Review: The Cat o’ Nine Tails

Blu-ray: The Cat O’Nine Tails (1971)

Franco Arnò (Karl Malden) is a retired blind journalist who lives with his niece and makes a living from writing crossword puzzles. While taking a walk one evening, he overhears a suspicious conversation between 2 men who are sat in a car parked outside a scientific medical institution where genetic experiments are taking place. When people begin to be killed who are linked to the institution, Franco teams up with a newspaper reporter to try and solve the mystery of what is happening.

The Cat o’ Nine Tails is an early film from Dario Argento, yet still displays some of the beautiful camerawork and composition that he would finesse in later projects.

While containing fewer bloody kills than Argento’s previous film The Bird With the Crystal Plumage, the deaths are still nonetheless terrifying when they happen, and viewpoints from the killers perspective throw you right into the middle of the horrific action being played out before you.

The characters are likeable and well rounded, with Karl Malden soon making you forget about his iconic character of Detective Lt. Mike Stone in The Streets of San Francisco which began a year after The Cat o’ Nine Tails was released (now there’s a man who could have solved this mystery too!).

Roundly considered to not be one of Argento’s best, The Cat o’ Nine Tails is still a solidly enjoyable giallo which ticks all the right boxes.

Accompanied by a slew of great special features, this is a worthy addition to your collection.


  • Brand new 4K restoration of the film from the original camera negative
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
  • Original mono Italian and English soundtracks (lossless on the Blu-ray Disc)
  • Newly translated English subtitles for the Italian soundtrack
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtrack
  • New audio commentary by critics Alan Jones and Kim Newman
  • New interviews with co-writer/director Dario Argento, co-writer Dardano Sacchetti, actress Cinzia De Carolis and production manager Angelo Iacono
  • Script pages for the lost original ending, translated into English for the first time
  • Original Italian and international theatrical trailers
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Candice Tripp
  • Double-sided fold-out poster
  • 4 lobby card reproductions
  • Limited edition booklet illustrated by Matt Griffin, featuring an essay on the film by Dario Argento, and new writing by Barry Forshaw, Troy Howarth and Howard Hughes

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Review by Dave (host of 60 Minutes With) from a disc kindly supplied by Arrow Films.