6.7/10
7,919
75 user 117 critic

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 (story), Luigi Cozzi (story) (as Luigi Collo) | 2 more credits »

Watch Now

With Prime Video

ON DISC
ALL

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Crime | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A musician is stalked by an unknown killer who's blackmailing him for an accidential killing of another stalker. But is everything what it appears to be?

Director: Dario Argento
Stars: Michael Brandon, Mimsy Farmer, Jean-Pierre Marielle
Certificate: GP Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A witness of an attack, a writer becomes stalked by a serial killer.

Director: Dario Argento
Stars: Tony Musante, Suzy Kendall, Enrico Maria Salerno
Opera (1987)
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A young opperata is stalked by a deranged fan bent on killing the people associated with her to claim her for himself.

Director: Dario Argento
Stars: Cristina Marsillach, Ian Charleson, Urbano Barberini
Phenomena (1985)
Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A young girl, with an amazing ability to communicate with insects, is transferred to an exclusive Swiss boarding school, where her unusual capability might help solve a string of murders.

Director: Dario Argento
Stars: Jennifer Connelly, Donald Pleasence, Daria Nicolodi
Deep Red (1975)
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

After witnessing a brutal murder, a pianist is unsuspectingly pulled into a complex web of mystery.

Director: Dario Argento
Stars: David Hemmings, Daria Nicolodi, Gabriele Lavia
Tenebre (1982)
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

An American writer in Rome is stalked by a serial killer bent on harassing him while killing all people associated with his work on his latest book.

Director: Dario Argento
Stars: Anthony Franciosa, Giuliano Gemma, Christian Borromeo
Inferno (1980)
Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

An American college student in Rome and his sister in New York investigate a series of killings in both locations where their resident addresses are the domain of two covens of witches.

Director: Dario Argento
Stars: Leigh McCloskey, Irene Miracle, Eleonora Giorgi
Sleepless (2001)
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

An elderly and retired police detective and a young amateur sleuth team up to find a serial killer whom has resumed a killing spree in Turin, Italy after a 17-year hiatus.

Director: Dario Argento
Stars: Max von Sydow, Stefano Dionisi, Chiara Caselli
Trauma (1993)
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

A young man tries to help a teenage European girl who escaped from a clinic hospital after witnessing the murder of her parents by a serial killer and they try to find the killer before the killer finds them.

Director: Dario Argento
Stars: Christopher Rydell, Asia Argento, Piper Laurie
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A young policewoman slowly goes insane while tracking down an elusive serial rapist/killer through Italy when she herself becomes a victim of the brutal man's obsession.

Director: Dario Argento
Stars: Asia Argento, Thomas Kretschmann, Marco Leonardi
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

In the chaos of the final days of the Italian revolution a thief and a baker hook up and travel the streets of Milan witnessing the historic events, which quickly take a dark turn.

Director: Dario Argento
Stars: Adriano Celentano, Enzo Cerusico, Marilù Tolo
Two Evil Eyes (1990)
Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Two horror tales based on short stories by Edgar Allan Poe directed by two famous horror directors, George A. Romero and Dario Argento. A greedy wife kills her husband, but not completely. A sleazy reporter adopts a strange black cat.

Directors: Dario Argento, George A. Romero
Stars: Adrienne Barbeau, Harvey Keitel, Ramy Zada
Edit

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
Edit

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:

From the Master of Terror Who Gave You "The Bird With the Crystal Plumage" - The Picture That Out-Psyched "Psycho"! See more »


Certificate:

GP | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

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 »

Edit

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 »
Edit

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

Gigi the Loser: Nothing's easy for me. I can't even knock over a chair without getting caught.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Videoclub (2013) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Sixth Sense and Nine Avenues.
2 November 2013 | by SpikeopathSee all my reviews

Il gatto a nove code (The Cat O' Nine Tails) is written and directed by Dario Argento. It stars Karl Malden, James Franciscus, Catherine Spaak, Horst Frank, Aldo Reggiani, Carlo Alighiero and Rada Rassimov. Music is by Ennio Morricone and cinematography by Erico Menczer.

Blind puzzle solver Franco Arno (Malden) and newspaper man Carlo Giordani (Franciscus) team up to see if they can solve the mystery of the murders that are terrifying the city. With their own lives becoming increasingly in danger, and the lines of investigation splintered all over the place, the men are drawn to the mysterious Terzi Institute where geneticists are tampering with gene patterns…

Argento doesn't like it and the fans are very much divided about the worth of it on the Argento curriculum vitae, yet The Cat O' Nine Tails is a delightfully entertaining oddity.

The plot is labyrinthine with relish on top, spinning the viewers into the same convoluted investigative maze that Messrs Arno and Giordani find themselves in. In fact, it's near genius that it rarely makes sense under inspection, yet still there's a fascinating edge to the story, with its characterisations, sexual kinks and cruel murders, there's a power to the piece that rewards if you can just run with it, buy into Argento's Giallo singed world.

With Malden turning in a great performance and Franciscus performing to a level nobody thought was in him, the lead characters really come to life. Add to that Morricone's creepy jazzy-garde fuelled score underlining the skew-whiff nature of the beast, and Menczer's photography tonally muted, tech credits are at one with the themes ticking away in the narrative, a narrative that has observation, ironically, on vision, sight and minds eye. While there's a couple of rug-pulls jostling for our attention just to keep things twisty.

Then there is the director himself. The Cat O' Nine Tails finds him restrained compared to the excess of style over substance films that would dominate his oeuvre post release of The Cat. That's not to say there isn't style here, there's plenty as Argento dallies in POV, iris vision, and a nifty trick that gives the blind Arno "sight", further ensuring that the supposed handicapped character is the key player and potential saviour of all. A number of scenes are bursting at the seams with suspense, with a cemetery/mausoleum sequence top draw, for sure Argento is firmly getting in his stride here.

It's not a gore movie, something which I personally think has led to some of Argento's fans giving the film the cold shoulder, but it's the tale (or tails of course) and characterisations that hold it up as being under valued. It's a Giallo whodunit flecked with sexual stings and no little amount style draped all over it. 7/10


5 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 75 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Comedy Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular comedy titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed