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11 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

THE CAT (Luigi Comencini, 1977) ***

7/10
Author: MARIO GAUCI (marrod@melita.com) from Naxxar, Malta
18 April 2007

This delightful black comedy was one of three films I watched in tribute to Italian director Comencini who died recently aged 90. It is often hilarious and boasts several exquisite characterizations, led by two incomparable stars - Ugo Tognazzi and Mariangela Melato - in top form (the latter was in fact awarded the David di Donatello, Italy's equivalent of the Oscar, as Best Actress).

Like Comencini's earlier THE Sunday WOMAN (1975), the film takes several swipes at a particular strata of Italian society - in this case, the petite bourgeoisie. Tognazzi and Melato own a dilapidated condominium and the plot follows their various attempts to evict the tenants, so that an ultra-modern one can be erected in its place thus making themselves rich in the process; still, the two of them hate each other's guts and don't think twice about cheating one another! Events come to a head when the titular feline, owned by the two and which causes no end of mischief to the rest of the inhabitants, turns up dead: they hassle the police to find the killer of their pet, but he repeatedly shuns them - little knowing that the investigation they eventually conduct on their own leads to multiple criminal cases (prostitution and drug rackets) and even political scandals (a high state official is a homosexual who's being blackmailed by the Mafia)!

The complex plot - taking several surprising turns along the way, including Tognazzi's involvement with the sluttish Dalila di Lazzaro and Melato's awkward seduction of priest Philippe Leroy! - renders the film somewhat overlong, but it's buoyed by an infectious score from the one and only Ennio Morricone (which is itself utilized for comic counterpoint during the climactic trial sequence). Incidentally, the film's executive producer was one Sergio Leone!

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