Thursday, August 9, 2012
Playing a Very Dangerous Game
Even though Dario Argento's Cat o' Nine Tails fails to be better than some of his more famous work such as Deep Red and Suspiria, its still a relatively well made giallo that features a few creepy moments. Most of the deaths do not stand out particularly, yet the reason this film ends up being better than expected is largely because of the legendary actor Karl Malden as one of the main characters, and that in addition to to this Argento has him play a blind man, which is a great touch. If anything its something that Hitchcock would have thought of, although one cannot say for certain. From the beginning there is a good dose of paranoia, which is only furthered by the actual plot. After all, this entire nasty business starts off with a blind mind and his adorable niece overhearing a rather odd conversation between two men, thus setting the film's plot in motion.
Really though Malden's Franco at first thinks of his investigation into murder and corporate theft as being something of a game, or a puzzle to be readily solved. Despite people's lives being at risk, its not until his own world is threatened by the killer that he begins to realize that he shouldn't have even bothered to intrude on the case, although maybe he also thought it was his civic and moral duty to intervene. This is contrasted with a newspaper reporter who Franco teams up with and who is actively involved mostly because its his job to seek out the truth, even though in movies such as this one reporters end up turning into amateur detectives, hunting down clues and unraveling the mystery before the police even do. If today's modern reporters were this good, we wouldn't have gone to war in Iraq among other things, but of course fiction has always fed us this myth of the intrepid reporter who risks their life to uncover a hidden conspiracy. Sometimes that actually happens in real life, but only because reality is stranger than fiction.
Much like his other 70s films, this one has style and the usual high end visuals that make Argento's films better than some of the even more low budget, trashier giallo fare. Also Argento got the legendary Ennio Morricone to do the score, and its another under praised piece from him that compliments the movie quite well. Its remarkable that Argento was able to constantly rope in great talent for his films one way or another, and even though the times seem to have passed him by we will always remember him through films such as this one. Even with a lesser effort, you get that brutal nightmare, one that makes you glad that your own dreams are not as dark and as gruesome as the ones had by the man who brought you the movie fashioned from his own twisted visions. 88
#Cats #Argento #Giallo #Horror Films