Argento didn't have the same character and storytelling skill as Hitchcock, nor was his plotting ever a sly as De Palma, but he's a master when he gives his style a lushness and his setpieces come hard and fast. This is his first film, and he isn't fully formed in that yet. As its comedy and erratic characterizations (that is oddly nearly absent in his other later films) keep this uneven and typical Giallo watchable.
Rewatch of a 4K restoration. Argento was never good at constructing plots that make sense, but he *was* good at constructing scenes that are memorable in and of themselves. A woman in my screening who had never seen this before audibly gasped when Giulia sees the killer come up the stairs after her, and several people 'oooo'ed when Carlo describes the titular bird...almost like seeing it for the first time.
Dario Argento's directorial debut is an effective little crime thriller that has great visual touches and a few sick moments. The violence is also refreshingly restrained with it's gore and this feels almost like it could have been a Hitchcock movie if he had decided to go the Italian route and do a giallo. The set piece with the hero trapped between two glass doors while the killer moves in on him is fantastic.
In all of cinema few can compete with Argento's talent with a set piece, and Bird packs some wonders. It will be a while before he brings that weightless quality to entire films, but here we have an accomplished debut with a delightfully silly mystery at its core. Like De Palma and Hitchcock, he successfully makes us complicit as participant in horrors we might decry.
Honestly, there are very few gialli that I truly love. For all the talk of how "wildly stylish" they are, this usually only applies to a couple of scenes, while the rest of the film is dishwater dull. Argento's debut is hardly the bonafide masterpiece it's often touted as. Profondo Rosso and Tenebrae really show just how far the genre can take it in terms of narrative and style. This is just flat.
Argento's debut directorial effort didn't so much engender a genre as concretize one, and w/ it a template was set down that would be repurposed by countless filmmakers up to today. BIRD isn't just one of my favourite debuts, it is one of my favourite movies, extremely stylistically rich and cunning in its situation of the spectator. The first (attempted) murder set piece is inarguably one of cinema's very finest.
A precursor to what Argento would further perfect in Suspiria and Deep Red. All of Argento's films look incredible and this is no exception. Shot by the one and only Vittorio Storaro, Argento's film still holds a punch - even if it is sillier, stupider, and less engaging as his other work.
The Bird with the Crystal Plumage is an assured debut that boasts many of the things that would later become the director's trademark, but one has to wonder what Dario Argento might have achieved if a credible writer would have handed him down a plausible script without all of the contrived plot devices and ludicrous dialogue. Sit down, suspend disbelief, and take in all of the violently beautiful compositions.
Surprisingly sober for an Argento and probably one of his better offerings. The point of view murder scenes are effective, as are the zany characters here and there (the painter, the hitman with the yellow jacket, the stuttering informer). The ending is a bit rushed and you can guess the killer miles away, but I guess that's the point.
7 - A spectacular, if imperfect debut. Argento avoids overestimating his own abilities, along with other rookie pitfalls (minus some sonorous overindulgence), to deliver a fine-tuned prototype of what would come to define him; beautiful locales, expertly captured, and a far-fetched plot seasoned with some potent chills. His trademark use of perspective also has its genesis here.