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The Cat o' Nine Tails (1971)

Il gatto a nove code (original title)
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.

Director:

Dario Argento

Writers:

Dario Argento (based on a story by), Luigi Cozzi (based on a story by) (as Luigi Collo) | 2 more credits »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
James Franciscus ... Carlo Giordani
Karl Malden ... Franco Arnò
Catherine Spaak ... Anna Terzi
Pier Paolo Capponi ... Police Supt. Spini
Horst Frank ... Dr. Braun
Rada Rassimov ... Bianca Merusi
Aldo Reggiani Aldo Reggiani ... Dr. Casoni
Carlo Alighiero Carlo Alighiero ... Dr. Calabresi
Vittorio Congia Vittorio Congia ... Righetto (cameraman)
Ugo Fangareggi Ugo Fangareggi ... Gigi the Loser
Tom Felleghy Tom Felleghy ... Dr. Esson
Emilio Marchesini Emilio Marchesini ... Dr. Mombelli
Fulvio Mingozzi Fulvio Mingozzi ... Spimi's man
Corrado Olmi Corrado Olmi ... Morsella
Pino Patti Pino Patti ... Barber
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Storyline

Franco Arno is a blind man that lives with his young niece and makes a living writing crossword puzzles. One night, while walking on the street, he overhears a weird conversation between two man sitting in a car parked in front of a medical institute where genetic experiments are performed. The same night someone breaks in the institute and knocks out a guard. Arno decides to investigate with the help of reporter Carlo Giordani. Written by Giancarlo Cairella <vertigo@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

As the body count increases, will no one escape the sting of the cat o' nine tails See more »


Certificate:

GP | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Italy | France | West Germany

Language:

Italian

Release Date:

21 May 1971 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Cat o' Nine Tails See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut) | (Super 8-version in 2 parts)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The scene where Giordani meets Anna Terzi at her father's house is a reference to the scene in the novel The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler where Marlowe first meets Vivian Regan at her father's house. Portions of the dialogue are verbatim. See more »

Goofs

When woman is killed in her apartment, locket is under her, but in the next shot, it's clearly visible and not under her. See more »

Quotes

Carlo Giordani: Something fishy there.
Franco Arno: Isn't there something fishy in all our lives?
See more »

Alternate Versions

The original U.S. theatrical release was cut by approximately 20 minutes. The version released by Anchor Bay is the complete 112-minute version. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Deep Red 25th Anniversary (2000) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Not my favourite Argento but still worthwhile
26 January 2007 | by Mother_of_TearsSee all my reviews

Dario Argento has gone on record as saying that The Cat o' Nine Tails is his least favourite of all his own work. I was a bit surprised to hear that, although I must agree it's a flawed film. It's worth noting that, while it's generally regarded as something of a minor early work among his filmography, in his native Italy it remains his most popular video rental.

The Cat o' Nine Tails is a murder mystery thriller that strays far closer to classic Hitchcock and Agatha Christie than to Argento's own later works which focused heavily on extreme violence and/or the supernatural. While the "Ten Little Indians"-style whodunit plot has some clever, interesting twists and turns to keep you guessing, I did feel that Argento got rather bogged down in the mechanics of his plot at times. Also, at 112 minutes it's one of the only Argento films that slightly outstays its welcome.

Karl Malden is excellent as Arno, the blind crossword puzzle designer. I enjoyed his charming interaction with both his little niece Lori and sleazy investigative journalist James Franco. There's one strikingly tense set piece where Franco is trapped in a dark crypt. The film also has an amiably jaunty comic tone in places. Perhaps my favourite feature of the whole movie was the excellent musical score of Ennio Morricone. A jazzy prog-rock soundtrack that mixes bass, percussion and trumpets, it's probably the coolest, grooviest music in any Argento film before he began collaborating with soundtrack maestros Goblin.

All in all, The Cat o' Nine Tails is for me not quite as lively, memorable or inspired as Argento's strongest work, but it's still an entertaining and clever thriller that's well worth a look.


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