Splatter Time Fun Fest 2011: L’uccello Dalle Piume Di Cristallo (The Bird With The Crystal Plumage, 1970)

Splatter Time Fun Fest 2011 reminds me why every October needs some Dario Argento!

Written By: Dario Argento
Directed By: Dario Argento

I love making my way through the career of Dario Argento. Even the films of his that aren’t very good are always a great experience to discover. L’uccello Dalle Piume Di Cristallo isn’t one of his bad movies, but it is a very interesting film in how it stacks up against the rest of his body of work. L’uccello Dalle Piume Di Cristallo dispels the very incorrect notion that Maestro Argento has built a career on movies that are strictly atmospheric. Don’t get me wrong, L’uccello Dalle Piume Di Cristallo is full of atmosphere, but it’s also a movie with a clear theme and it highlights a very distinct fetish of a director.

It’s always interesting to go back to a director’s early work after having explored his later work. While it is true that I have come to love Maestro Argento’s films for his ability to create mood and atmosphere, going back to L’uccello Dalle Piume Di Cristallo has allowed me to see the personal fetish that drives all of his films. Obsession is at the heart of L’uccello Dalle Piume Di Cristallo, from both the hero and the villains. Sam Dalmas is obsessed with solving the crime, with ferreting out the truth. Alberto Ranieri is obsessed with proving his love to his wife. Monica Ranieri is obsessed with driving out the demons of her past. Meanwhile Maestro Argento is obsessed with the idea of obsession, and the trouble that characters can get into because of their obsession. This fetish is present in every one of his films I have seen, but it is in L’uccello Dalle Piume Di Cristallo that he most loudly expresses that fetish.

Even with a new found appreciation for the fetishistic depth of Maestro Argento I can’t help but smile adoringly at the craft of the Italian director. L’uccello Dalle Piume Di Cristallo is full of patterns, every location that is visited has some sort of elaborate pattern at play. Sam’s apartment is featured a lot, but during one conversation he had with Inspector Morosini I was mesmerized by the different patterns in the shot. As the two men sit and converse at the table there are two different pictures with distinct patterns on them, a brick section of the wall that has a pattern, a wallpaper pattern that is intricate, a loud tablecloth pattern and a unique fabric pattern on every kitchen shelf. L’uccello Dalle Piume Di Cristallo is full of distinct and visually interesting patterns. My eyes were in a constant state of overdrive taking in all the visual pleasures that Maestro Argento was serving up.

Maestro Argento uses all the tools at his disposal to create a tense mood, one of foreboding and intrigue. It all comes back to atmosphere with an Argento film. I know I am beginning to sound repetitive with the amount of times I am bringing up the ideas of mood and atmosphere. There’s no way for me to avoid these dalliances, there is a reason that Maestro Argento’s films are recognized as very atmospheric and moody. His visuals, the ways his actors implement their craft a bit off kilter, and the score from Ennio Morricone. All of these are ways that maestro Argento creates his unique mood, his atmosphere of dread, and the film is a master class in both elements.

There are some deficiencies in the story of L’uccello Dalle Piume Di Cristallo, but not enough to hurt the film. The truth of the matter is that I was too busy enjoying the fetishes on display, getting lost in the patterns, and taking in the atmosphere to care much about the story weaknesses. Most fans of Giallo horror have already seen L’uccello Dalle Piume Di Cristallo, as have most fans of Maestro Argento. That beings said, all movie fans should take a gander at the beginnings of a great career in cinema, and the first work of one of the true masters of horror. L’uccello Dalle Piume Di Cristallo weaves a distinctive pattern for the viewer, it weaves a pattern of pure enjoyment.

Rating:

***1/2

Cheers,
Bill

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4 responses to “Splatter Time Fun Fest 2011: L’uccello Dalle Piume Di Cristallo (The Bird With The Crystal Plumage, 1970)

  1. Mark Middlemas

    Morricone and Argento? Argh. I’m mad that I haven’t taken the time to watch this yet.

  2. Not only that, but it’s Argento’s first ever foray into the world of directing. For shame Mark, for shame. (>_< )

  3. Pingback: Splatter Time Fun Fest 2011: The 2nd Annual Bloody Machete Awards | Bill's Movie Emporium

  4. Pingback: Postulating & Pontificating: Horror Bonanza! | Bill's Movie Emporium

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