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The Cat o' Nine Tails (1971)
"Il gatto a nove code" (original title)

GP  -  Mystery | Thriller  -  21 May 1971 (USA)
6.8
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 5,372 users  
Reviews: 62 user | 100 critic

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.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Catherine Spaak ...
Anna Terzi
...
Police Supt. Spini
Horst Frank ...
Dr. Braun
Rada Rassimov ...
Bianca Merusi
Aldo Reggiani ...
Dr. Casoni
Carlo Alighiero ...
Dr. Calabresi
Vittorio Congia ...
Righetto (cameraman)
Ugo Fangareggi ...
Gigi the Loser
Tom Felleghy ...
Dr. Esson
Emilio Marchesini ...
Dr. Mombelli
Fulvio Mingozzi ...
Spimi's man
Corrado Olmi ...
Morsella
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:

It's nine times more suspenseful! See more »

Genres:

Mystery | Thriller

Certificate:

GP | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

| |

Language:

Release Date:

21 May 1971 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Cat o' Nine Tails  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(cut) | (Super 8-version in 2 parts) | (Limited Uncut Integral-Version)

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although it's one of his most successful films, this is the least favorite of Dario Argento among his pictures. See more »

Goofs

Early in the graveyard scene, as they are walking, the position of the actors changes between shots. In the side angle Malden has his left arm raised with his hand on Franciscus' right shoulder, in the angle showing them from the front, Malden has his arm down and Franciscus is gripping his shoulder. See more »

Quotes

Carlo Giordani: Do you know how many people are together right now making love this very second?
Anna Terzi: No.
Carlo Giordani: 780 on the average. Really.
[pause]
Carlo Giordani: I don't know if you're aware of it or not, but that was an invitation.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Videoclub (2013) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Not my favourite Argento but still worthwhile
26 January 2007 | by See 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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