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us title: The Bird with the Crystal Plumage
italian title: L' uccello dalle piume di cristallo
year: 1970
director: Dario Argento
composer: Ennio Morricone
full details: IMDB
overall score: 90

Bottom Line: Must-See
A quintessential example of the genre.

WARNING: Spoilers Below

score analysis

How do I even begin to comment on one of the most important and influential films of the genre?

While most would agree that Mario Bava is the inventor of the Giallo as a film genre, Argento's Bird with the Crystal Plumage is as close to a perfect Giallo as you can get. 42 years after its initial release, Bird has aged well and is still an engaging thriller even by today's standards. What's even more impressive is that Bird is Argento's directorial debut and it would seem that he got it exactly right the first time.

It shouldn't be a secret that Bird is one of the primary films that influenced the criteria of the Giallo Score. Even though there were many films released as Gialli in the 7 year period between Bava's The Girl Who Knew Too Much and Bird, it's impossible to deny that Bird really jump-started the genere and established the blueprint for most of the films that followed it.

Bird satisfies all the criteria on the score except one. In the final revelation, the killer is incapacitated and captured by police - a minor omission that Argento would go on to correct in his subsequent Gialli. This exception robs the film of a perfect score, but the additional 10 points would really only be extra icing on a cake that is already completely satisfying.

Argento set the bar very high with Bird and only a few other films (including his own follow ups) have come close to repeating the success that it attains so effortlessly.

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score breakdown

Hint: Hover over a score item for more details
Staples : 50/60
Italian Director10 points
Hidden Identity10 points
Black Gloves5 points
Amateur Detective5 points
Classic Period (1970 - 1975)5 points
Motivation: Psychological Trauma/Revenge10 points
Director > 15 points
Standards : 30/30
Body Count >= 34 points
Flashback Revelation3 points
Italian Location3 points
Mistaken Identity2 points
More than one killer or accomplice4 points
Morricone/Nicolai/Ortolani3 points
Nude Scene >= 13 points
Suspects >= 34 points
Urban Location4 points
Signatures : 13/10
Airplane1 point
Animal, Number, Color, or "Death" in title1 point
Chase scene1 point
Comic Relief Character1 point
Death from Falling1 point
Foreigner1 point
J&B1 point
Odd Clue1 point
Photography/Glamor/Modeling/Art1 point
Psychologist1 point
Spiral Stairs1 point
Taunting1 point
Visual Misinterpretation1 point
Total Points : 90/100



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Published: 2012-09-13