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The Bird With the Crystal Plumage on dual format in June

29 March 2017

In 1970, young first-time director Dario Argento (Deep Red, Suspiria) made his indelible mark on Italian cinema with The Bird with the Crystal Plumage – a film which redefined the ‘giallo’ genre of murder-mystery thrillers and catapulted him to international stardom.

Sam Dalmas (Tony Musante – We Own the Night), an American writer living in Rome, inadvertently witnesses a brutal attack on a woman (Eva Renzi – Funeral in Berlin) in a modern art gallery. Powerless to help, he grows increasingly obsessed with the incident. Convinced that something he saw that night holds the key to identifying the maniac terrorising Rome, he launches his own investigation parallel to that of the police, heedless of the danger to both himself and his girlfriend Giulia (Suzy Kendall – Spasmo)…

A staggeringly assured debut, The Bird with the Crystal Plumage establishes the key traits that would define Argento’s filmography, including lavish visuals and a flare for wildly inventive, brutal scenes of violence. With sumptuous cinematography by Vittorio Storaro (Apocalypse Now) and a seductive score by legendary composer Ennio Morricone (Once Upon a Time in the West), this landmark film has never looked or sounded better in this new, 4K-restored limited edition from Arrow Video.

The Bird With the Crystal Plumage is such an confident and beautifully constructed film that it’s almost impossible to believe it was Dario Argento’s debut. And it doesn’t bear thinking about that, without this, there may be no Deep Red, Suspiria, Inferno or Phenomena. Blending together a murder-mystery plot with grisly violence and a sense of the Grand Guignol, The Bird With the Crystal Plumage definitively set the tone for what would become Argento’s golden era.

All the traits are there for anyone familiar with Argento’s films - an outsider in Italy trying to solve a murder that they alone witnessed and becoming so utterly obsessed with the investigation that they attract even more violence. The engaging story is interspersed with scenes of stalking and gruesome murders, deftly blending procedural mystery and horror in what would become one of Argento’s signatures. All this is highlighted by a stunning score, which demonstrates how important sound would become in the director’s oeuvre throughout this period.

Argento has continued to play with this format throughout his career. He’s pushed the boundaries of genre, adding in elements of the psychological thriller (Deep Red, Tenebrae), the supernatural (Suspiria) and even science fiction (Phenomena), while switching a more traditional score for prog rock with later titles, but it’s a true delight to see his first, devastatingly brilliant effort here, gloriously restored and with a host of fascinating extras that fans and newcomers alike will love.

The Bird With the Crystal Plumage
will be released as a Dual Format Limited Edition by Arrow Video on 19 June 2017 at the RRP of £29.99.

Limited Edition contents:

  • Brand new 4K restoration of the film from the camera negative in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio, produced by Arrow Video exclusively for this release
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
  • Original mono Italian and English soundtracks (lossless on the Blu-ray Disc)
  • English subtitles for the Italian soundtrack
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtrack
  • 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
  • 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