THE CAT O’NINE TAILS
IL GATTO A NOVE CODE
1971, AGFA, 112 min, Italy/France/West Germany, Dir: Dario Argento

This second entry in Dario Argento’s “Animal Trilogy” found the young talent further refining his distinctive style and cementing his reputation as master of the giallo. When a break-in occurs at a secretive genetics institute, a blind puzzle-maker (Karl Malden) overhears an attempt to blackmail an institute scientist shortly before the robbery; he teams up with intrepid reporter Carlo (James Franciscus) to crack the case. Soon the bodies pile up, and the two amateur sleuths find their own lives at risk. Worse still, the puzzle-maker’s niece (Cinzia De Carolis) is in the killer’s sights. Featuring another nerve-jangling score by the great Ennio Morricone, THE CAT O’ NINE TAILS remains one of Argento’s most suspenseful and underrated films.


ONE-EYED JACKS
1961, Universal, 141 min, USA, Dir: Marlon Brando

Originally intended as a project for director Stanley Kubrick (based on various scripts by Sam Peckinpah and Rod Serling, among others), ONE-EYED JACKS became (in)famous as the only film directed by Marlon Brando – who also stars as an outlaw bent on taking revenge on former friend Karl Malden. A surreal and often stunning film that anticipated postmodern Westerns like Monte Hellman’s THE SHOOTING and Peckinpah’s own THE BALLAD OF CABLE HOGUE.


THE CINCINNATI KID
1965, Warner Bros., 102 min, USA, Dir: Norman Jewison

Steve McQueen is perfectly cast as an ambitious young gambler poised to triumph over master poker player Edward G. Robinson at a high-stakes game in Depression-era New Orleans. Adapted from the Richard Jessup novel by Ring Lardner, Jr. and Terry Southern, this suspenseful character study features a supporting cast of greats including Ann-Margret, Tuesday Weld, Rip Torn, Karl Malden, Joan Blondell and Cab Calloway.


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