Another Argento classic, The Cat o' Nine Tails leans more towards giallo mystery thriller rather than horror, but there are some horrific moments in the film for sure. Seeing as this came one year after Bird With the Crystal Plumage, a more straight up mystery film with a few kills makes a lot of sense. That's what he was producing at around this time period. Four Flies on Grey Velvet came out in the same year as The Cat o' Nine Tails. This is what people refer to as the ANIMAL TRILOGY - far more successful a trilogy than the THREE MOTHERS trilogy, sadly, thanks to the Mother of Tears fiasco.
Reporter Carlo Giordani (James Franciscus) investigates the goings on at a lab facility after a failed robbery attempt leaves a guard rattled. He enlists the help of Franco Arno (Karl Malden) - a blind ex-reporter who happened to spot a car near the facility on the same night. As they get closer to the one they are hunting, they become the hunted themselves.
It's a fun little mystery. As with most giallo films, when you find out who did it and why, you might find yourself blinking at the screen blankly and mumbling, "Uh...ok....sure." But, it's still well worth a watch seeing as this is Prime Argento at the height of his film career.He really keeps things moving forward well and manages to get some humorous elements in that really work well, too
Franciscus and Malden are fantastic in this. They really sell their characters and work well as the crime sleuths. Other standouts are Rada Rassimov and the odd faced Ugo Fangareggi as the awesome criminal helper Gigi the Loser - really dug that character as well.
The robot award for the movie goes to Catherine Spaak who's as stiff as the doll from DEEP RED. :)
While I'm still not sure why this was called The Cat o' Nine Tails (...were there nine suspects? Hmmm...maybe?) this is definitely a new fave of mine now that I've finally seen it. I need to revisit Four Flies now that I'm older. I originally saw it "back in the day" after ordering a VHS bootleg. We're talking the, "You send me $15 and...who knows....you may actually get a VHS of the movie you want from me a few weeks later," time period in the 80s when that was the only way to see these films here in the States. :)
Where does this film sit in the Animal Trilogy for you? I put it second to BIRD, but above FOUR FLIES, I believe. Check it!