An American expatriate in Rome witnesses an attempted murder. He learns later that it's connected to an ongoing murder spree in the city, and decides to do his own investigation, despite being personally targeted by the killer.
A newspaper reporter and a retired, blind journalist try to solve a series of killings connected to a pharmaceutical company's experimental, top-secret research projects and in so doing, both become targets of the killer.
A young man tries to help a teenage European girl who escaped from a clinic hospital after witnessing the murder of her parents by a serial killer and they try to find the killer before the killer finds them.
In Italy, the American writer Sam Dalmas witnesses an attempt of murder of the owner of an art gallery, Monica Ranieri, a couple of days before returning home. Inspector Morosini, who is in charge of investigating the three previous murderers of the serial-killer, asks for help to Dalmas and takes his passport. Dalmas decides to stay with his girlfriend Julia and to help the police in the investigation. The killer threatens Dalmas and Julia by phone and the police overhears a strange noise in the tape. Soon the serial killer stalks Julia and Damas. Who might be the killer?Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Although 'The Bird with the Crystal Plumage' isn't the first Giallo movie, it is credited for making the sub-genre famous and starting the trend that boomed from 1970 to 1975. See more »
Language: It's never explained whether Dalmas speaks fluent Italian, or whether all the Italians (including the imprisoned pimp) speak fluent English. Furthermore, while all of the featured magazines, newspapers, street signs are in Italian, some letters and the computer print-out at the forensics lab is for some reason in English. See more »
[final lines, voiceover]
I can hear it now: "Go to Italy. It's a peaceful country, nothing much ever happens there."
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Originally cut in the US by 20 seconds to achieve a US "G.P." rating with edits to a razor slashing (the Blue Underground DVD is uncut), and this print was then passed without further cuts for its original UK cinema release in 1970 (as "The Gallery Murders"). The film was re-released theatrically in the UK in 1983 (as "The Bird With the Crystal Plumage") and the full print submitted to the BBFC where it received 18 secs of cuts which removed all shots of a knife being traced over a woman on a bed and the slashing/removal of her nightdress and underwear. All video releases plus the 2005 Platinum Media DVD featured the same cut print, though the 2011 Arrow release finally presented the film fully uncut. See more »
Ominous music and lush cinematography override a sparse script to create a Jack-the-Ripper type thriller, which is deeply introspective, moody, and haunting.
Indeed, the script can be treacherous if used to try and solve this whodunit puzzle, which is best handled by removing psychological assumptions rather than by piecing together logical clues. Even so, the murder mystery plot is to some extent illogical.
The strength of the film though lies in its suspense, which is almost unbeatable. It rivals any of Hitchcock's works, to which it is repeatedly compared. The scene showing a knife chipping away at a wooden door is reminiscent of, and more frightening than, scenes showing bird beaks chipping away at a farmhouse door in Hitchcock's "The Birds".
I like the film too because it is so nostalgic. The reel-to-reel tape recorder and dozens of other props and visual cues, the references to philosophy and mysticism, the Morricone film score which at times sounds like the film scores from his spaghetti Westerns, all conspire to transport the viewer back to the Age of Aquarius.
The acting is fine. Tony Musante, Suzy Kendall, and Enrico Salerno are perfect for the roles they play.
This is one scary movie. Minor flaws notwithstanding, "The Bird With The Crystal Plumage" is top-notch entertainment for fans of suspense thrillers.
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