Monday, July 04, 2005

Ears can see what eyes don't

Dario Argento often says that "The cat o' nine tails" is one of his least favourite movies.
Well I like it.
One reason for this is that again it is playing with the conventions of the genre:
the eye-witness is a key element of a number of giallos.

And here, the plot starts when blind crosswords-inventor Franco Arno (Karl Malden) overhears a conversation between two people one night. It happens that his "eyes" are those of a little girl who lives with him and describes him the scene he's listening to.

Later on, in a crucial and breathtaking scene, Argento ironically puts Carlo Giordano, a journalist who's partnering with our blind hero in his investigations, in a situation where he's litterally blinded as he's locked inside a tomb and all the action is happening outside, between blind Karl Malden and the murderer. Giordano - and we - can only hear this scene, which makes the suspense reach a peak.

This clever twist on giallo's rules was also present in "The bird with the crystal plumage": what does lead the hero to the murderer? Certainly not what he's seen at the beginning of the film, but a very peculiar noise recorded on a tape...

Two insighful links to check out about "Il gatto a nove code" : kinoeye's article and the images website's.

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