Cat O'Nine Tails (1971)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

In this flawed mystery-thriller from flamboyant horror director Dario Argento, Karl Malden portrays a blind man who joins forces with a reporter (James Franciscus) to catch a killer with an extra chromosome. Much of the action occurs at a research hospital, where the killer seeks to conceal the original crime with still more murders. Easily the least interesting of Argento's early thrillers (which include the superior L'Uccello dalle Piume di Cristallo and Quattro Mosche di Velluto Grigio), this … More

Rating: R
Genre: Drama, Horror, Art House & International, Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By: Dardano Sacchetti, Dario Argento
In Theaters:
On DVD: Mar 29, 2005
Blue Underground - Official Site


as Franco Arno

as Carlo Giordani

as Anna Terzi

as Dr. Calabresi

as Police Superintenden...

as Morsella

as Prof. Terzi

as Dr. Casoni

as Dr. Braun

as Dr. Mombelli

as Dr. Esson

as Bianca Merusi
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for Cat O'Nine Tails

All Critics (17) | Top Critics (2)

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Full Review… | June 15, 2005
New York Times
Top Critic

A tall and slimmer Karl Malden stands out, but even with a rooftop chase, the conclusion and revelation are abrupt.

Full Review… | April 18, 2012
ReelTalk Movie Reviews

if it is Argento's weakest early effort, it is only because he was still trying to find his voice, experimenting with different techniques and gradually learning just how far he could push the envelope.

Full Review… | June 15, 2011
Q Network Film Desk


Full Review… | November 16, 2009

Italian 'giallo' thriller by horrormeister Dario Argento.

January 17, 2008

Audience Reviews for Cat O'Nine Tails

Not as memorable as The Bird with the Crystal Plumage but this was the early days when Argento was still trying to find his voice in the Giallo world. It's a bit overlong and the ending is shockingly abrupt (It reminded me of Vertigo) but there's just enough twists and humor to keep it from becoming boring and James Franciscus and Karl Malden play off each other very well.

A.D. Villarreal

Super Reviewer


Dario Argento's second film is a fairly underrated Giallo film. Argento has long expressed that Cat O' Nine Tails is one of least favorite films. Yet, this is a solid piece of Italian horror cinema. A film that is thrilling, horrifying and suspenseful. As a second work, Argento would mould and sharpen his skills as a director and along with his debut, The Bird with the Crystal Plumage; Cat O' Nine Tails was just the early horrifying attempts by Argento to create memorable horror films. This is an underrated film, and though Dario Argento has directed far superior Giallo films such as Deep Red, Tenebrae and Opera, Cat O' Nine Tails is still a well crafted film. The cast do a fine job here and the plot is thrilling, suspenseful, and keeps you on the edge of your seat. Dario Argento has made a terrific Giallo film with Cat O' Nine Tails, and it doesn't deserve the hatred it has received. I have to admit that despite this not being the strongest of Dario Argento's films, this is still a must see for fans of the director. Cat O' Nine Tails has enough thrills going for it to appeal to the Argento Connoisseur. Karl Malden delivers a solid performance Cat O' Nine Tails is very well crafted Giallo film, and despite Argento's mixed feeling about his film, this, I think is nonetheless a great film with a wonderful cast, effective story, and plenty of mystery and thrills that is a signature in all of Argento's Giallo's. Everything you'd expect from a great Giallo film is here, and as an Argento fan, I very much recommend it. An underrated film that is better than what critics have claimed it to be.

Alex roy

Super Reviewer

To be honest, I didn't find The Cat O'Nine Tails to be all that great. I actually found it kind of boring. The signature giallo plot twists are there and there isn't much gore to be seen (as Argento is usually known for), but it wasn't very appealing. I find it interesting to see Karl Malden pop up in a seemingly stripped-down mystery thriller, but it feels more like an American best-of rather than being its own thing. I found The Bird with the Crystal Plumage to be far superior, even though it came first. Dario Argento would go on to perfect the giallo later in the decade, while he felt this to be his weakest effort. I would have to concur with that. It's not terrible, but it's certainly lackluster.

Tim Salmons

Super Reviewer

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