The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970) (Remastered) (Blu-ray/DVD Review)

The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970) (Remastered) (Blu-ray/DVD Review)
Directed By: Dario Argento
Starring: Tony Musante, Enrico Maria Salerno, Umberto Raho
Rated: UR/Region A/2:35/1080p/Number of Discs 2
Available from Arrow Video

An American writer traveling in Rome is the only witness to an attempted murder by a sinister man in a raincoat and black leather gloves, though he is powerless to do anything to stop him. With a feeling that something is not quite right about the scene he has witnessed and the police’s inability to make any progress, he launches his own personal investigation and nearly loses his life in the process. While this modern day Jack-the-Ripper type is slithering through the dark byways of Rome slicing up pretty girls.

This is a movie I’ve run across a number of times having reviewed both the old VCI DVD and then later the VCI Blu-ray that came out and was sought after during a time when the Blue Underground Blu-ray was long out of print. Arrow gives the film the 4K treatment here and then piles on a cool package and extras making it easily the essential version of the film. We have here the film that started it all for Argento fans! And here early on we can see all the things we enjoy about Argento. The film does have a slower pace, but still packs an interesting plot that leads to a big twist at the end. I do wish we had more gore in this one, but that would come later with other films by this talented director. Still, we have a great setting, good acting, and a very awesome plot. If you love stuff like Deep Red and Tenbre you will be very happy with what you end up with here in, The Bird with the Crystal Plumage.

The mystery of who did and what was done here is a very interesting one. Like you expect, we have a few people it could end up being and it is somewhat a shock when we find out the ending results. Like I said above the only thing I’d change is I do wish we had more gore, but outside of that it is a solid effort from a legend behind the camera back when he was in full steamrolling mode. As for the transfer, the Blu-ray is above and beyond the other two, we’ve already seen from Blue Underground or VCI. Neither of those looked bad, but this one tops it with the scan. You could argue the old VCI one was a little soft but that isn’t the case here, as this is easily the best this film has ever and probably will ever look.

Extras

– 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

Quality of Transfer: 100%