Ah, the cat knows all....
Kenneth M. Pizzi | San Mateo, CA United States | 11/26/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Interesting little Italian giallo released in 1972 and expertly restored by the folks at No Shame. Not a really bloody one per se, but a tale filled with the usual assortment of red herrings, unbridled sensuality, deception, deceit, murder, a cat named "Satan".....and motorcross dirt biking! (Well, actually the last one is just a device to move the romantic subplot along...) At any rate, the story borrows heavily from Poe's "The Black Cat", but don't let that turn you off to watching it. Scenes from the film itself will recall the madness of Argento's "Deep Red" and Kubrick's "The Shining" in moments of suspense and terror.
No stranger to this medium, Edwige Fenech is as gorgeous as ever and she looks just as lovely in the interview extra with director Sergio Martino as she did over 30 years ago when the film was produced. Supporting players Anita Strindberg and Luigi Pistilli raise the bar of this giallo over the standard fare typical of this genre. A good solid giallo, but not in the caliber of, say, "The Case of the Scorpion's Tale" (also directed by Martino) or "The Fifth Cord."
In fact, the extras, especially the interview with Martino and Fenech is well-done and most informative; the crew at No Shame have really presented a first-class DVD release re-mastered from the original print and now available in the USA for the first time."
SERGIO MARTINO'S BEST!!!
James Madsen | Calgary, AB CA | 01/28/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I know you Torso and Scorpion's Tail fans will disagree, but this is Martino's best giallo. GREAT location, music, and acting. The murder scenes are wonderfully executed, and Edwidge Fenech is HOT in her first villainous role. And the cries of the black cat! Creepy! Is it alive or dead? Great giallo. Period."
A tale of terror, murder and Satan
Dave99 | Brooklyn, New York | 11/15/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Life has been difficult lately for Irina (Anita Strindberg). Her husband Oliviero (Luigi Pistilli) abuses and humiliates her at every opportunity; he's been accused of slashing to death a young woman he knew; their housekeeper has just been killed in a similar fashion; and now she thinks he's trying to kill her. Enter Oliviero's niece Floriana (Edwige Fenech) and things begin to get even more interesting.
This film is based on Edgar Allan Poe's story "The Black Cat" and so is different from other gialli that I've seen with it's dark, haunted, gothic atmosphere (with the requisite cellar, of course). It also marked a change in roles played by Edwige Fenech. Looking very sly and seductive with a short bob, this was the first time - as she notes in her interview on the disc - that she played something of a bad girl: she arrives with a notorious reputation ("Is it true that you're a two-bit tart?," Oliviero asks her, to which she replies, "Well, it could be two bits well spent"), she goes to bed with her uncle and she definitely has her eyes on the family jewels.
Luigi Pistilli does a fine job as the threatening, frequently drunken Oliviero and Anita Strindberg really gives off a sense of nervous terror coming from being trapped in this hell of hers, complete with Oliviero's terrifyingly annoying black cat, Satan.
The picture looks very nice with good colors in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio, enhanced for widescreen sets and filling the screen. The original Italian audio track is provided along with an English dub and the subtitles are easy to read. Extras on the disc include interviews with Fenech, director Sergio Martino and writer Ernesto Gastaldi; and trailers for other Martino films. No Shame Films also includes a 12 page booklet with background on the film, placing it within the context of Italy's political situation at the times, plus bios and filmographies of Martino, Fenech and Stringberg. There are also some nice color still photos, though the photo on Fenech's bio page is that of another actress in the film!
While I can't say that I enjoyed this Martino film quite as much as his earlier effort with Edwige Fenech, "The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh" - it's a little slow at times and Edwige is absent from the first half hour - I'd still give it four stars in the giallo category for the performances, the stylish direction and the Poe-like sense of claustrophobia, terror and madness.
(A note for the curious: the title of the film was taken from a threatening letter one character sends to another in "The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh.")