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Q&A with Dario Argento on June 17
For his seminal directorial debut, Argento took Fredric Brown’s 1949 novel The Screaming Mimi and transformed it into a horror-inflected whodunit of voyeuristic delirium. Sam (Tony Musante), an American writer living in Rome, witnesses a vicious knife attack on a beautiful woman (Eva Renzi) inside an art gallery. After the police fail to make any progress in the case—and confiscate his passport, preventing him from leaving the country—Sam becomes obsessed with uncovering the black-leather-gloved assailant’s identity. Featuring one of Ennio Morricone’s most distinct scores, The Bird with the Crystal Plumage marked the emergence of a singular artistic sensibility, and anticipated the extreme directions taken by Argento in his subsequent films: the director’s signature foregrounding of vivid cinematic techniques—from dizzying POV sequences to gory slo-mo—are on display here, fully formed and boldly provocative. 4K digital restoration by Cinecittà.