September 25th, 2010


Giallo Movie Review : The Cat O' Nine Tails - Part I of II

The Cat O'Nine Tails

Starring: James Franciscus, Karl Malden, Catherine Spaak

DIR: Dario Argento

Blurb: When a simple robbery at a research institute leads to a series of brutal murders, a blind puzzle maker and a tenacious reporter begin their own investigation of the crimes. With nine different clues to follow, they uncover a shocking web of twisted genetics and dark sexual secrets that will finally lead them to a shattering climax of violence and suspense.

Originally released in 1971, The Cat O' Nine Tails secured the international reputation of director Dario Argento as 'The Italian Hitchcock'. This is the definitive version of Argento's masterful second film, now fully remastered from its original camera negative and presented completely uncut and uncensored in widescreen for the first time ever in America.

My Blurbage: The Cat O'Nine Tails is one of the many films I was taken to as a tyke, along with my 3 years younger brother, Russ. We'd had a station wagon back then... in its day, it was the soccer-mom van. You had kids, you got a station wagon. And, being the 70s, it was about a long as an aircraft carrier with storage space behind the back seat that was close to the size of a whole room (a small one, like a bathroom, but still - it was huge space). We saw it at a drive in that used to exist in our area... I want to say that it was at John-R road and 10 mile, but that was a long while ago, and I haven't advanced in my brain-age enough quite yet to recall all of the details of childhood without remembering how to navigate my own house, yet. Close - I seem to keep forgetting that there is a corner in the hallway and constantly run my right side into it.... Anyway, this was definitely (even if it was censored in those days - and what exactly was cut, I couldn't tell you) one of the R-flicks that we probably shouldn't have seen. I only caught part of it, I think, because it was the second billed movie, which meant it was really late (for us kids) when it was on. And, it had an involved mystery plot, rather than a monster, so who cared?

But... though I did not remember seeing this film at all, there is one scene I saw on re-watch that made me sit up and shout, "Holy shit! I've seen this! This is that memory that has been plaguing my mind for years!" (I'm very verbose when I exclaim stuff to myself.) We'll discuss that more when we reach it, including the fact that I had completely, 100% misinterpreted this scene in my memory, which makes me think I probably napped through a lot of this film in the drive-in....

The usual warnings apply, including the reveal of the killer and his half-assed reasons (in giallo, the reasons for the murder spree are nearly always half-assed). Also, some of the many screen caps are corpse related.

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