harsens_rob (harsens_rob) wrote,
harsens_rob
harsens_rob

Cat O' Nine Tails review, Part II of II


Scene 28: Back with Giordano, we see him sitting behind Franco's desk in the Arno apartment - and he smokes, too! Could Giordano be the killer this whole time? I mean, he's SMOKING! How can he not be at least slightly evil and degenerate?!

He is sitting with Franco and making a list of everyone who is connected with Calabresi and the rather thin clues (the missing photographs & attempted robbery of the Institute).


Commentary: Giordano dares to wear red socks with dark brown loafers and light tan pants... is this a clue that he's a sociopathic killer?


Giordano comes up with 9 leads to investigate, which let's him shout out the movie title. The phone rings and when Franco answers...


Scene 29: ... It's Bianca Merusi. She tells him flat out that she has discovered who killed her fiance. Does she call the police? Don't be daft. And, tell me true, does she immediately spill the name of the killer - Oh, please. And, does she immediately leave her apartment for a nice, crowded and public place when she is startled by strange noises in her apartment? Hah! How's about rushing to the neighbors and asking if she can come in to call the police because there may be an intruder in her home connected to her dead fiance? No, no, not necessary. I'm sure it will be fine.

Oh, that noise? It was a quiet bang in another room - she asks Franco to stay on the line with her while she checks it out.


Commentary: I want to berate her, but actually, how many times have I heard footsteps (or what I think is footsteps) in the house and feel the need to go check it out? One of these days, there is going to be somebody there and I'm going to have a heart attack, get shot or stabbed. Of course, I didn't just have my fiance murdered and am carrying around the only solid evidence of who did it, either. I might be slightly more circumspect about checking out strange noises under those circumstances... of course, I probably wouldn't make my first call under those circumstances to a crossword puzzle creator, either. And, I probably would just, you know, actually tell what I found immediately, rather than insisting on waiting until I could meet somebody in person to turn over the name. In fact, I'd probably call everyone I had ever met so that there would be no purpose to killing me - but then, I'm not in a movie where it is very rare to meet anyone who acts like they've ever run across the usual cliches before in films of their own.


Her investigations turn up the bathroom window ajar and banging in the breeze. After she leaves the bathroom, we see the killer brush against the shower curtain. She goes back to the phone and tells Franco that she needs to stay out of the police's way for personal reasons and asks him to come for the proof and turn it over to the police on her behalf. Now, does she also share the identity of the killer's name on her note - No, no she does not. Instead, she states that she'll be right over to Franco's... I think we know this is a lie. But, we can also state for a fact that even though she also smokes, she's not the killer.

She hears another noise from the hallway of her apartment (and the walls are covered in this material that seems to serve no purpose, except to collect dust and be impossible to keep clean). Does she panic and get the F out of there while she can? No. No, she does not. Instead, she chooses to go check it out - again - just how many windows does she think happen to have come open? GET OUT OF THE APARTMENT - DON'T WORRY ABOUT LOOKING SILLY, WOMAN!

She ignores me.


Commentary: Okay, remember My Blurbage at the top - the part about how I mis-remembered a scene that haunted me, but didn't know it came from this flick... You know what, just go back and read the blurbs and then come back - I got all day:

Okay, well this scene coming up is it. The scene that has haunted my thoughts for... I don't know - over 30 years?! Jeezus, time flies. Anyway, this is what I thought I remembered... I thought there was a monster who lived in the ductwork and it sends tentacles out and wraps around her throat and strangles the life out of her, causing her to cough up blood-specked vomit all over the floor. It was the choking up vomit part that caused this scene to stick in my head, even though the whole monster thing was way wrong - I can only think this was bottom-billed with a monster film of some sort and that's why I wanted to make this a monster film, too. It may have been paired with NIGHTWING, a killer bat movie - which would be a non-sensical pairing, but exactly what a dipshit drive-in would do. The pairings tended to be utterly random. So anyway, I remembered tentacle strangling, blood and vomit, and her face with her eyes wide open.



Bianca walks cautiously down her hallway. She finds nothing, but as she's making her way back toward the living room, a closet door bursts open and knocks her into the wall, bloodying her nose. Before she really knows what just happened, the cord of strangulation wraps around her neck. She puts up quite a bit of a fight, actually, and is able to unwrap herself from the Cord of Death. But then she goes and falls, like so many women before and after her - because women can't stop themselves from falling over their own two feet whenever they're threatened - sorry ladies, but it's true. Adrenaline and being under threat of imminent murder makes your feet clumsy - it's biology.

