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3.9 out of 5 stars
Cat O Nine Tails [Blu-ray]
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on January 12, 2004
I had read somewhere that Dario himself didn't think highly of this film and Maltin rates it a BOMB. I was sceptical when I rented this one but in the end I was relieved that I did. It's actually quite good and it has a cohesive plot that keeps you guessing 'till the very end. There's no gore here to speak of but Argento keeps things lively from start to finish and the actors here are amazingly good (compared to many other Argento films). Check it out, it certainly doesn't deserve a BOMB rating, and also, it seems that Dario is never entirely satisfied with his old films, apperently he can't even watch them on t.v.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 24, 2003
I had many difficulties to see this movie from Dario Argento because it was not easy to find it in my country, but when I finally saw it, it really surprised me. Like THE BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE this second film from the Italian Master of Horror is very impressive. Again Dario used a calculating and very complicated plot, even more than in THE BIRD... This time with more colors and a fabulous score from Ennio Morricone. A great thriller even if Dario thinks it is his most disappointing film.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon April 2, 2007
Dario Argento fans have nothing to fear, Anchor Bay has done justice to this film. The video transfer from Anchor Bay is simply amazing and the digital 2.0 sound is great. Anchor Bay has given Dario Argento fans "The Cat O' Nine Tails" in it's 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen format. The pristine video transfer is presented in all it's remastered, uncut and unedited glory. In my opinion the acting in this film is outstanding for a film from the 1970's. I think all the actors gave a solid performance in their roles and this film kept me guessing until the very end. I knew nothing about this movie until I picked it up at used DVD store, but it has quickly become one of my favorite movies. Whether you're a hardcore or casual Argento fan, this movie is definitely worth seeing. As a bonus some nice extra's have been included in this DVD version.

P.S. Got Milk ?

DVD Features Include:
*Tales of the Cat - interviews with writer/director Dario Argento, co-writer Dardano Sacchetti, and composer Ennio Morricone
* Theatrical trailers
* TV spots
* Radio spots
* Radio interviews with stars James Franciscus and Karl Malden
* Poster & still gallery
* Talent bios
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon August 25, 2015
After the international and incredible success Dario Argento had with "The Bird With the Crystal Plumage", the italian director and scriptwriter shot "The Cat o' Nine Tails". Another giallo. Involving this time the scientific environment; a new chromosome discovery that could identify potential criminal individuals. One that has gotten employees connected to a genetic clinic either wounded or murdered. Where Franco Arno, a blind man who lives near the clinic, falls into. Along with his niece Lori, whom he has adopted after she lost her relatives, and a journalist called Carlo Giordani. A man who decides join his own investigation with Arno. Away from the police. While getting information that reveal a very dangerous underworld. Secrets and taboos that could cost him and his new friends' lives.

Several years later, Dario Argento said that "The Cat o' Nine Tails" was one of his least favorite films. To him, it was because the movie was too influenced by American cinema rather than with an Italian perspective. As for Daria Nicolodi, she said, in Profondo Rosso's making of, that it was because Dario had less time to polish and enrich "The Cat o' Nine Tails" like he did for "The Bird With the Crystal Plumage". Which is explainable as the movie was shot in September and October 1970 and the movie released in February 1971. Giving it a very rushed production. But in comparison to his 1990s and 2000s movies which have been criticized for their lack of precision and lazy writing, I think "The Cat o' Nine Tails" displays what was the best in Argento. Action, suspense, excellent camera angles, a very good script, excellent cinematography and editing. Collaborators that have enriched his work with their personal touch. Like Ennio Morricone's music whose theme song is considered one of his most popular. Whose romantic melody gives an intriguing atmosphere to this movie.
Even better, "The Cat o' Nine Tails" shows Dario's excellent skills in displaying action scenes. Well edited and with the perfect tension, what happens on the screen is well displayed to the public. Among those scenes also stand out an excellent car chase inside Rome's streets, and also a final action scene whose climax reaches its tension in a very brutal act. Leaving the audience in shock as to what they have seen, but also in an open ending that makes us wonder what will happen to the main characters. As to how they shall come out of this investigation.

Of the video transfer for this seventies classic, Arrow has given to us a very crisp and watchable image. Even better what we are seeing is the uncensored version, without any homophobic cuts regarding the homosexuality of certain characters and no censoring of the movie's violence. In short, the distributor has respected the author's work and his story. Though I wish they could have also shown a surround soundtrack for the movie as how they did for Profondo Rosso. Oh well, at least the movie is still very agreeable to listen to.

