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Category:    Home > Reviews > Horror > Slasher > Thriller > Giallo > Italy > The Bird With The Crystal Plumage (1970/MVD Visual/Arrow Limited Edition Blu-ray/DVD Set)

The Bird With The Crystal Plumage (1970/MVD Visual/Arrow Limited Edition Blu-ray/DVD Set)

Picture: B+/B Sound: B+/B Extras: B+ Film: B

Dario Argento's 1970 debut masterpiece, The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (also known as L'uccello dalle piume di cristallo), explores the director's passion for Italian Giallo pictures (that he helped pioneer) and helped redefine the genre. Eloquently shot, directed, and produced, this is one of Argento's best looking films, with many inspiring moments in horror that deems it a notable landmark in the Director's filmography and was the film that really put him on the map. This limited edition release from Arrow Films is now available in the US and UK and is a must have for Argento fans as it's loaded with great extras, collectible inserts and packaging, and a superior presentation that makes this one of the company's best releases this year.

The film stars Tony Musante, Suzy Kendall, Eva Renzi, Enrico Maria Salerno, Mario Adorf, and Renato Romano. It is both written and directed by Dario Argento.

When Sam (Musante), an American writer in Rome, witnesses a murder attempt on the wife of the owner of an art gallery by a sinister man in a raincoat and black leather gloves, his entire life is turned upside down. The woman lives and is the first surviving victim of a notorious serial killer, which sparks Sam's interest in forming his own investigation. As the clues begin to unravel, Sam soon becomes a pawn in this murder's vicious scheme.

This newly restored 4K presentation from the original 35mm Techniscope/Chromoscope 2-perf film negative in 1080p high definition with it's original widescreen aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and a DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono (48kHz, 24-bit), is far better (and more contrasty) than other editions of the film that have been released on disc in the past few years, including the VCI and Blue Underground releases that shared the same HD master Color is at least as good as those older editions, but more wide-ranging. The original mono Italian and English soundtracks (lossless on the Blu-ray Disc) are also included in this edition, which also features a standard DVD presentation of the film in lesser quality. However, it does NOT have the multi-channel sound upgrades the Blue Underground edition offers that is one of the many reasons that out-of-print edition is going for so much.

We bet this edition will be as pricey when it sells out.

Special Features...

New audio commentary by Troy Howarth, author of So Deadly, So Perverse: 50 Years of Italian Giallo Films

The Power of Perception, a new visual essay on the cinema of Dario Argento by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas, author of Devil's Advocates: Suspiria and Rape-Revenge Films: A Critical Study

New analysis of the film by critic Kat Ellinger

New interview with writer/director Dario Argento

New interview with actor Gildo Di Marco (Garullo the Pimp)

Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Candice Tripp

Double-sided fold-out poster

6 Lobby Card reproductions

Limited edition 60-page booklet illustrated by Matthew Griffin, featuring an appreciation of the film by Michael Mackenzie, and new writing by Howard Hughes and Jack Seabrook.

This is a great time for Argento fans, as many great discs have been announced in recent days and are coming later this year including Synapse's recent release of Phenomena (the steelbook is a web only exclusive and a standard edition has been announced for this fall) and Blue Underground's upcoming three disc Blu-ray of The Stendhal Syndrome. Arrow also has plans to make a few more notable additions to their library by Argento, it has been rumored.

Hopefully, Synapse can get their remaster of Suspiria to the presses soon, as everybody and their brother has been waiting for it. For now, though, this fantastic new release is enough to get us through the hot summer.

This is our latest look at the film, one we've covered often over the years. For more on the film, start with this link to our coverage of the Blue Underground Blu-ray, which offers links to even more coverage...


- James Lockhart



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