So, the Cord of Death finds its way back around her throat and this time she can't spin her way out of it. And, this scene is pretty harsh. As she's being strangled (much more slowly than photog guy, because again of biology - men die quicker than women) her head jerks her chin into the carpeting and she has pink spittle running from her mouth - not exactly the vomit I remember, but still a pretty intense detail to add to her death throes.

The image that stayed with me so many years.

We, via the Killer-POV, searches Bianca's purse and the watch around her neck, but we don't find the note taped into the hidden compartment there. We leave disappointed.


Scene 30: The following day, Carlo informs Franco that Bianca never showed the night previously because she had been murdered. Blind Puzzle maker also has some news to report. That morning, he received a note made out of newpaper clippings. It's in Italian, so I can't read a word, but the Killer emphasized something using red letters, which is a nice touch. It is obviously a threat, and I thought I remembered the note being read aloud, but maybe that's later or another note. Anyway, Franco is concerned enough that he reports he sent Lori away for her own safety.

Carlo says the sensible thing would be to drop their little investigation (Well, yes, but also sensible? Calling the F-ing police!). He also tells Franco that one of their suspects, Cardoni, was fired from his last position, which is fishy, but he has no details, yet. Franco reminds him that everyone has something that would smell fishy to a stranger in our lives.


Commentary: Karl Malden does some very nice acting while James is reciting his lines. It is very clear that the character has been deeply shaken by the note and the fact the killer knows where he lives and what he has been up to. This had been a Scooby-Doo mystery - an intellectual game, until this point. Now, suddenly it's become a bit too real and bit too close to home and his body language is conveying all of this.

James does some nice acting too as he gets ready to leave. You can see him consider whether he should ask if Franco wants to quit, but then decides against it, instead revealing a new detail he's discovered...



... That detail is that Braun is living an awfully high life, leading Giordani to wonder where all of his money is coming from (remember he suggested industrial espionage as a motive to Braun himself).


Scene 31: We cut to Mr. Terzi at his office. He answers his door and Braun is there, requesting an audience with him. He says there is something important to be discussed.


Scene 32: At the same time, Carlo is meeting with Dr. Casoni (the dark haired, handsome scientist). He tells the reporter he has to share something confidential. Dr. Casoni shares that they're close to creating a wonder-drug in the labs that will eliminate hereditary disease once and for all (Yeah, okay - excuse me if I don't hold my breath). He also gives us the genetics-for-dummies lesson and brings up the studies they're doing into the XYY abnormality. Here Dr. Casoni quotes the results of a study done in America (which I believe is factual) which showed that a high percentage of murderers in state prisons had the XYY genetic anomaly suggesting a link between this gene structure and abnormal levels of aggression and violence (this has since been disputed and the original study deemed flawed and biased, but at the time of this movie, it seemed to be explaining the impulse to kill indiscriminately).

Dr. Casoni reasons that penal and psychoanalytical theory will be revolutionized as we can now or soon screen children at birth and then isolate any of those found to have the aggression causing XYY gene (Uh, sure - in a totalitarian society, maybe). This leads Carlo to reason that Dr. Casoni may be leading up to a theory about the recent spate of murders surrounding the Terzi Institute.

He confirms this, but refuses to reveal what he suspects, stating he values his life too highly (Uh, you have a REPORTER in your office - don't you think you've crossed that bridge!).


Scene 33: In a lab, a pair of gloved hands is doing something science-y related. It is lab technician who's name I can't recall, but he has a bushy beard and glasses. He has apparently just been asked if he has any thoughts on the murders and who could be behind them, but denies giving it any thought (Yeah, sure). He suggests that things have just been a series of accidents and the police and reporters (and he's talking to Carlo - apparently the reporter credentials give you full access to secured labs doing sensitive government lab work - who knew) are trying to find connections where they don't exist (he speaks as if he is aware of at least two deaths - one is definitely Dr. Calabresi - but it's hard to see either Righetto or Bianca as accidents unless they 'accidentally' strangled themselves to death and then the cord got up and wandered off - these lines are stupid ... or he thinks the assault on the guard and attempted robbery was also an 'accident', which is equally stupid).

