Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


CAT O' NINE TAILS (1971). Director: Dario Argento.

A blind former reporter, Franco Arno (Karl Malden) and a younger newspaper man, Carlo Giordoni (James Franciscus) team up to try to find out who's behind a series of murders tied to the Terzi Institute, a genetics lab. The film's premise has it that people with a special XYY chromosome are more inclined towards criminal behavior than the rest of the population. The film is intriguing and suspenseful, full of quirky scenes and characters, and loaded with lots of suspects with secrets. These include Catherine Spaak as the supposed daughter of the head of the institute, and several professors (such as Horst Frank). Some of the murder scenes are done with flair. As is usual with Argento's movies, the gay material is slightly progressive for the period but also a bit dated. Not bad score by Ennio Morricone. Must be seen uncut and in wide screen for the full effect.

Verdict: Proof that Argento once made pretty good movies. ***.

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