Aug 282021

The Cat o’ Nine Tails arrives on 4K Ultra HD from Arrow Video on August 24th. This horror-mystery-thriller stars James Franciscus, Karl Malden and Catherine Spaak and ports over all the features from the 2018 Blu-ray release.



The Cat o’ Nine Tails

Genre(s): Horror, Suspense/Thriller, Crime
Arrow Video | NR – 112 min. – $59.95 | August 24, 2021

Date Published: 08/28/2021 | Author: The Movieman

Directed by: Dario Argento
Writer(s): Dario Argento, Luigi Collo and Dardano Sacchetti (story), Dario Argento (screenplay)
Cast: James Franciscus, Karl Malden, Catherine Spaak, Pier Paolo Capponi, Horst Frank, Rada Rassimov

Features: Commentary, Interviews, Theatrical Trailers
Slip Cover: Yes (slip case)
Digital Copy: No
Formats Included: 4K
Number of Discs: 1

Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 1.0), Italian (DTS-HD MA 1.0)
Video: 2160p/Widescreen 2.35
Dynamic Range: HDR10, Dolby Vision
Subtitles: English SDH, English
Codecs: HEVC / H.265
Region(s): A, B, C


THE MOVIE — 3½/5

Plot Synopsis: When a break-in occurs at a secretive genetics institute, blind puzzle-maker Franco Arnò (KARL MALDEN), who overheard an attempt to blackmail one of the institute’s scientists shortly before the robbery, teams up with intrepid reporter Carlo Giordani (JAMES FRANCISCUS) to crack the case. But before long the bodies begin to pile up and the two amateur sleuths find their own lives imperiled in their search for the truth. And worse still, Lori (CINZIA DE CAROLIS), Franco’s young niece, may also be in the killer’s sights…

Quick Hit Review: It’s only been the last few years that I’ve come really acquainted with the giallo genre. The latest one is The Cat O’Nine Tails co-written and directed by none other Dario Argento who garnered fame courtesy of the success of The Bird with the Crystal Plumage, a film I liked well enough but wasn’t incredibly impressed with, though Argento’s direction was solid, the characters, with yet another Italian crime-drama featuring a ridiculous citizen investigating a series of homicides. You do get that here with two individuals, one blind no less, however they at least were a bit believable, both journalists, one at least receiving help from the police inspector.

The biggest drawback with The Cat O’Nine Tails is it is very much a slow burn film, parts of which I had trouble really caring about and my mind began drifting a time or two. It’s also not exactly a thrilling plot that involves corporate espionage which I guess makes for a twist on the giallo format of just a random serial killer knocking off various people for simple reasons. The motive behind this killer is a little underwhelming and had tinges of an episode from Law & Order: Criminal Intent titled “Seizure”.

On the plus side, the performances by James Franciscus and Karl Malden were both pretty good and at the very least the finale had a couple thrilling moments even if the killer’s reveal never quite worked. That said, for anyone not familiar with giallos, this still would be worth checking out as it is more mainstream.



This single-disc release comes housed in a sturdy slip case and also included is a nice booklet containing essays, fold-out double-sided poster and six double-sided postcard-sized lobby card reproduction artcards. There is no Blu-ray disc included but all of the features were ported over.

Audio Commentary — Critics Alan Jones and Kim Newman


  • Nine Lives (15:57) — Co-Writer/Director Dario Argento
  • The Writer O’ Many Tales (34:46) — Co-Writer Dardano Sacchetti
  • Child Star (11:02) — Actress Cinzia De Carolis
  • Giallo in Turin (15:11) — Production Manager Angelo Iacono

All four interviews were conducted in 2017 exclusively for the Blu-ray release. Each one does give a different perspective on the production with Argento recounting his work behind the camera with the writing and direction while De Carolis tells of her memories as a child.

Also included are the Script Pages (3:09) for the lost original ending, Theatrical Trailers for the Italian, international and United States.


VIDEO – 4½/5

Arrow Video releases The Cat O’Nine Tails onto 4K Ultra HD where it’s presented in the original 2.35 widescreen aspect ratio and given a 2160p high-definition transfer. The picture was taken from the original 35mm 2-perf Techniscope negative where it was scanned and restored in 4K resolution and then graded in HDR/Dolby Vision. This picture, no surprise, looks pretty darn good. Not entirely sure how much work was done since a 4K scan was released on Blu-ray in 2018 so this is probably the same transfer just upgraded to the 4K resolution instead of 1080p HD. Whatever the case, the picture does look good, detail is sharp and nicely defined throughout and colors are nicely balanced. I really did not notice any significant specs, dirt or other flaws.

AUDIO – 4/5

Meanwhile, the disc includes both English and Italian language DTS-HD Master Audio Mono tracks. In all likelihood these are the same lossless tracks from the 2018 Blu-ray but not a bad thing as dialogue does come across with nice clarity and even though it is a mono track there is some good depth (like a scene where a character is cooking eggs on a skillet) alongside the amazing composer Ennio Morricone’s score.

OVERALL – 3¾/5

Overall, The Cat O’Nine Tails is an entertaining enough of a movie but at times does drag and the whole corporate espionage angle wasn’t exactly exhilarating but on the whole there are elements to appreciate such as the acting and Dario Argento’s direction. This 4K Ultra HD release has good features ported over from the 2018 Blu-ray release however the video transfer is very well done.

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