Carlo asks about the XYY gene and the test that can be used to detect it. He tells lab tech guy that Professor Terzi told him about it. Bushy Beard reports that 500 people or so have participated in the testing, including everyone at the Institute - but naturally, the what must be high number of employees at the Institute, will in no way affect Carlo's investigation, since he'll only focus on our name players and ergo all of the nameless scientists, other lab techs, secretaries, guards, janitors, building maintenance or data entry personnel will not be included in his winnowing his way through possible suspects.

Lab Tech guy tersely tells him he has work to get back to. Once Carlo leaves though, he goes straight to the phone and punches the button for Director Terzi.


Scene 34: Elsewhere, our killer is injecting something into triangular cartons. This will turn out to be milk, home delivered to Carlo Giordani.


Commentary: Triangular?! That seems like an awfully awkward shape to choose for milk cartons. I'm not saying Italy didn't use them, I'm just saying it was a bizarre choice - as proven out later when we'll see James fumble around with them.


So, the killer leaves the poisoned pyramid-cartons in front of Carlo's door for him to pick up later. We POV our way to the front door of the building, but Carlo has returned home a bit earlier than we'd like. Fortunately we're able to duck out of sight and he goes up to his apartment and the waiting poisoned milk on his doorstep. While Carlo is going about his 'coming home' routine, droplets of milk are coming from the cartons, pointing to the fact that they've been tampered with, but so far Carlo doesn't notice. He did see milk on the railing and his fingers when he was holding them and looking over the balcony due to hearing the front door slam, but he hasn't put two and two together.

He calls Spini, but has to leave a message. In the meantime, his door ringer buzzes. It's Ana... unfortunately... but we'll get to that in a second. First, she compliments his apartment, which is about half the size of her bedroom, probably. Carlo asks what she's doing there, but he does so in an insulting way - asking her if she isn't on the wrong side of the tracks, to which she questions if there has to be a wrong side.

I'm distracted by her stupid sleeves, which look like somebody tore them up and she thought that was a style, instead of the destruction it was meant as.

I hate her outfits!

There is some uncomfortable silences and blah, blah, they prepare to have sex. She drops her top without warning as a hint. There is utterly no chemistry at all and she is awfully blank faced, but we're supposed to think this romantic judging by the music.


Commentary: I'll admit this scene used to really bug me, because it is so passionless and robotic, with the blank look on Catherine's face, but I've come to re-evaluate the scene based on what we find out later about her. Now, I wonder if she was meant to be distant and remote during this interlude. If so, it was a fair bit of foreshadowing, but if not, then it was just an awful scene and I can't decide which it is.


As the two of them lie naked on the sofa, in the foreground we get a brief shot of the milk and there is two very distinct pools around the cartons. No one notices... but I guess they wouldn't, what with the alleged hot sex. Seriously, this naked interlude does nothing for me, and I'm usually at least into it enough to wish that the guy was shown more naked - this one though? I just want them to be re-dressed.


Scene 35: Later, they've opened the sleeper-sofa and are lying in the *cough* afterglow *cough*. Carlo has gotten up and threw a trenchcoat over his nakedness, because men never walk around naked, even after they've been naked for sex for, one would hope, hours.

He offers up milk to Ana to her amusement, but since it is apparently that or water, she accepts. Each of those cartons? Holds about two glasses. He pours. On the table behind him, milk has pooled trying to tell him that there are holes in the cartons and he maybe shouldn't drink it - but his mind is elsewhere. We follow the glasses of milk as they're brought to Ana and she grabs a glass. He keeps her from drinking it immediately by leaning to share a kiss, which he seems into and she seems half-hearted about.

The phone is ringing now, so he can put his milk down without drinking it. She lies in the bed, reflecting or afterglowing, or something. The point is, she isn't immediately drinking her milk and dying. It's Franco on the line. He's speaking in a harsh whisper and choking... he finally manages to sputter out that he was nearly killed. He tells Carlo that someone tampered with his gas line in the apartment and he barely got the windows open before he succumbed to the fumes. Ana is still puttering with her glass, running her finger around its edge, etc. Franco warns Carlo that whoever the killer is could try to kill him next and he needs to be on his guard.

