The Cat o' Nine Tails
the cat o' nine tails | the cat o nine tails | il gatto a nove code | dario argento | james franciscus | karl malden | catherine spaak | mystery | thriller | italy | france | west germany | giallo | murder | death | Ennio Morricone | pier paolo capponi | horst frank
Film: The Cat o’ Nine Tails (Il gatto a nove code)
Director: Dario Argento
Writer: Dario Argento
Starring: James Franciscus, Karl Malden and Catherine Spaak
I have to start off stating I’m a big Dario Argento fan, the man that directed and wrote this film. I was turned on to this film from horror podcasts. This is the second time I’ve seen it, with the second being in a theater for a 4K restoration. The official synopsis for this film is 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.
I haven’t seen very many of the Italian giallo genre, but I’ve been starting to see more and more. I will say that I was guessing until the end who the killer was and I really liked that. There are some films that are too predictable and it ends up bothering me. This one gives us a lot of suspects, many with good motives. I didn’t fall for many of the turns that the film wants you to. I had two suspects in mind and I ended up being wrong when I decided to go with the other. I will say that I was slightly disappointed in the ending of the film overall.
The acting did leave me something to be desired. I don’t buy that Carlo Giordani (James Franciscus) could be as mean as he is to Anna Terzi (Catherine Spaak) and for her to sleep with him that quickly. Now I am not from Italy, so maybe it could happen. It just seemed rushed without good interaction between the two. I will say that I loved his interaction with Franco Arnò (Karl Malden). I thought Malden was good for the most part. There is a twist near the end that I found to be played a little bit awkward as well. Spaak doesn’t have much of a personality, but she was beautiful. I also thought that Lori (Cinzia De Carolis) was a cute kid and adds a dimension to the film. The rest of the cast don’t stand out, but round everything out fairly well.
Something I don’t normally notice in a film is the score. This one I did. A lot of that is I know Argento uses the band Goblin or Ennio Morricone. Morricone did the score for this film and it is great. I love the 1970s, progressive rock sound the film has. It gives the film an eerie feel, even in scenes that normally wouldn’t be. I thought the editing was okay. There were some parts that drug on for me and this film does have slight lull. The effects in the film were good. There’s not a lot blood due to the weapons the killer used, but the deaths looked real.
Now with that said, I would recommend seeing this film. It really is a murder mystery of who is the killer done by the master of horror Argento. The story is quite interesting and there are nine possible killers, all with a motive of some sort. The acting isn’t the greatest in this film, but it isn’t all bad. The score of the film is great, the editing was decent and the effects were good. This isn’t the best giallo by Argento and not his best film, but I would say that it is definitely worth a viewing. An above average film overall.
My Rating: 8 out of 10