The Bird With the Crystal Plumage

Director: Dario Argento
Year Released: 1970
Rating: 2.0

An American writer sees a woman getting attacked in an art gallery, tries to help her and find himself in the middle of a nasty serial killer investigation (the point seems to be: curiosity is a dangerous thing). For a first feature, this is remarkably confident filmmaking, although it's apparent even early on that despite Argento's technical ability, his ability to tell a coherent story is not (and never has been) his strong suit - the conclusion to this is so baffling that he needs to reference the ending to Hitchcock's Psycho and bring in a 'psychiatrist' to explain the motivation for the killings. In other words, it's an above average giallo - most of the ones I've seen have been regretfully unexceptional - and definitely not Argento's best work but certainly more impressive than everything he would make after Phenomena. The less said (or even thought) about the function of the title bird in the movie's plot, the better.