The Cat o'Nine Tails (1971)

Tonight was an awesome night as I finally was able to see Not Always What It Seems performed in front of an audience, and it was an amazing experience. This was an amazing moment and one that left me wanting to write more things for the stage. After a great dinner with PJ and AJ, I decided that it was time to review the one movie I did watch last week before all of the craziness started with the schedule. That movie is the 1971 giallo The Cat o’Nine Tails.

Plot/ A newspaper reporter and a retired, blind journalist try to solve a series of killings connected to a pharmaceutical company's experimental, top-secret research projects and in so doing, both become targets of the killer.

As a fan of Dario Argento, I often view this movie as one of his more overlooked films. While I do understand, why people overlook it, I don’t necessarily agree with them. Sure, it does lack many of the more memorable attributes of a typical Argento giallo, but it does offer an intriguing (albeit sometimes incoherent) storyline that is quite entertaining. Besides that, the performances are solid, the atmosphere is heavy, and as usual, the soundscape is outstanding. Yes, the film does lack the typical violence of an Argento flick, the camera work is not as crisp, and the surrealism that became an integral part of his later works just is not there. Plus, the scripting does seem to be all over and at times unfocused and the character development is uneven, but those elements would not be a huge issue if this wasn’t one of his films. In the end, while this is nowhere near Suspiria, it is a memorable giallo that would definitely be viewed differently if it wasn’t part of the Argento catalog. If you have not seen it, give it a shot. You may be surprised.


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