BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE
L’UCCELLO DALLE PIUME DI CRISTALLO
1970, AGFA, 96 min, Italy/West Germany, Dir: Dario Argento

Director Dario Argento’s debut feature film was a huge success all over the world and served to codify the classic giallo thriller formula like no picture before or since. Visiting American writer Sam Dalmas (Tony Musante) witnesses an attempted murder when he becomes trapped in the foyer of a small art gallery. Although our hero has failed to glimpse the assailant’s face, the black-clad killer nevertheless starts dogging his trail when not busy dispatching beautiful young women. Suzy Kendall, as Musante’s girl, is stupendous as always, and a great catalogue of character actors joins in the fun, including disturbed gallery owner Eva Renzi, hitman Reggie Nalder and itinerant, cat-loving painter Mario Adorf. A pure giallo lover’s delight from beginning to end, with perhaps Ennio Morricone’s all-time greatest giallo score.


REDS
1981, Paramount, 195 min, USA, Dir: Warren Beatty

A love triangle between radical journalist John Reed (Warren Beatty, who also produced, directed and cowrote the film), socialite Louise Bryant (Diane Keaton) and playwright Eugene O'Neill (Jack Nicholson) gives a human dimension to this insightful look at the birth of communism. Framing the narrative are remembrances from a number of Reed’s contemporaries, whose perspectives bring the era’s optimism and disappointments into even sharper focus. The film earned 12 Academy Award nominations, including wins for Beatty’s direction, Maureen Stapleton’s supporting performance (as activist Emma Goldman) and Vittorio Storaro’s breathtaking cinematography.


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