Ana has the glass to her lips, now, but she still hasn't so much as sipped it. Finally, she goes to take a good long swallow. At the same instant, Carlo is looking at the pooled milk on his table. He sees the carton that he hasn't moved yet and notes the drop of milk coming from the small, hyperdermic sized hole in the carton. His mind lurches into gear. He sees Ana taking the slooooowwwwest attempted drink of milk in the history of milk drinking. He jumps on the bed and is able to slap the glass out of her hand before she takes a swallow. She thinks he's gone cuckoo-nusto, especially when he yells at her whether she swallowed any. When she replies no, he grabs his own glass and dips his fingers in it, he tastes his fingertips and announces that it's been poisoned and 'they' really tried to kill him.


Commentary: Which raises the little problem of exactly how this poison was to be effective if as soon as they tasted it, they were spitting it out because it tastes so bad. And, no it would have taken more than a sip, because he just stuck his milk moistened fingers in his mouth (and then spit on the floor - ew - I have a special problem with spit... and mucus, but that isn't applicable here). So, how exactly did the killer - who is a scientist - think that this half-assed attempt at a poisoning was going to work, if they would have spit it out long before they swallowed enough to actually be killed? Doofus.


Carlo is shaken up by this attempt on his life and warns Ana they almost got her, too (to which she doesn't seem all that bothered). He tells her she should get out of the city for a while until they can find the murderer. She tells him that her father wanted her to spend the weekend in the country, anyway. Carlo asks when they'll be back -- it isn't an idle question.


Scene 36: We do one of those flashy cuts to the inside of a dive bar where there is a gentleman, who looks a bit like John Holmes, actually. He's shouting insults at someone sitting next to him. He's engaged in the most assinine 'contest' I've ever seen on film. An insult contest where, within a certain amount of time, each party must shout as many insults as possible without pause. They play for some real money, by the look. Whoever has the most tallied, wins. Our sir is Gigi, the Loser. No, I'm not insulting him, that is what he's called. He wins the breakneck paced insult contest.

Gigi is apparently a good friend of Carlo's. We also find out Gigi was recently released from jail. Carlo tells him he needs a favor, to which he agrees at first. Until, he finds out that Carlo wants him to pick a lock. Gigi complains that he always gets caught - leading to his nickname as a Loser, but Carlo is insistent and he finally, reluctantly agrees to help him.


Scene 37: Next we see them outside of the Terzi residence. The plan is a little breaking and entering, a little desk drawer opening, and a quick exit. Gigi knows his stuff: with a quick glance at the lock, he's able to name it and pull out a pick for it.


Scene 38: Once inside, they're nearly undone by the butler still being at the residence, but are able to get into Papa Terzi's home office. Getting into his 'secured' lockbox within his desk is child's play for professional thief (nearly reformed), Gigi.

Within is a diary.


Commentary: A nice touch is that Gigi is careful not to leave any prints behind throughout the operation, while the reporter leaves his prints on every surface he comes near....


We find out, along with Carlo, that Ana is actually the adoptive daughter of Terzi... and somewhere along the line, he has developed attractions to her that are not fatherly *shudder*. His diary indicates he's been unable to have normal relations with women for a long while - could he be a pervert, killing to protect his dirty secret? A better question is why he's written a single sentence on each page! What a waste!


Scene 39: Still mulling over this new twist in his investigation, Carlo goes to his friend Spini to find out if he's made progress, but Spini tells him he can't talk about it, yet. He then complains about how Detective Recipe can't keep his mouth shut. He tells him that he bets if he asked Detective Recipe, he'd tell him all about the money found in Bianca's closet - untouched by her attacker. He bets that Detective Recipe would tell him all about the paperwork at Bianca's that described the miracle drug that her dead fiance was working on, along with the other scientists. He tells Carlo that she had taken up with Calabresi specifically to gain access to his laboratory. He further explicates that big mouthed Detective Recipe would also mention that Braun had been meeting with Bianca much too often, and it wasn't sex that drew them together since he was very much a player on the other side of the street (my phrase). He tells Carlo that he bets Recipe would tell him all about how Braun hasn't been located since the death of Bianca.


Scene 40: Later that night, at his news office, Carlo is typing up his next article on the murders. He takes his copy down to the newspaper to have it run as the top story - Braun is a suspect in three murders....


Commentary: Because he apparently is such a good reporter that he needs no assistance from his Editor in Chief to bump everyone else's stories for his own above the fold on Page 01. I want that sort of power - I'd write stories about my masturbation habits and force you all to read about them on the top page... then I'd do it for hours as I would be drunk with Ultimate Power!!


