was really looking forward to this film, and my disappointing 3 stars is not due to the film itself but to the fact that the film is still apparently censored after all these years. Indeed, if you watch the trailer for the film included on the DVD, you will see that one of the murders remains trimmed for British audiences!! I am sure that the BBFC, in its more recent...
Published on 1 April 2003 by Dave Clarke


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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It is still cut.................after all these years!!!!, 1 April 2003
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I was really looking forward to this film, and my disappointing 3 stars is not due to the film itself but to the fact that the film is still apparently censored after all these years. Indeed, if you watch the trailer for the film included on the DVD, you will see that one of the murders remains trimmed for British audiences!! I am sure that the BBFC, in its more recent leniency, would now pass this film in a completely uncensored print (bearing in mind it has recently released the likes of H.G Lewis's 'The Wizard of Gore' uncut, albeit after some 30 odd years!!!) but it is typical of many British releases that they do not even bother to examine the print to restore the cuts before releasing onto DVD. If you want my advice, get yourself a multi-region DVD player and buy this film from Amazon.com in the States, as, ironically, American film distributors tend to show far more care and consideration for these European cult classics than we do ourselves. Argento's first film may lack the overtly stylish direction and explicit violence of something like his undoubted masterpiece, Profondo Rosso, but it is still a taut, well made film - after 'Blood and Black Lace' one of the most genre defining giallo's ever made. If minor cuts in films do not bother you then by all means buy this film, but, personally, I still prefer to watch films exactly as the director intended.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent debut, 8 Feb. 2006
This is the first Dario Argento film I have seen and chose to see it first because it is his directorial debut. Unlike the films he is best known for, namely horror, this film is more of a suspense thriller. The plot surrounds the murders of three women in Rome and an attempted murder of another women. The attempted murder is witnessed by an American tourist who then becomes involved in the police investigation when they confiscate his passport. The direction is excellent and right up until the final scenes you have no idea who the killer really is. This film may look a bit dated now compared to some of the polished, modern hollywood productions. However the film is still excellently put togehter and well worth seeing before you see other films by Dario Argento.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent Debut from the Italian Master, 3 Oct. 2013
The Bird with the Crystal Plumage was Dario Argento's first film and yet it is made with such maturity and thought that it could have been a film made bang in his prime.

There are touches of Bava and especially Hitchcock in here. The chase scene on foot reminds one of the scene in Torn Curtain made just a few years prior to this.

Now to be honest with you I am not a big fan of the man in the street witnessing a murder and then investigating it. As is such the case with this film. In reality surely he would leave that job to the police? This theme is repeated in the often loved Deep Red, which in my opinion I feel is overrated.

Here it works because instead of having some superb individual scenes which Deep Red has, this film is much more engaging for the viewer.

You are drawn into the characters, the script is tight, the killings highly effective or for a better word atmospheric and there is even a hint of light comedy in a few scenes.

It's a five star film all the way, and it is still stunning to think this was Argento's first effort. What an effort.

My DVD purchase that I am basing this review on is from the Blue Underground 2 disc collection. Superb widescreen picture, comes with plenty of extras and commentary. This I think is the way to go with this purchase.

An excellent film, no question.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Bring in the perverts!" - and avoid Arrow's UK Blu-ray!, 28 July 2006
By 
Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
NB: As is their wont, Amazon have combined reviews of multiple editions from different labels on different formats. This review refers to the Blue Unerground US release and Arrow's UK release.

The Bird with the Crystal Plumage is not particularly gory, but it does establish a blueprint for most of Dario Argento's later work, with the crucial misunderstood attempted murder both referencing Antonioni's Blow-Up and prefiguring the killer-in-plain-sight twist of Deep Red. Best of all is Argento's mastery of vivid color and the Scope frame (the gallery window is even designed at an exact 2.35:1 to match the screen ratio). It still lacks the bravura and panache that would distinguish Deep Red, Suspiria and Inferno, and the best that can be said of the performances is that they don't get in the way: Tony Musante's hero and Mario Adorf's cameo as a cat-eating artist pass muster, as does Enrico Maria Salerno, the Italian voice of Clint Eastwood in Sergio Leone's westerns (the perverse side of my nature thought Eastwood could at least have returned the compliment by dubbing him into English), but Suzy Kendall definitely looks better than she acts and some of the supporting cast pull out most of the stops. Still how can you not love a film with lines like "How many times do I have to tell you, Ursula Andress belongs with the transvestites, not the perverts!"