About the bonus features, Arrow's edition, playable worldwide as it's Region ABC, offers the Italian trailer, a documentary on the subject of what makes a giallo, and Dario Argento's word over "The Cat o' Nine Tails"'s production. Its highs and lows. Including his comment as to why he considers this movie one of his least favorite.
But one that I consider the best in what Argento had to offer before the nineties.
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on October 19, 2002
Second chapter of the so-called "Animal Trilogy" (The Bird with the Crystal Plumage, The Cat O'Nine Tails, Four Flies on Grey Velvet), this film is a little miracle. The possibility that a twist of our genes could lead to madness should keep us far from hospitals for a long time...
Anchor bay Entertainment has provided us with an enriched DVD, full of extras and interesting information. The video is clean and pure, and those colors...so tremendously 70's!!! The audio section comprises three different tracks: English, Italian and French, all of them in Dolby Sorround 2.0.
The extra features are divided into an interesting interview involving director Dario Argento, writer Dardano Sacchetti and music composer Ennio Morricone, different trailers,TV and radio spots, still gallery and talent bios. Last but not least, a juicy double radio interview with James Franciscus and Karl Malden recorded at the beginning of the 70's, when THE CAT landed overseas. Great movie, great package. You won't be disappointed
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on October 16, 2002
Rushed into production following the unexpected worldwide success of his directorial debut THE BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE (L'Uccello dalle Piume di Cristallo, 1969), Dario Argento conceived THE CAT O'NINE TAILS (Il Gatto a Nove Code, 1970) as a giallo-thriller in the same vein as its forerunner, and he managed to secure the services of celebrated Hollywood actor Karl Malden (fresh from his appearance in PATTON [1969]) and rising star James Franciscus (TV's "Longstreet"). The resulting film, which the ads claimed was 'nine times more suspenseful' than its predecessor, must be considered a disappointment. In fact, it's no more than a routine potboiler, impeccably photographed and punctuated by a number of stylish set-pieces, but too plodding and aimless for general audience consumption.
Malden plays a blind ex-journalist who overhears a blackmail plot outside a genetics research laboratory and later teams up with fellow reporter Franciscus to investigate a series of murders at the lab, unwittingly placing their own loved ones at the mercy of the rampaging killer. Euro starlet Catherine Spaak (THE LIBERTINE [La Matriarca, 1969]) plays the daughter of a wealthy geneticist (Tino Carraro), initiating a romance with Franciscus which amounts to little more than unnecessary padding (incredibly, Spaak has maintained an active screen career since the mid-1960's, most recently appearing in Adriano Wajskol's JOY SCHERZI DI GIOIA [2002]). More successful as a team, Malden and Franciscus are eminently watchable in sympathetic roles, and cinematographer Enrico Menczer (THE DEAD ARE ALIVE [L'Etrusco Uccide Ancora, 1972]) uses the wide Cromoscope frame to convey the hi-tech world in which Argento's dark-hearted scenario unfolds. Highlights include an unforgettable encounter with the black-gloved assassin in a crowded railway station (brilliantly edited, as usual, by Euro-cult stalwart Franco Fraticelli), and an episode in which Malden and Franciscus break into a tomb at midnight in search of an important clue, only to find themselves in mortal peril... But despite these flashes of brilliance, the film rambles aimlessly from one scene to the next, simmering gently without ever really coming to the boil. It's no surprise that CAT failed to emulate the runaway success of CRYSTAL PLUMAGE when released in 1971.
For die-hard fans, however, Anchor Bay's code-free disc is a must. Letterboxed at 2.35:1 (enhanced for 16:9 TV's) and sporting an extremely subdued 2.0 surround track, the film - which runs 111m 33s on disc - sparkles like new. Like all scope movies on DVD, try if possible to see it on a 16:9 monitor! Extras include brief interviews with Argento (who basically dismisses the film as a lesser effort), screenwriter Dardano Sacchetti and composer Ennio Morricone, alongside contemporary publicity segments with Malden and Franciscus, and a wealth of trailers and advertising materials. Anchor Bay has also included the film's original Italian soundtrack, but the gesture is rendered meaningless by a notable lack of English captions or subtitles!
NB. Though most US ad-mats provide a 'Techniscope' credit for the film, the DVD's closing titles (derived from an Italian source print) reveal that the movie was actually photographed in Cromoscope, which is virtually identical to the Techniscope format anyway.
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on January 26, 2002
Second movie of the "animal title serie" of italian director Dario Argento, the 1971 THE CAT O'NINE TAILS is a giallo, a term coming from the color of a serie of italian mystery books published in the early sixties. A special aesthetics, sex and gory murders characterize this peculiar genre.
Karl Malden, as a blind former journalist, does a terrific job in the movie that has some scenes worthy to appear in an anthology. I particularly liked the scene in the cemetery when James Franciscus is locked in a vault with a dozen coffins. Several years later, Dario Argento would have put some horror ingredients in the scene such as the resurrection of one of the dead but in THE CAT O'NINE TAILS, only the claustrophobic mood of the situation interested him.
