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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Il Gatto A Nove Code (aka The Cat O'Nine Tails) (1971)

A blind ex-journalist (Karl Malden) overhears a conversation in which blackmail is mentioned. The day after, the research institute where the man (Carlo Alighiero) who made the blackmail comment works is broken into and shortly thereafter he is murdered. The blind man joins up with a newspaperman (James Franciscus) to solve the killing and the murders that follow. CAT was giallo master Dario Argento's follow up to his acclaimed BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE. Though decidedly inferior to its predecessor, it's still an effective giallo with its moments and suitably gory killings (isn't that what giallos are really about?) but its premise regarding the killer's motives is scientifically and medically unsound. There's also an unenlightened creepy gay bar sequence that ranks with the one in Preminger's ADVISE AND CONSENT. Franciscus' character is a bit of a jerk but the actor lacks any charisma or screen presence that would compensate. Poor Catherine Spaak should shoot whoever designed her hideous rags and made her wear that fright wig. Nicely atmospheric score by Ennio Morricone. With Cinzia DeCarolis, Rada Rassimov and Tino Carraro.

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