Dario Argento’s second film as a director The Cat O’ Nine Tails was the second in his so called ‘animal trilogy’ which comprised of The Bird with The Crystal Plumage and Four Flies on Grey Velvet. More of a straight whodunnit type thriller than his later horror works, the film isn’t one of the director’s favourites.
Franco Arno is an ex-newspaper man blinded late in life and lives with his niece Lori. Whilst out walking one evening Franco hears a man discussing in a parked car what seems like blackmail. The next day a genetics laboratory has been broken into and the night watchmen beaten up. Hearing this Franco goes to the reporter who broke the story and the two of them eventually team up to solve this mysterious break-in where nothing was apparently stolen.
Of course the bodies start piling up and the two of them now attempt to solve the murders with both of them becoming the target of the killer.
Like all of Argento’s earlier works there is beautifully composed widescreen photography and a lovely score from Ennio Morricone. Imported Hollywood leads Karl Maiden and James Franciscus act opposite a selection of European talent and all honesty there isn’t a duff performance amongst any of them. The film isn’t as violent as the likes of Tenebrae or Deep Red but there is one particular murder which is expertly choreographed and pretty shocking. You’re know it when see it.
Once again Arrow Video have given an Argento film the treatment it deserves with a nice remastered print in English and Italian along with with plenty of extras including a new interview with Argento himself and details of an alternative ending.
A great film from a time when Italian cinema were churning out some real genre masterpieces (and some rubbish as well). Well worth investing in and adding it to your collection.
- Staring Karl Maiden James Francisco Catherine Spaak Horst Frank
- Director Dario Argento
- Distributor Arrow Video