Scene 41: Later, after the story about Braun, Giordani gets a mysterious visitor - a man, who has something to share. Carlo apologizes for not recognizing the man, but he states that he hasn't forgotten him, they had never met before. He reports that he knows where Braun is located, but that the scientist is planning on leaving the country very soon, so he has to act fast. He strongly hints that he doesn't want to have dealings with the police because he is also gay and doesn't want the authorities to have his name. He also implies that Braun has taken up with some boytoy and that he is the jilted ex. It turns out that Braun stole Manuel from this gentleman, and this is the payback.


Scene 42: Carlo immediately calls the police to report where Braun is, so he can be arrested... PSYCH!!

Of course, he does no such thing. Instead he visits Braun's secret villa hideout all on his own. I have to say, it doesn't seem all that secreted, being on the outskirts of town and with his car parked out on the street in plain view. The house if awfully dark but Giordano doesn't let that stop him from trying the door knob. It's open. He enters. Not only that, but because Braun is suspected in three murders, plus an attempt on his new friend's life, the near accidental murder of Ana and his own attempted murder, he yells out Braun's name in the dark, too quiet house. As you would.

He helpfully adds that he didn't bring the police and is alone. As you would.

Imagine the shock when he gets attacked. The attacker comes after him with a fireplace poker. It's Manuel. Carlo gets the best of him and demands to know where Braun is, but Manuel accuses him of already knowing, which Carlo denies. He demands again to know Braun's location and Manuel directs him to the sofa behind them. I'm afraid that Mr. Braun won't be selling any more secrets, visiting any more queer bars, or stealing any more boytoys in future.



Scene 43: Carlo visits the recovered Franco, who complains that all of their leads are being killed off and they're back to square one. They're having dinner and the blind guy is making eggs. He's also puzzling things out and tells Carlo that there is one clue that they haven't found yet - the note that Bianca claimed to have had.

In the meantime Carlo is pouring milk from those pyramid containers... in a nice callback, he hesitates to drink what he just poured and starts smelling it instead. He puts the glass back down on the table untouched. Franco is going on about how shrewd Bianca was and realizes that if the killer didn't get the note, there is only one place it could be - inside her watch-locket - which we saw the killer check, but he only looked in the obvious front and back. Franco throws the eggs in the sink and tells Carlo they need to go check out a hunch.


Scene 44: In the graveyard, they hop over a wall and look for the Marusi family crypt. But, what they don't realize is that he of the brown eye is following them and spying on their progress. Carlo warns Franco that if anyone jumps out in front of them, he's going to leave him standing alone....

They locate the crypt and Giordani is, naturally, elected to go in, break into the crypt and into the coffin and retrieve the locket from poor, strangled Bianca. In the meantime, we switch to Killer-POV to assure ourselves that he is quietly sneaking up on our dynamic duo. Carlo isn't much in the mood to go in, but Franco is rather insistent. Amusingly, the blind guy acts as the look out.

Retrieving the pendant, Franco is able to feel a false back which hides a hidden compartment within the watch. It isn't much, but it's enough to hide a folded up slip of paper with tape over it. Franco excitedly asks what it says, but Carlo can't read it because of the tape, and he doesn't want to risk tearing it trying to get it open there. Carlo places the slip of paper into Franco's palm and runs back to replace the pendent and the coffin lid.

As he's doing so, we see in the background Franco acting as if he's being wrestled away. The door slams shut on Carlo, trapping him in the crypt! And what has happened to Franco?! And the note with the whole answer!?!

Carlo has a bit of a freak out, but then tries to pry the door open with the screwdriver they used to break in - it snaps leaving Carlo with an 'Oh, Shit!' look on his face. He's left to sit in the dark, but thinks it's a good idea to light up a cigarette in the seemingly airtight crypt. By rights, he should end up smothering himself.

Fortunately for him, the crypt door soon after creaks open. It's Franco - but he's waving his cane around menacingly. We didn't know it, but it's been equipped with a hidden blade at the end of it. Now he stalks down the steps ... was Arno the killer the whole time, and is he about to get rid of his only witness to the note, now that he possesses it?

No, he's still blind, after all, but he does give Carlo a few moments of doubt. The blade of his cane has blood on it and he reports that the killer was there. But, even though he is alive and unhurt, he had to turn over the note - the murderer has Lori! She wasn't safe at the old family friend's after all.

We get a quick flashforward to Lori getting smacked hard.