Blue Underground's Region 1 NTSC DVD and now sadly deleted Blu-ray is some 30 seconds longer than the previous VCI issue and boasts superb picture quality and a choice of English or Italian tracks (it was shot in English, as per all of Argento's films). The extras aren't plentiful enough to justify a second disc - some 47 minutes of interviews, including an inadvertently revealing one by Eva Renzi pretty much badmouthing anyone who ever offered her a part for destroying her career - but if you don't have the film it's worth picking up for the remastering alone.

Unlike Blue Underground's release, Arrow have opted for a new transfer supervised by cinematographer Vittorio Storaro, and true to form he's decided to crop the image from 2.35:1 to 2:1 (something he previously did to howls of outrage on Criterion's edition of The Last Emperor and the Complete Dossier release of Apocalypse Now). What makes it such a misguided bit of revisionism is that, in its original ratio, this showed Argento's mastery of vivid color and the Scope frame at its best - the gallery window the murder is seen through is even designed at an exact 2.35:1 to match the original screen ratio, an effect lost in Arrow's cropped transfer. Nor does the extras package compare to the impressive array of interviews on Blue Underground's US release. As such, good as the film is, it's hard to recommend this Blu-ray.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars VCI DISC IS A WORTHY INVESTMENT., 16 Sept. 2013
By 
Mr. K. Arts "keirarts" (uk) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
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***THIS REVIEW IS FOR THE VCI BLU-RAY!!!*****

Dario Argento's debut, that established his name as a major figure in film-making has had some rough treatment over the years. Most famously Arrow released a director of photography approved transfer from Vittorio Storaro that looked ok but was in entirely the wrong ratio. As a result the Blue underground release shot up in value after it went out of print and collectors have had to pay a hefty sum to get a quality HD release of the film. This seems to be as a result of European and American releasing company's having access to different materials and the general complexity of international film rights.

VCI have delivered a print that's region free and actually looks SLIGHTLY better than the Blue underground one. Fans who own the BU release need not rush out to claim this release as while the color scheme is somewhat brighter and more vivid, and more detail apparent with a nice layer of natural film grain, the release is not a big enough upgrade to warrant jettisoning those BU discs just yet. It has the complete soundtrack on the blu-ray and a trailer but it also lacks the added bonus material also found on both the Blue underground and Arrow releases.

The Cheapest option for newcomers is to pick up this release for the film, and if the added bonus materials are your thing, pay a lot less for the Arrow release which generally goes for next to nothing, and save yourself a few quid on the eye wateringly expensive BU release.

Overall though, this is an excellent presentation of the film from VCI at an affordable price.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars for film but don't buy this copy, 26 Mar. 2004
By A Customer
This copy is cut and doesn't include key scenes!
Go to Amazon.com and buy the VTI copy being sold which is full and uncut... make sure you have a multi-region dvd player of course
With the pound being so strong against the dollar now is a great time to buy!
I advise you are really careful about all Argento DVD's you buy and make sure your getting the full uncut versions! Anchor Bay do most of his films and are a safe bet for full uncut versions with lots more extras.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cult classic arrives on Blu Ray, 4 May 2009
Finally Dario Argento's classic arrives on US Blu Ray and what's more plays on my PS3 with no problems. That said I'm not entirely sure that the print is any better than Blue Undergrounds previous region 1 DVD release, however its a major improvement on any UK release so far.

