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Film / The Cat o' Nine Tails

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The Cat o' Nine Tails is a giallo film by Dario Argento which was released in the year 1971. It is the second film in his "animal trilogy".

Blind former reporter Franco Arnò and his niece Lori are walking home one night, when he overhears a conversation between two men in a car about blackmail. Later on a breaking-and-entering happens at a nearby biology research institute. He deduces that these two instances are connected, and joins up with reporter Carlo Giordani to investigate. As the two snoop around, string of murders occur, all connected to the research institute...


Examples in this film:

  • Artistic License – Biology: There's no evidence that XYY syndrome gives anyone a criminal tendency. Actual effects of the syndrome include being taller than average, acne, and an increased risk of learning problems.
  • Blatant Lies: The killer lies to Arnò that his niece is dead before dying.
  • Car Chase: Police try to tail Giordani and Anna Terzi, but she shakes them off.
  • Covers Always Lie: Various posters for this film feature menacing cats, often with bloodied fangs, but there are no cats in the film at all. The title refers to the large number of clues pointing towards the murderer which are likened to nine tails on a cat.
  • Damsel in Distress: Lori is kidnapped by the killer near the end.
  • Death by Falling Over: Dr. Calabresi dies when he is pushed on front of an oncoming train.
  • Advertisement:
  • Destination Defenestration
  • Disney Villain Death: The killer dies when pushed into an elevator shaft.
  • Extra Y, Extra Violent: One of the things that the biology research institute is studying on.
  • Grave Robbing: When Arnò realizes that Bianca still has a vital clue on her, he and Giordani are forced to open up her coffin.
  • Manly Gay: Prof. Braun's lover Manuel.
  • Mistaken for Murderer:
    • Giordani accuses Anna of the murders.
    • He also briefly suspects Arnò when Arnò enters the masoleum with a bloody retractable blade at the end of his cane.
  • Navel-Deep Neckline: Anna's green outfit when Giordani questions her about involvement in the institute business, which has an opening from her neck to her navel.
  • Rain of Blood: Arnò is able to track the killer at the institute when some blood drops on him.
  • Tampering with Food and Drink: The killer tries to off Giordani with poisoned milk.
  • Title Drop: Done when Arnò and Giordani are going through the leads and note that there are nine of them. This is followed by an allusion to a "cat o' nine tails", a navy whip.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The trailer prominently displays the killer's death.