I've also liked the artisanal special effects created by Argento which are, in my opinion, as scary and efficient as those generated nowadays by our beloved computers. The italian director shows with his technical skill that he is really Mario Bava's spiritual son.
Anchor Bay's DVD is superb with images without a single white or black spot and a sound that respects the interesting musical score of Ennio Morricone. Extra-features are, for once in an Anchor Bay DVD, multiple. French, italian and english versions, radio spots, trailers, recorded 1971 interviews of Karl Malden and James Franciscus and an indispensable video interview of Dario Argento and Ennio Morricone. A must.
A DVD zone WWF.
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on November 5, 2001
In the early 70's at Thule Air Base the main activity aside from drinking was going to the movies. A thriller called The Bird With The Crystal Plumage caught my fancy. Then some months later we saw Cat o'Nine Tails. I immediately recognized the director's style but found the movie lacking. My interest in Argento was revived when 4 Flies on Grey Velvet came along.
3 decades later, I've just seen Anchor Bay's stunning reissue of Cat which confirmed my original assessment - stylish, funny ... but lacking the element of suspense or surprise to be found in both Bird and Flies. The cast is excellent.. The DVD is superb with an interesting group of extras including an interview with Argento and radio interviews with Franciscus and Malden. I do recommend the DVD but if you're on a budget, wait for a reissue of 4 Flies or run to your local DVD store today and snap up Deep Red.
Incidentally, since I've been acquainted with Argento's films for so many years, I'm surprised all Americans don't know them. Cat o'Nine Tails just lacks the edge to be found in the rest of his works. Certainly if you like giallo flicks, you'll want to see it at least once.
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on November 5, 2001
In the early 70's at Thule Air Base the main activity aside from drinking was going to the movies. A thriller called The Bird With The Crystal Plumage caught my fancy. Then some months later we saw Cat o'Nine Tails. I immediately recognized the director's style but found the movie lacking. My interest in Argento was revived when 4 Flies on Grey Velvet came along.
3 decades later, I've just seen Anchor Bay's stunning reissue of Cat which confirmed my original assessment - stylish, funny ... but lacking the element of suspense or surprise to be found in both Bird and Flies. The cast is excellent.. The DVD is superb with an interesting group of extras including an interview with Argento and radio interviews with Franciscus and Malden. I do recommend the DVD but if you're on a budget, wait for a reissue of 4 Flies or run to your local DVD store today and snap up Deep Red.
Incidentally, since I've been acquainted with Argento's films for so many years, I'm surprised all Americans don't know them. Cat o'Nine Tails just lacks the edge to be found in the rest of his works. Certainly if you like giallo flicks, you'll want to see it at least once.
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on August 12, 2001
After hearing the reviews for THE CAT O" NINE TAILS i did not have high expectations for this film though it actually turned out to be a little better than i expected though not enough. A blind puzzle maker (Karl Malden) overhears two men disscussing something one night in front of a genetics building and later that night the guard of the building is assualted and something from the building is stolen. Soon after the puzzle maker joins with a newspaper reporter (James Franciscus) to find out who committed the robbery and soon after as a result of their snooping a series of murders are committed to cover up the tracks of the theif and along the way the reporter begins an affair with the daughter (Catherine Spaak) of the owner of the building. This was the second of Argento's animal trilogy. The first was THE BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMMAGE and the third which Paramount is considering releasing is FOUR FLIES ON GRAY VELVET and it's also Argento's second film. Argento himself said he hated this film though it's not as bad as all that. The dubbing is what you normally expect from this kind of film. The acting is uneven. James Franciscus is stiff at times as is Catherine Spaak. Karl Malden does a competent enough job though at times it feels like he is not in enough of the movie. Catherine's role is not substantial enough, she's mostly there as eye candy. The direction is unusually restrained for an Argento film and surprisngly there is almost no violence in this movie which is extremely unusual in Argento's movies. Also the script is pretty bad. The story could have worked but instead it becomes uninvolving, the dialogue is stupid at times and a few plot devices are a little hard to believe. The saving graces though are the scenes of suspense which are good enough and Ennio Morricone's music for this movie which is actually very beautiful but it seems like he should have come up with more music for this movie. This movie is mostly a curiousity for Argento fans if you want to see Argento when he was just starting to develop as a director.
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