The Cat O’ Nine Tails was originally released in 1971. It was written and directed by the legendary Dario Argento (Phenomena, Suspiria) and is a shining example of the giallo thriller genre. It was the follow up to his debut film, The Bird With the Crystal Plumage.
“You know I think you’re really starting to enjoy this. Bit more exciting than one of your puzzle games, eh?”
Franco Arnò (Karl Malden – The Streets of San Francisco, A Streetcar Named Desire) is a blind crossword puzzle creator, who lives with his young niece Lori (Cinzia De Carolis – A Virgin Named Mary, Cannibal Apocalypse).
One night when walking home with Lori, he overhears a man in a car speaking of blackmail. Later that night he hears noises and the next morning he discovers that a break in has occurred at the Genetics Research facility across the road from his apartment. A security guard is injured but nothing appears to have been taken.
This piques his curiosity and when he meets up with reporter Carlo Giordani (James Franciscus – Jonathan Livingston Seagull, Beneath the Planet of the Apes) the pair suspect foul play.
As they begin to investigate, the scientists are all very cagey, as is the head of the Institute and his daughter Anna Terzi (Catherine Spaak – The Empty Canvas, Crazy Desire). As the bodies begin to mount up, they start to realise that they may be putting themselves in danger too.
The Cat O’ Nine Tails is a very well written story which had me guessing right to the end. It’s a really good whodunnit which builds tension beautifully, helped in no small part by a score written by Ennio Morricone (The Hateful Eight). It was bold subject matter for the era in which it was made, dealing with genetic engineering and still rings true today.
An excellent watch and well worth adding to your collection if you enjoy a good mystery.
“I’m a scientist, not a detective…”
The Cat O’ Nine Tails is available to buy now on Dual Format DVD and Blu-ray.