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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This Cat Has Eaten Your Dogs...
A rediscovery! Despite Argento's public disavowal of his sophomore effort, CAT O'NINE TAILS is a creepy, genuinely suspenseful thriller garnished with dry wit. CAT is very different from his other works in that it is structured like a fairly conventional detective story, with much less emphasis paid to the twisted psychology of the perpetrator and the creative modus...
Published on August 5, 2001

versus
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars This Cat Lacks Speed But Has Style
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...
Published on November 5, 2001 by Philip Chase


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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This Cat Has Eaten Your Dogs..., August 5, 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Cat o' Nine Tails (DVD)
A rediscovery! Despite Argento's public disavowal of his sophomore effort, CAT O'NINE TAILS is a creepy, genuinely suspenseful thriller garnished with dry wit. CAT is very different from his other works in that it is structured like a fairly conventional detective story, with much less emphasis paid to the twisted psychology of the perpetrator and the creative modus operandi of killings. Seeing this film in an absolutely breathtaking anamorphic print with a stereo soundtrack, the best presentation of an Argento film Anchor Bay has ever given, in my opinion even surpassing DEEP RED, was delightful to say the least. It features, among others, a great turn by Karl Malden, whose character begins as a sympathetic protagonist with a handicap and gradually becomes a dark avenging figure, as his emotional stress and anger at having his surrogate child kidnapped and brutalized takes over, terrific action scenes including a car chase that reveal consummate skills of Argento as an editor and a manipulator of camera, and a wonderful score by Ennio Morricone, showcasing his inimitable mix of beautiful melodies and atonal and experimental "terror" music.
DVD includes an interview with Argento, the screenwriter Dardano Sacchetti (whose chief contribution appears to be the rationale for the killer's motivation and origins of his "madness" --which by the way is both greatly timely, since it involves genes, and hilariously unscientific. I am reassured to find that Argento knew all along that the idea was a hokum) and the maestro Morricone. As with other Anchor Bay interviews of the Argento series, do not watch it if you have not already seen the movie, since it includes spoilers about the killer's identity. In addition, there are radio interviews of Malden and Franciscus, conducted during the production. Malden's interview is by far more interesting, astutely pointing out the young Italian director's skills, and discussing his methods for playing a blind character. Since I believe Malden's performance is an important aspect of the movie's success, I enjoyed his time-capsule interview quite a bit. Although indeed a more conventional film in many ways compared to his later works, CAT is by no means an anonymous assembly line product some comments (including Argento's, perhaps)may lead you to believe. You will NOT be disappointed. Beware of milk deliveries!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars This Cat Lacks Speed But Has Style, November 5, 2001
This review is from: The Cat o' Nine Tails (DVD)
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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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly good, January 12, 2004
By 
O. B. Tryggvason (Gardabaer Iceland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Cat o' Nine Tails (DVD)
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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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "You know, we've uncovered a lot of muck, but no murderer.", September 25, 2005
This review is from: The Cat o' Nine Tails (DVD)
I received the DVD for Dario Argento's The Cat o' Nine Tails (1971) aka Il Gatto a nove code when I bought a six DVD set from Anchor Bay Entertainment called The Fright Pack: Man's Worst Friends, which also included Parasite (1982), Lucio Fulci's The Black Cat (1989), Slugs: The Movie (1988), Bruno Mattei's Rats: Night of Terror (1984), and Zoltan, Hound of Dracula (1978). After watching the film, it seemed an odd choice for the set which features movies about animals attacking people, as there was no animals whatsoever in the film, only in the title. Actually, this was the second of a trio of giallo films made by Argento featuring animals in the title, the others being The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970) and Four Flies on Grey Velvet (1971). Written and directed by Dario Argento (Suspiria, Phenomena), the man often referred to at the Italian Hitchcock, this Italia-Franco-German production features Karl Malden (Nevada Smith, Meteor), Catherine Spaak (Murder Is a Murder), Pier Paolo Capponi (Defeat of the Mafia), Horst Frank (The Night of the Askari), Rada Rassimov (Baron Blood), Aldo Reggiani (Young Lucrezia Borgia), Carlo Alighiero (Blade of the Ripper), and James Franciscus (The Valley of Gwangi, Beneath the Planet of the Apes).

Franciscus plays Carlo Giordani, a newspaper reporter who stumbles onto the story of his career (maybe even his life), assisted by an aging blind man, with a penchant for puzzles, named Franco Arnos (Malden) and the man's young niece. It seems prior to a break-in at a genetics research laboratory, Arno and his niece just happened to in the area, and witnessed something with regards to one of the scientists who works in the facility. The next day the very same scientist dies horribly as he's pushed, accidentally on purpose, in front of a commuter train. Giordani, when not making time with the daughter of the man who owns the research facility, learns the company is involved in two secretive, potentially lucrative projects, one involving a miracle drug, and another involving a process for identification of potential criminal tendencies by studying an individual's genetic make-up. The leads keep popping up, but Giordani and Arno just can't seem to catch a break as the someone keeps brutally dispatching the witnesses before the men get a chance to talk to them...whoever's responsible for the original crime, in which it seemed nothing was taken, is going to great lengths to cover their tracks, even if it means killing...eventually the tables are turned on Giordani and Arno as their snooping draws the attention of the homicidal maniac and soon discover they're now targets. So who's this homicidal madman? There's plenty of suspects to choose from...whoever it is, they certainly don't have a problem getting their hands `dirty' with a little manslaughter...

