THE CAT ONINE TAILS
(Il Gatto a Nove Code)
As usual with Argento, the film is driven by a series of sadistic set-pieces. There is a particularly good sequence where the camera takes the killers point-of-view as they shake hands with Carlo Alighero and then push him under a train to be beheaded. Although the scene that works far better than any of Argentos gore effects is one where James Franciscus goes to a barber and the barber starts remonstrating against reporters who have claimed that the killer was a barber while shaving him (we are never certain whether the barber knows that Franciscus is a reporter too) and Argento alarmingly cuts to closeups of the barbers razor trimming Franciscuss chin as he starts talking about slashing throats with razors.
The Cat O'Nine Tails also has Dario Argento in a Hitchcock-esque mood the scene where James Franciscus beds Catherine Spaak and then realises that she may have poisoned the milk he is about to drink is classic Hitchcock. There is an excellent scene with James Franciscus trapped inside a crypt then being saved by the blind Karl Malden who returns with a blood-covered cane, something that suddenly casts Malden into an uncertain light. There are all the usual Dario Argento motifs and stylistic effects of half-heard clues and cameras taking the points of view of the killer and creeping up on people. Argento has a much stronger, better constructed puzzle plot here than he does in most of his other giallo films, although the final revelation of the killers identity is an arbitrary affair. The fascination the killer having an XYY chromosome is thrown in after it gained a high-profile after being posited as a theory during the trial of mass-murderer Richard Speck.
Dario Argentos other films are: The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970), Four Flies on Grey Velvet (1971), Deep Red (1976), Suspiria (1977), Inferno (1980), Tenebrae/Unsane (1982), Phenomena/Creepers (1985), Opera/Terror at the Opera (1987), Two Evil Eyes (1990), Trauma (1993), The Stendhal Syndrome (1996), The Phantom of the Opera (1998), Sleepless (2001), The Card Player (2004), Mother of Tears: The Third Mother (2007), Giallo (2009) and Dracula (2012).