The Bird With the Crystal Plumage (1970)

Dario Argento directs Tony Musante, Suzy Kendall and Eva Renzi in this giallo mystery where an American writer interrupts a murder in Rome and finds himself heading the investigation into the crime.

A real joy of a thriller. The mystery has quirky red herrings, obtuse clues and alluring victims. The subversive set piece where we are trapped in a glass airlock helplessly watching a murder unfold. The thrill of our protagonist being chased by an weathered old assassin in a custard yellow sports jacket. The oh-so Argento moments where we ogle a stunning nameless lady, knowing full well her diverting introduction to the movie exists only for us to see her stalked and killed. That urgent, manic Ennio Morricone score. The killer revealed, long after loose ends seem all tied up. A rustic painting of a sex crime. Cat meat. This is Hitchcock with the brakes cut. This is Agatha Christie or Patricia Highsmith’s worst nightmare. It works as a camp artefact, just as much as it grips as a genre highpoint.

8

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