A plumed serpent ('Whaddya mean? That fuckin' bird?') is nesting in the top of the Chrysler Building, from where it swoops and gobbles up hapless New Yorkers. Cop Carradine and robber Moriarty form an uneasy alliance to flush out the beast. This is the kind of movie that used to be indispensable to the market: an imaginative, popular, low-budget picture that makes the most and more of its limited resources, and in which people get on with the job instead of standing around talking about it. Cohen knows there isn't the time or money to question the logic of anything, so he keeps his assembly so fast and deft that we're prepared to swallow whatever he tells us; and his script has much droll fun with a plot that keeps losing things ('Maybe his head just got loose and fell off'). He also gets great performances from Carradine as the cop who treats it all as part of a day's work, and (especially) Moriarty as the jittery criminal whose 15 minutes of fame ('I'm just asking for a Nixon-like pardon') leave him wondering if on some days it's better just to stay home in bed. We have no hesitation in awarding Oscars all round.
The Winged Serpent
Cast and crew