Scene 45: Carlo and Franco rush to the family friend's house, who reports that Lori just left. She further reports that a taxi came with a letter, apparently from Franco - because blind people have no problem writing on lined paper with perfectly straight penmenship.

Carlo takes the letter to read it.


Scene 46: In the meantime, Lori's cab drops her off at the train depot (popular place). We get POV as Lori is looking a little afraid and doubtful of her position. This is wise.

He takes Lori to his car, and when she refuses to get in, we get the hard slap we flashforwarded to seconds ago, where he hits her across the face and then pushes her into the back seat.


Scene 47: At the cab company, a woman who looks like she may be an ancestor of Deanna Troi calls for the driver who picked up a fare at the family friend's address. Are the police there, having been informed that there has been a kidnapping? No. No, they are not and no, no it hasn't been reported.

The cab driver looks like he's describing the man who took Lori, but we don't hear it. Instead we're too far away and only get the soundtrack.


Scene 48: Back at Franco's apartment, there is anxious waiting, but finally the murderer calls. A male's voice whispers that he has the child and will kill her if he can't be assured adequately that Arno and Giordani aren't going to go to the police - which Arno readily agrees to. The man on the other end of the line tells Franco that he's keeping her for a few days and then will release her as long as the two of them keep their mouths shut - otherwise, he'll slit the girl's throat. Franco hangs up the phone, in shock and very afraid for his niece.


Scene 49: Franco decides they have to go to the police. He believes that a man responsible for four deaths won't hesitate to kill a fifth - even if it is a child. They go to Detective Spini with their tale, including the fact that the killer is walking around with a large wound from Franco's cane-blade. Spini promises to keep everything on the QT.


Scene 50: Later, they're all at the Terzi place, searching for clues as everything seems to be centering on Terzi and his Research Institute. From upstairs, there is the sound of breaking glass and then Ana comes downstairs with a cut on her hand. Did she really just break a glass and cut herself, or is she trying to cover for Arno's slicing her earlier? Is she the killer?! She did take an awfully long time to get that milk to her lips... which Carlo brings up when he suspects her glass cut is a fake excuse for her injury.

He takes her into the parlor to talk to her privately.

Seriously, these sleeves bug me more and more....

He confronts her about her true relationship to Terzi, Senior. Apparently, he acted on his feelings for his adopted daughter and they were considerably closer than proper - ew -. She tells him that she was going to tell him. She's pissed off when he accuses her of being involved in the murder around them.

Their stand-off is interrupted first by Terzi the adopted dad/lover with the broken vase and then by Spini who has to report they've found no evidence pointing to the kidnapped girl or any of the murders.


Scene 51: Meanwhile, in a dank, little room with rats, Lori is tied up and frightened. She's bound at mouth, wrists and ankles. The killer comes in with a large knife, but before he can do anything, car breaks squeal outside. They're at the Terzi Institute and now the police have arrived to conduct a search with Giordani and Arno. They start a floor by floor search, but the building is huge with lots of rooms, since they haven't involved more than a few detectives close to Spini, including the alleged secrets-blabber, Detective Recipe.

Franco stays behind, because he's slowing them down.

In an empty storage room, the detectives all report that nothing has been found... but as they're ready to give up, blood drips down on Giordani from the roof, through the ceiling, pointing to where the killer is hiding. Giordani sees a skylight above where the blood came from and there is more dripping from it. The police have already headed to a phone below to call it into HQ and start a proper search for the little girl.

Carlo takes off for a window, where there is a ladder to the roof along side it.


Scene 52: He sees the killer run off across the rooftops and takes off in pursuit, but as he comes around an air conditioning/elevator access point, he's hit in the face and knocked flat on his back by the killer with a large board. He tries to stand up, stunned, but he's hit again. We finally see the murderer and it is....






Doctor Cosoni ... the young, dark haired, genius stud... who's also apparently psycho. He knocks Giordani off of the roof, where he lands hard on another roof. Cosoni follows, trying to jump on him with both feet, but he rolls out of the way. They wrestle. Cosoni pushes Giordani off of that roof and onto a third, steeply slanted one. Carlo rolls and rolls toward the edge and off of it, but lands on a concrete roof, saving himself and leading Cosoni to think he's gone off the side and to the ground with a splat.

Cosoni collapses - his Arno-blade induced wound heavily bleeding. But, he still has a loose end to tie up.


Scene 53: Back in the rooftop maintenance room where Lori is being held, he grabs a butcher knife he left there. As Lori cries and whimpers, he closes in to finish her off.