A lot of fun for giallo fans, this catches the atmosphere of the period with vibrant colours and stylish cinematography and throws in enough "red herrings" to keep devotees more then happy.
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29 of 34 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Storaro ruins it for the fans., 12 May 2011
By 
T. Hobson (Essex, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
"Brand new High Definition restoration of the film from the original negative presented in Director of Photography, Vittorio Storaro s original 2:1 Univisium aspect ratio"

This is not correct, the proper ratio should be 2:35.1, not 2:1. This proves that Storaro is more concerned with HIS vision than the director's.
The colours are also muted and the camera view finder scenes are horribly cropped to the left of frame and in B&W instead of colour.
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Wrong aspect ratio, 16 April 2011
Just to warn anyone expecting this release to be in its full width 2:35.1 aspect ration, be warned its been horribly cropped at the sides and is now 2.1. With an Argento movie, this is very important. A terrible shame but you're better off with the Blue Underground version.
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5.0 out of 5 stars "I can't get in. How do I open the door. Hang on! Just hang on!!!" - Sam Dalmas, 17 Jun. 2015
Note from the reviewer: "The following review refers to the Arrow edition. A Region-Free Blu-Ray release that I greatly suggest for the reasons I mention just below."

After writing for Sergio Leone's "Once upon a Time in the West", Dario Argento started his director career with "Bird with the Crystal plumage". A thriller that would spawn the giallo genre and become a landmark in Italian and even worldwide cinema.
The story we have here is of Sam Dalmas, an American writer on holiday in Italy who found himself in the wrong place, at the wrong time. stuck between two glass doors, Dalmas witnesses an assault a black-coated criminal did on a woman inside a closed gallery. An incident that turns him, with the police's help, an investigator on the case. Finding clues involving artwork, back noises, voices; all linked to a serial killer who has been terrorizing the city and who has murdered three women for a month.

As a story, the plotline is exclusively focused on the crime case. Indeed, we don't know much about the characters' past, how Sam and his girlfriend met, and how they are viewing their relationship, or their job. Only the most basic elements do we know about their lives. Therefore, instead of being a character-driven story, we have instead a situation driven plot; that of a murder plotline which creates reactions from the characters who are caught in its web. So don't expect any grand psychological diving into Sam's psychological profile if you are watching this movie. You just sit down and enjoy the 96 minutes ride Argento is giving. Whether it is the gorgeous sets by Dario Micheli, Vittorio Storaro's subtle cinematography, Ennio Morricone's music, Argento's tight camera movements, and the very artistic murders he displays in his movies. Something that may shock some viewers as the violence is graphical, blunt and not for the faint of heart. Why, the director's visual style was and remain so unconventional that it caused a commotion for the producer Gofferdo Lombardo. A man who, according to Alan Jones and Argento, wanted to pay Argento to stop directing the film and to have another artist replace him. Which fortunately didn't happen as it could have endangered the film's tight rhythm and production which was shot over six weeks. And that producer's fears were unfounded for instead the movie became a huge success around the world and Argento's work became a reference on artists like John Carpenter.

For their release, Arrow Films did a great job. The HD resolution is 1080p, the movie is uncensored, and the Blu-ray is region free, which means that anybody around the world can watch their disc on their player. And personally, I adore the cover leaflet they gave as it presents, on back-and-front, four posters used for the movie's release. Of them, the abstract painting for the Italian release is my favorite as you can sense that the movie you're about to watch will be mysterious and artistic. Among its special features, you have a leaflet with Alan Jones describing the production of this movie, citing details that heavily contrasted with Argento's memories on this movie. Indeed, Jones, unlike Argento, described the shooting as very complicated not only due to issues with some producer, but also with Sam Dalmas's actor, who was such a narcissistic egotist that Argento got into huge fights with his actor, causing stressful situations that have hurt Argento as he since became very apprehensive with his actors. Which is a shame as since it was the director's first movie, this has caused an impact on his other works and maybe, I write maybe, affected the human factor in some of his stories which some have complained as been razor-thin. Also, I'd say that my other bonus feature would be Luigi Cozzi's interview as he describes how the success of Argento's movies relied a lot on his collaborators, especially with Franco Fraticelli whose tight editing made the films more tense, powerful, and well mastered. A production detail that adds itself to what Daria Nicollodi described in the Phenomena and Suspiria release; that her collaboration, ideas, and scriptwriting was vital for his popular Three Mothers trilogy.

In conclusion, this movie here showcases the start of an excellent artist. One of his best works when he was at the height of his creativity.
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The Bird with the Crystal Plumage [DVD] [1969]
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