Arrow Video is on a fast track in the home video market with rereleasing their catalog titles in 4K restorations. Not only are they upgrading their titles, but releasing them in new packaging and artwork to help justify double-dipping. Their latest focus is on their Dario Argento catalog, probably what I’m going to assume are some of their most popular titles. They already gave a gorgeous release of Argento’s directorial debut The Bird With The Crystal Plumage, and with THE CAT O’ NINE TAILS, the restorations continue to shine.
Reporter Carlo Giordani is tracking down a case involving a break-in at a secretive genetics institute. The odd thing about the break-in is supposedly nothing was stolen, but the research conducted there is not exactly made public. After one of the doctors is pushed in front of a running train, a former reporter, Cookie, takes it upon himself to help Giordani in the case. In their investigation, they find that anyone with any indication of who is behind this seems to be killed before providing the evidence. Their leads are connected to whatever research is going on at the institute as well as who would want this to not leak out.
Karl Malden plays Cookie and steals the show in every scene he’s in. While some undermine him due to his blindness, his quick wit and sleuthing techniques make him a one-of-a-kind Argento creation. He is accompanied by his niece who works as his eyes to the world. I wouldn’t have minded if Cookie had become a recurring character in Argento murder mysteries.
So the selling point of this latest release of THE CAT O’ NINE TAILS is the new restoration and fans and collectors are wondering if this is worth the price point. In a short answer, yes. Per the included booklet, the original 35mm 2-perf Techniscope negative was scanned and restored in 4K resolution. The film was graded in 4K HDR/Dolby Vision. The results shine as it almost looks like a modern made film trying to look like an early 70s Italian film. Argento often uses vibrant colors especially in bloody sequences (Suspiria might be the best example) but NINE TAILS is so far the least violent of his filmography that I’ve seen so far. Even without the special effects, the soap opera murder mystery vibe in this film offers color schemes that pop in the 4K upgrade. The mono track was remastered and comes off clear and easily understandable. Since dialogue is re-recorded in post-production with these types of movies, sync issues are expected, but Giallo fans are already used to that.
This new set includes previously released special features. These include interviews with Argento, co-writer Dardano Sacchetti, actress Cinzia De Carolis, and production manager Angelo Iacono. The set comes inside a thick slipbox with newly commissioned artwork by Obviously Creative. That same artwork is on the included fold-out double-sided poster. Six double-sided, postcard-sized lobby card reproduction artcards are also included. Like other limited edition Arrow releases, a thick collector’s booklet with essays and photos comes with the release.
THE CAT O’ NINE TAILS is a more conservative film in comparison with the rest of Argento’s catalog, but Arrow has given it new life with their 4K restoration making this release a worthwhile purchase.