But Giordani has made his return and throws himself between them, taking the knife blade deep in his shoulder!

Despite the injuries, he's able to beat up Cosoni with his good arm and knee to the face - it also helps that Cosoni is already so injured by his blade wound. Spini calls for Giordani from the maze of rooftop and with him and the detectives with him spotting Cosoni, the nutbar is forced to run without killing Giordani or Lori.



He retreats, playing hide and seek over the uneven roofing with Spini as he and his force head toward where Giordani lies barely conscious. He appears about to make his escape, when he runs smack into Arno with his trusty cane-blade - which I don't buy for a second, but that's what happens.

Franco demands that he hold still and Spini not interfere or he'll use his blade to skewer Cosoni. Cosoni tries to explain he had the XYY gene and Calabresi was the only one who knew of the test results and it would have destroyed everything and blah-blah-blah and it just sort of snowballed from there. Arno couldn't give a shit and demands to know where Lori is being held.



Out of spite, Cosoni tells him he's too late. He already killed Lori. Franco stumbles back in shock and Cosoni tries to run, but he's too hurt. Arno is able to grab him, and not knowing where they are, pushes him.

Cosoni goes through a skylight, falling down an elevator shaft. He tries to grab onto the cable, but of course it shreds his hands and he slams to his death atop an elevator car.



Just when we wonder about Lori, we hear her voice yelling for 'Cookie', apparently having been freed by Giordani....


Commentary: This ending cry by Lori actually always strikes me as a post-addition... like they forgot about her being tied up. I always wonder if they killed off the bad guy and then somebody on set said, "Hey, wait, what happened to Giordani and Lori?!"




The Good: Karl Malden, James Franciscus and Cinzia de Carolis (Lori) all do a wonderful job. James and Karl are especially strong in more subtle moments.

The story suprisingly hangs together pretty well (there are a lot of giallo where this isn't quite the case), allowing for the fact that the XYY thing and its consquences are really overstated by the loon.

The deaths are tense and well done, especially poor Bianca and Righetto, the photographer.

The family secrets angle is pretty twisted.

Dario Argento's direction is very well done, except for his fancy flashforwards, which is a bit too "look at me" to work well.

Despite Braun's villainy (industrial espionage with Bianca) and his dying, I liked the general way that Argento dealt with the gayz.

I liked the use of the extreme close up of the killer's eye and the POV-cam... done long before the first person killing spree in slashers of the 80's and beyond. And, done more artfully, too, I'll add.


The Bad: Well, I have the uncut version which is running at 1 hr and approximately 50 minutes or so. I think 20 minutes could have been cut without losing anything including trimming down the 'Ana loses police' chase, the whole insult contest, and some of the walking around and around, in which we get to see every footstep.

I really didn't like the sudden blabbermouth infodump that Cosoni conveniently spewed to explain everything and put a bow around it right at the end - but this sort of wrap up is also common with the giallo.


Other Thoughts: I didn't buy into the affair with Ana and Carlo for a moment, but that may have been deliberate as Ana Terzi is clearly a damaged woman because of the affair with her adopted father. I also don't buy Franco finding his way up to the roof unaided, or why exactly he felt the need to wander up there. It wasn't like he would have known where everyone was located - the roof is huge with lots of different levels. Which means that it's also a fair stretch that Arno would just happen to run into Cosoni up there. I did think it was pretty good in an evil, sick way for Cosoni's last, spiteful act to be telling Arno that he'd already murdered his niece; the acting here by Aldo Reggiani was over the top, though. To be sure, there are the lapses in common sense that all mystery/murder stories rely on, but the only thing that really stuck out as bothersome was Ana Terzi's interminably slow glass to her lips raising that takes so long, that it's comical in retrospect, when we find out she really had nothing to do with Carlo's murder attempt - she really was taking that long to drink the poisoned milk... and there is the problem of the milk tasting so obviously bad that they never would have swallowed the poison, anyway.


The Score: I really like The Cat O' Nine Tails, and even though I now know who the killer is, I don't mind re-watching it at all. The acting is mostly strong and no one embarrasses themselves. I like the complex web of leads to follow. I like the vicious detail in the strangulations... a tear in the corner of Righetto's eye after he's dead, and Bianca's blood-tinged spit up and convulsions against her floor. Both were pretty nasty murders.


4.0 out of 5 stars



Tags: review cat o nine tails
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