A Bad DVD of a Mediocre Giallo
The Magician | New York, NY | 07/08/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)
"This rare, sleazy 1972 giallo (italian murder mystery) is presented widescreen and in Italian with removable albeit tiny English subtitles. That's the good news. The bad news is that the video transfer is from a terrible videotape source complete with drop-outs. Also, the contrast is way-off so dark images are super dark and bright images are burn-out bright. It looks awful and it gave me eye strain after a while.
The story concerns a blind pianist who overhears someone being blackmailed and before you know it the bodies begin piling up. It has its moments although not nearly enough to keep your finger from twitching on the fast forward on your remote. It's dull, sleazy and pretty low rent and should make you appreciate the artistry of the films of Argento and Bava even more. However, the final 15 minutes are fairly suspenseful and include a surprisingly nasty shower murder that took me off guard. Not recommended for the casual viewer, but if you have a serious interest in this weird, lovable genre than give it a look."
AN OK MOVIE, TERRIBLE DVD
Anton Ilinski | Moscow, Russia | 08/10/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"First of all Sergio Pastore's "Crimes of the Black Cat", which was originally titled "Sette Scialli Di Seta Gialla" (Seven Shawls of Yellow Silk), saw the light of day not in 1986 as stated at Amazon, but in 1972. Up to then another italian master Dario Argento already managed to shoot three of his giallo greats: "The Bird with a Crystal Plumage", "Cat O'Nine Tails" and "Four Flies on a Grey Velvet". And surely Pastore's movie is not as elaborate, picturesque and intense as Argento's early works. Although it's not that bad. "Crimes..." start off pretty slow and I agree with the previous reviewer - sometimes you feel a temptation to hit FF on your remote (which I didn't by the way). Then things start to wind off faster and the ending is really taut and unexpected. The shower scene is indeed rather shocking, I guess we may consider it as a homage to "Psycho" made in a usual Italian style (just recall Lucio Fulci's razor breast-slitting e.g. in "The New York Ripper"). I bet that was utterly disturbing in 1972 if it looks that good now.
Anyway "Crimes..." is an example of typical giallo. It has everything the genre usually offers. For starters the title. Giallo films often tend to be named something like "Ten Crippled Cats in a Purple Room" - it always sounds mysterious. Then the story-line with an enigmatic murder. The blind pianist (wait, I think I've seen this before... Oh, maybe it was the above-mentioned "Cat O'Nine Tails"?) who solves the mystery while the police wouldn't find water out in the Pacific. Loud and harsh music which takes some time to get used to and then approve it. Beautiful and thought-out indoor scenes' set-dressing. Quick and hasty jumps from wide shots to close ups and back... You'll find everything giallo is famous for here. If you haven't seen movies like this before you might feel a bit awkward, if you are familiar with some Italian features of this kind you won't be surprised, and if you're a giallo fanatic I think you'll love "Crimes...".
But the edition itself... I don't know, maybe it was a straight VHS transfer, but I can't even say it's poor - it's horrendous. I mean - c'mon, we live in a digital era, you can't release films of such visual quality nowdays. There were a couple of dark scenes where you can't see anything at all, colors are blurred, the picture is all grainy... I think fans would really appreciate it if "Anchor Bay" or "Blue Underground" release a nice remastered version.
By the way in extra features you can find some previews of films to come and they are of even worse quality which repels you from buying them once and for all.
So 3 stars to the movie and 1 to the DVD itself."
Fine movie in horrible edition!
Guigonnet Maryvonne | La Crau, France | 08/06/2008
(2 out of 5 stars)
"It's really a shame to see such a good movie in this terrible edition! Image is muddy , grainy , distorted to match a 1.85 ratio...Especially disapointing as these Crimes of the Black Cat is a must-see giallo for connaisseurs...."
Spider Labyrinth | TX USA | 12/17/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Crimes of the Black Cat is an overlook film in the "giallo" genre. Sometimes this genre tends to have trouble sticking to the plot and logic, but it's a movie not a documentary. While there are better films in the "giallo" genre (i.e. Lenzi's "Orgasmo", "The Bird with the Crystal Plumage", "Blood and Black Lace", "Death Carries a Cane"), this one should be in your collection."