I thought this was a really solid film throughout, with only a couple minor issues. One thing that surprised me was the excellent production values that went into the movie. Looks like most of the film was shot on location, which where chosen well. I thought most all the performers did very well, especially Franciscus and Malden. I don't know what it is about Franciscus, but he just has a real presence on the screen, one you can't help but feel compelled to keep your eyes on...certainly he's a good looking man, but there is another quality, a vigorous, manly man aspect. Watch for the scene near the end where he runs face first into a two by four being held by the killer...ouch! That'll leave a mark...I was impressed with how Argento kept the story moving along as well as he did, given the film is nearly two hours long. Some of it probably could have been excised, like the element of the storyline about the relationship between the owner of the genetic research facility and his daughter, played by Ms. Spaak. I'm really unsure what the point of that was, other than perhaps to overly develop the possibility that either one may be the culprit, along with a whole slew of other suspects, or just to creep people out (which it did for me). The one thing that stood out as the main shortfall involved the revelation of the identity of the maniac killer. There were no real clues within the story that ever pointed towards any one individual, so when the big reveal occurred, it could have been almost anyone who hadn't yet been killed. Oh sure, some additional supporting information was given after the fact, things regarding motive and such, but come on, anyone can do that...it's putting sly clues out their prior to the reveal that make a mystery truly fun and engaging to an audience. This may seem a fairly critical aspect considering this is a mystery, but I felt the majority of the film done well enough to compensate. I dunno, maybe the breadcrumbs were there, but I neglected to follow. As far as the deaths go, some get pretty nasty, particularly the guy pushed in front of the train...there's couple of strangulations, a face slashing, attempted poisoning, and more...I think my favorite sequence was when Franciscus' character was in the barbershop getting a shave with a straightedge razor. The barber is griping about reporters and how the newspapers are speculating that the maniac killer might possibly be a barber, due the proficiency the killer has with a sharp blade. During this time, we see the barber, through close ups, shaving Franciscus' face and throat, and his unease towards the barber's agitated state. Another scene I really liked was when Franciscus and Malden are in the graveyard, looking to dig up one of the recently murdered victims in order to follow up on a clue...the fun never ends with these two, I'll tell you what...all in all, a very stylish, sometimes creepy affair with a few vicious murders and a solid storyline.

Anchor Bay Entertainment provides an excellent, `re-mastered, uncut, uncensored', sharp-looking print of the film, in widescreen (2.35:1) anamorphic, on this DVD, along with a decent Dolby Surround 2.0 audio track. Special features include a featurette titled `Tales of the Cat: interviews with director Dario Argento, writer Dardano Sacchetti, and musical composer Ennio Morricone (14 minutes), two trailers, two TV spots, radio interviews with both Franciscus and Malden (8 minutes each), a poster and still gallery, talent bios, and a 5X7 reproduction of original poster art on an insert in the DVD case, the flipside featuring the chapter stops. One thing potential buyers should keep in mind is that there are numerous DVD releases of this film out there, and while I have yet to see them, I've rarely been disappointed with the quality on Anchor Bay releases, so even though it may cost a little more, it's probably worth it, in this case, to make sure which release you're thinking of purchasing.

Cookieman108

By the way, if I learned anything from this film, it's never to drink from a leaky carton of milk left on my doorstep, especially if a sadistic killer is out to get me...
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another Great Giallo From Dario Argento!, October 5, 2005
By 
This review is from: The Cat o' Nine Tails (DVD)
The second film of the animal trilogy (Bird With The Crystal Plumage(1970), Cat O' Nine Tails(1971) and Four Flies on Grey Velvet(1972)] from legendary director Dario Argento brings us a mystery about Franco Arno a blind puzzle maker who overhears a strange conversation between two men sitting in a parked car in front of a medical institute. That same night someone breaks into the institute and attacks a guard. Franco decides to investigate with newspaper reporter Carlo Giordoni.

While Dario Argento himself didn't care much for this film, fans of his seem to enjoy it. While it doesn't rank up there with his best films there are flashes of brilliance like the black gloved hands of the killer. As with any Argento film, the cinematography is fantastic.

Anchor Bay has a good reputation when it comes to picture quality and this no exception. A fantastic 2.25:1 anamorphic transfer which makes the film look sharper and brighter than it has been for years. Also the copy I own is unrated even though Anchor Bay lists this one as PG. I've never seen the PG version and therefore don't know the difference between the two.

