Feb 7, 2010

Posted in 1950s & 1960s, DVD/Blue Ray, European Films, Italy

The Bird with the Crystal Plumage [Blu-ray] (1969)

The Bird with the Crystal Plumage [Blu-ray] (1969)

Sam Dalmas (Tony Musante) is an American writer currently living in Rome with his model girlfriend Giulia (Suzy Kendall). Suffering from a writer’s block, Sam is on the verge of returning to the U.S., but witnesses the attack of a woman (Eva Renzi) by a mysterious black-gloved assailant dressed in a raincoat.

Attempting to reach her, Sam is trapped between two mechanically-operated glass doors and can only watch as the villain makes his escape. The woman, Monica Ranieri, the wife of the gallery’s owner, survives the attack, but the local police confiscates Sam’s passport to stop him from leaving the country; the assailant is believed to be a serial killer who is terrorizing the city, and they believe the writer to be an important witness.

Sam is haunted by what he saw that night, feeling sure that some vital clue is evading him, and soon finds that both he and his girlfriend are the killer’s new targets.
Receiving menacing phone calls he manages to isolate an odd cricketing noise in the background, which is later revealed to be the call of a rare bird from the Southern Caucasus, called “The Bird with Crystal Plumage” due to the diaphanous glint of its feathers. This proves important since the only one of its kind in Rome is kept in the Italian capital’s zoo, allowing Sam and the police to identify the killer’s abode.

In the end, Sam chases the mysterious assailant through a darkened building. He is trapped once more, this time pinned to the floor by release of a wall-sized sculpture of wire and metal. Unable to free himself, he becomes the prey of the person he was pursuing—the attractive, deranged wife of the gallery owner. This climax to the mystery, with strong sado-masochistic elements, has the knife-wielding lady teasing Sam in preparation to stabbing him. She fails, of course, and Sam provides the obligatory wrap-up scene with his girlfriend.

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