Sunday, 20 December 2015

Che Cazzo AKA Italiano For What The Fuck (The Cat O' Nine Tails Review)

So if you were perchance wondering why the hell I didn't talk more about The Cat O' Nine Tails is basically because I want to preserve it for it's own blog. This was perhaps the strangest film I picked up because it was the one that had the most bootleg feeling to it. The packaging was incredibly striking and completely insane. It is not the picture above since I got it on DVD though I don't have a picture of the one I had now because I lost the DVD case. But trust me, it was by far the cheapest looking one of them all. Which is strange since the director of the film is Dario Argento. I mean I didn't really know much about the guy but looking him up, it seemed like his record was extensive and impressive. If nothing else, he was involved in Once Upon A Time In The West, which is a Sergio Leone film and Leone's one of the big names in Italian cinema, so to have this movie come off as cheap might not reflect entirely his line of work.

The other weird thing is that this was the first time (or at least the first time in a while) that I got exposed to a obviously dubbed film. One in which the dubbing is somewhat off and uncharacteristic of the characters. Where there's a certain artificiality to the whole process. It's not bad per se, that sort of dubbing can be entertaining. There's a lot of kung fu movies out there where part of the fun is the shit dubbing (which reminds me...I gotta see more of those). This could very well produce some entertainment in that respect too, couldn't it? Well, after succumbing myself to the film a few times, I can definitely say it was a bizarre experience going through it, and that the dubbing served to enhance it. But what exactly is this movie about, what are it's contents? I'll tell you...

The film starts with a blind man and a little girl. The girl calls this man Cookie, which she says is because he's so sweet, but I believe that there was something lost in the translation. In any case, the two of them walk down a street and the old man senses trouble from a nearby car. Cookie then asks the little girl to inspect the man that is in the car that he just past.  The old man seems to be a fan of puzzles as when he and the girl return home he solves a crossword. Then all of a sudden he hears a car and for a split second a man face down flashes on the screen. At first I thought it was stylistic, but the flashing doesn't occur again and there's a part afterwards that shows the man being killed in POV format as the assailant then breaks into a place with a screwdriver. I figure it was just the shitty bootleg editing. The movie would sometimes have the frame be cutting out some of the text or important detail which essentially caused me to miss a few things here and there. It was just irritating and confusing.

Anyways, this whole situation leads to a journalist named Carlo who is investigating a break-in at an medical complex called the Terzi Institute. It is there where the man was killed (at least I think he was, it's never made clear) and where the camera was leading to. Carlo is trying to find information and then bumps into Cookie. And then Carlo goes on his merry way to find out more about the situation. A bit random, but I'm sure there's some Chekov going to come into play. Carlo goes to talk to the people at the institute but finds bumpkus about what happened, and so he leaves leading to one of the doctors talking to his fiancee regarding about what really happened in the institute. The doctor arranges a meeting with someone at the train station and as he's standing by, he gets pushed on to the tracks and dies. Bummer.

Cookie gets read the news by his orphan girl who informs him also of the photo that was taken and then contacts Carlo who wrote the story (Chekov never fails). Apparently Cookie finds himself curious if the image (that he can't see) was cropped and after Carlo contacts the photographer, a good friend of his, it turns out that this hunch was in fact a reality, as the full photo reveals a hand that pushed the good doctor. Before the photographer can say any more and develop the full photo, he gets murdered by the shadowy figure and the evidence is destroyed. Carlo finds his pal dead and then commits himself further to solving the case, meeting with the doctors and their relatives, one being Anna, who although is the sauciest sausage, really doesn't do much for me.

The dubbing actually isn't terrible in how it syncs up to the mouth. It's more that the people who are doing the dubbing are clearly not voice actors and thus can't carry the proper nuances with the voice. With that said, they were coherent and did try to make an effort to capture the atmosphere or intensity that a scene needed. I was expecting more hilarity from it which unfortunately didn't happen, that is except for this crook that Carlo talks to that starts talking about watermelons. I wasn't sure if it was the fact that he was talking about watermelons, or the bizarre voice that was making it so amusing for me, but something told me that there was something lost in translation. For one, the character didn't look like a watermelon vendor and two, there was no watermelons being used or seen throughout the movie. Which is a shame because I would have liked to seen that come into play at some point.

The movie itself is a fair thriller. The editing is kind of edgy and sometimes feels out of place. I don't know if that's really how it was constructed or if it's because of the bootleg modifications but with that in mind, it was able to work. Each cut tended to have a good punch to it and the cinematography captures the gritty feel of a pulp-style story. Which makes sense for a giallo to do. As for the plot, while I didn't have any considerable issues with it (aside from the blind man having super senses), it wasn't anything too striking. The only really interesting part was the ending, in which they find the culprit who has kidnapped the orphan girl and then Cookie turns out to have a fucking cane sword and pretty much threatens the kidnapper to give him information on the girl. But the guy pretty much provokes Cookie by lying that he killed her and that's when shit gets real. Other than that and the watermelons, there wasn't anything else. It was pretty much a fever dream that came after watching some second-rate Hitchcockian film, where there was striking visuals and a few odd moments but nothing else. Perhaps in riffing it with oneself or with others you can find more to make fun of but otherwise, it's nothing to really write about. ironic, eh?

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