fri 21/06/2024

DVD/Blu-ray: The Bird With the Crystal Plumage | reviews, news & interviews

DVD/Blu-ray: The Bird With the Crystal Plumage

DVD/Blu-ray: The Bird With the Crystal Plumage

Definitive restoration of horror auteur Dario Argento’s landmark directorial debut

Watch out, the slasher’s about

A well-known internet sales site currently offers seven previous home cinema editions of The Bird With the Crystal Plumage. Some are DVD or Blu-ray only, others are on both formats – increasing the amount of packages on offer. Only a brave company would enter such a crowded market with another version of the film to take the total to eight. Yet, here we are with a new dual format DVD/ Blu-ray edition.

Despite the spiffy packaging – including a limited-run configuration with a 60-page booklet, a poster and postcards – and fresh extras – including a new interview with director Dario Argento, a fresh commentary and more – the film itself takes centre stage. In its uncut form, the release features a new 4K restoration from the camera negative. It looks and sounds unlike any other version. The image clarity brings a new crispness, colours are more bold and the contrasts – though natural – are enhanced. Smearing, which seemed endemic to previous versions, is absent. The dialogue track – in English and Italian (both are available) is similarly sharp and Ennio Morricone’s music sounds bolder than ever.

Originally released in 1970, Italian horror auteur Dario Argento’s giallo-slanted directorial debut was completed after a few years as a scriptwriter. Though arty, it is less assured than the similarly Blow Up-influenced Deep Red (1975). While  setting its stall as seminal post-Mario Bava slasher cinema (with the attendant misogyny), some of its lumpiness derives from a multi-national cast which doesn't gel. Tony Musante is clunky as American writer Sam Dalmas and his girlfriend Julia (Suzy Kendall) is superfluous. Argento's balance between shocks and style only bedded in with his third film Four Flies on Grey Velvet (1972).

Nonetheless, The Bird With the Crystal Plumage is a rare example of a genre film which breaches categorial boundaries. Regardless of its status as horror, this is landmark cinema which finally has the home cinema edition it deserves.

Despite the spiffy packaging the film itself takes centre stage: it looks and sounds unlike any previous version


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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