The Bird With The Crystal Plumage (1970/Blue Underground Blu-ray)
Picture: B- Sound: C+ Extras: B- Film: B-
Argento’s Bird With The Crystal Plumage
(1970) is the first of his best films and began what became his distinctive
giallo look. A good murder mystery, as
well as stylish and still graphic, we have covered the film in two previous DVD
editions and are happy to finally see it come to Blu-ray. You can read about the film in those DVD
versions as follows:
Umbrella PAL DVD
looked better than prints (especially TV pan and scan copies) that were going
around for years and though I had not seen Blue Underground’s DVD set of the
film, I was anxious to see what they would do with their Blu-ray and except for
some minor complains, it plays back very well under the circumstances.
the print and sound need more restoration work, the print here used for this
1080p 2.35 x 1 digital High Definition presentation is so color superior to the
previous DVDs that it makes them irrelevant.
Red was always the hardest color to pull off (including the blood) and
it is much better here than before, as are details and depth, plus framing is
better than the previous editions. There
is grain and some noise where there should not be, as well as some damage on
the print, but you can really see the vision that later made Suspiria leading to the peak of the
director’s work. This looks much more
like Director of Photography Vittorio Storaro’s work.
also four multi-channel soundtracks. The
only Italian option is Dolby Digital 5.1 EX, but you get English Dolby Digital
5.1 EX for older systems, Dolby TrueHD 7.1 and DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1. The DTS is about even with the TrueHD, but
stretching the old monophonic audio (save the great score by Ennio Morricone
inserted here in stereo) only goes so far, but both of the 7.1 mixes are still
better than the mono audio on the DVD versions we covered. Combined with the picture, the film comes to
life nicely despite limits in both.
international & Italian trailers for this film, TV spots for this film,
plus four making of interview featurettes (separately featuring Argento,
Storaro, Morricone and Renzi) and feature length audio commentary with
journalists (et al) Alan Jones and Kim Newmano.
That makes this version of Bird
With The Crystal Plumage the one to own.
- Nicholas Sheffo