Anchor Bay, where's the DVD for "Four Flies on Grey Velvet"?
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Surprising Thriller, December 24, 2003
This review is from: The Cat o' Nine Tails (DVD)
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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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly good, February 5, 2003
By 
Garry Messick (Boynton Beach, FL USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Cat o' Nine Tails (DVD)
Cat o' Nine Tails is generally considered second-tier Argento. In fact, Argento himself isn't too jazzed on it. But I find it to be an excellent Hitchcock-inspired suspense film. Yeah, it lacks the stylized, highly imaginative visuals of his later films, but that's not to say it lacks filmmaking verve and invention. Far from it. A must-have if you're an Argento fan, but I suspect it would have more appeal to a general audience than most of his films.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Cat O' Nine Tails [Blu-ray], July 18, 2012
By 
Steven Wenger (CHINO HILLS, CA, US) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Cat O' Nine Tails [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
I just wanted to let everyone know about the Blu-Ray quality of this movie. The movie itself is a Dario Argento classic and his second film. I own the 2007 Blue Underground DVD and just bought the 2012 Blue Underground Blu-ray. Wow this BLU-RAY reveals such clarity and detail. You can see faces in cars on the street and the beautiful landscape of Italy. I have seen so much more definition here than I have even seen on the 2007 dvd release. I could even make out the words on the crossword puzzle that Karl Malden is working on in the beginning . Guys don't miss out on this one. Blue Underground did a fantastic job restoring the film on the 2007 release but have really outdone themselves on this Blu-Ray. Enjoy!

Steve W.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Worse DVD Presentation Ever!, September 17, 2001
Be advised - DO NOT BUY THIS DISC!!! It has to be the worse DVD I've ever seen. Firstly, it's not widescreen (the kiss of death to an Argento film). Secondly it has probably the worse picture quality I've ever had the misfortune to witness. Finally, it is very heavily cut.
The movie itself is good but it's utterly ruined on this DVD.
Avoid this and get the new DVD release instead.
I should have realised that this was too good a bargain at this price. AVOID!!!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent film from the master, October 16, 2007
By 
Dave. K (Staten Island, NY,) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Cat O'Nine Tails (DVD)
The Cat o' Nine Tails was the 2nd feature film made by Dario Argento and in my opinion it was a bit of a letdown compared to his brilliant debut The Bird with the Crystal Plumage. Sometimes I hear people say The Cat o' Nine Tails is a pretty good film, but not for Argento. I have to disagree with that. Looking back now The Cat o' Nine Tails may not be one of Argento's strongest flicks, but he was still learning his craft.

I'm as big of an Argento fan that you'll find, but quite honestly I wasn't all that into this flick. While by no means is The Cat o' Nine Tails a bad movie, it just wasn't able to hold my interest through out the picture.

Dario Argento also wrote the script and while the concept wasn't bad nor was the execution of the script it just sort of lacks in some areas. Despite what some people say, Argento can write a good screenplay and here it wasn't so much bad as it was just not all that interesting in my opinion.

There was also a lot of good in The Cat o' Nine Tails; this is an Argento movie so one thing is clear you know visually it's gonna look really good. From a visual side this isn't Tenebre or Suspiria, but The Cat o' Nine Tails still looks good.

The POV shots are quite impressive and personally I would rate them as some of the best I have ever seen. The murder scenes aren't all that violent, but they do have a great creepy feel, which is made even better by the score done by Ennio Morricone.

Argento and Morricone made for a good team in the movies they have done together; the two together are just as good as Argento is with Goblin. With Argento's visual style and Morricone's music it adds to the tension on the kill scenes.

About 52-minutes into the picture features one of my favorite Argento kill scenes, while the F/X aren't all that great it's still a well-done and excellent creepy scene. You'll be hard pressed to find a filmmaker who can film a murder scene better than Dario Argento. They are so amazingly shot.

But the problem for me is just that the investigation just isn't that interesting at times, while it does have it's moments I just felt there weren't enough. The 112-minute running time didn't help matters as well. Simply put in my opinion The Cat o' Nine Tails just drags in some areas. For what it's worth though The Cat o' Nine Tails is still a pretty good film, but a major letdown after his brilliant debut, but Argento was still learning his craft and after this would go on a great run of some of the very best horror movies ever made.

The thing with Dario Argento is a lot of his movies you must see more than once. Anybody who knows me can tell you how much I idolize Dario Argento. But to be quite honest upon my first viewings of a lot of his work I found it average or below average. But after going back and watching them I became a die hard Argento fan. Maybe The Cat o' Nine Tails will be one of those films I come to like more with another viewing.

In closing, The Cat o' Nine Tails is a good film in the career of Dario Argento, but not everything works and we have a good film, nothing less, nothing more.
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The Cat O' Nine Tails [Blu-ray]
The Cat O' Nine Tails [Blu-ray] by Dario Argento (Blu-ray - 2011)
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