The Bird with the Crystal Plumage 2020 German Blu-ray review

The 2020 German Blu-ray of Dario Argento’s debut giallo THE BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE is uncut and includes English, German and Italian audio options, but no English subtitles (in fact, there are no subs at all).

The Packaging:

This single-disc edition comes in an Amaray case, the artwork is the same on both sides of the sleeve, the reverside is just free from the blue “FSK-16” age restriction label.

The image:

Colours are pleasant, perhaps a little over-saturated when compared to the previous home video presentations. Film grain looks natural and very well-resolved. The level of detail is impressive and there are no compression issues. Could the transfer be the same one that’s been used for the Arrow blu-ray?

The Disc Menu:

The disc starts with a menu screen for trailers of three PIDAX releases. These SD trailers are newly-created, sloppily edited affairs, none of them Argento-related.

Fairly boring main menu offers audio selection and the sub-menu lets you navigate the main film via eight chapter stops.

The extras:

  • original German-language cinema release cut of the film, taken from a shoddy SD master. This grubby, letterboxed and pretty much unwatchable mess is a reminder of how awful the older German DVD presentations of the film looked.
  • a slideshow of the film’s German lobby cards. This is the only enjoyable extra in HD. Nothing grounbreaking, but colourful and brief.
  • three international trailers for the main feature in standard def.

The 2020 PIDAX single Blu-ray edition of Dario Argento’s THE BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE is English-friendly offers the classic 1970s Italian thriller in a decent hi-def transfer but is thin on extras.

SUSPIRIA (2018) official trailer

With its muted colours and only a hint at stylized murder set pieces, the SUSPIRIA remake trailer is bound to divide fans’ opinions. This is not the candy-coloured fairy tale many generations of horror lovers have come to know and love. The filmmakers’ decision to shoot in Berlin (Argento’s original was filmed mainly in Munich) is an interesting one, and they certainly have captured the German capital’s urban decay vividly. It’s too early to tell but Guadagnino’s film could be a winner.

Argento’s Animal Trilogy at Filmrauschpalast Berlin

FilmrauschpalastGoing to the cinema nowadays can be deadly boring, unless you’re a rabid Marvel or Star Wars fan. Thankfully, there’s still a handful of places for non-mainstream film lovers in Berlin. Situated in Berlin-Moabit, Filmrauschpalast cinema has been hosting midnight film marathons under the WIR KINDER VOM BAHNHOFSKINO banner for over a year now, showing everything from 1980s Arnold Schwarzenegger epics to the works of Lucio Fulci, Lamberto Bava and Stuart Gordon. The latest, eighteenth, screening offered the audience a chance to revisit Argento’s classic Animal Trilogy.

Although the Bahnhofskino team are big lovers of analog medium and often screen rare 35mm prints, this time the three films were screened digitally in remastered versions. Still, there was one delightfully grainy trailer projected from celluloid film during the intermission.

Seeing Argento’s early films back-to-back gave one a clear sensation of witnessing three iterations of the same basic narrative. The fact that the same supporting actors (Fulvio Mingozzi, Umberto Raho, Jaques Stany, Tom Felleghy, etc.) pop up in all three films further added to the feeling of watching a seamless whole, one long giallo.

As per Bahnhofskino tradition, complimentary schnapps was served throughout the screening, keeping the audience’s spirits high and prompting more interaction with the screen.filmrauschpalast moabitTHE BIRD WITH CRYSTAL PLUMAGE (1970) Comedy relief scenes with Werner Peters as the camp antiquarian and Mario Adorf as the cat-eating recluse went down great with the audience, with certain awkwardly-dubbed lines having the viewers in stitches.

THE CAT O’NINE TAILS (1971) It was great to revisit this underrated second entry into the trilogy. While the infamous static love scene was met with roaring laughter, the tense rooftop finale left the audience speechless. The viewers also had an opportunity to take home a Bluray of THE CAT O’NINE TAILS at a discount price.

FOUR FLIES ON GREY VELVET (1971) This gaudy, disjointed and over-indulgent giallo worked surprisingly well at 2 a.m. after another round of schnapps. Jean-Pierre Marielle as the hapless private investigator Arrosio positively steals the show from his younger and prettier co-stars. The overwrought finale with the killer’s redundant babbling monologue provided more chuckles.

Unlike their Tobe Hooper tribute screening, there was no surprise fourth feature to round off this night of kitschy thrills at the Filmrauschpalast. May there be many more such midnight screenings to come.