Paola Whitney (Isabelle Marchall) is a model who works for Francoise Ballais’ (Sylva Koscina) fashion house.  She has just broken up with her boyfriend, Peter Oliver (Anthony Steffen), a blind composer.  Peter is in a local restaurant when he hears part of a conversation.  It seems to him that the conspirators are plotting a murder.  When one of them leaves, Peter asks the maitre d to describe the person leaving.  He tells Peter that the woman was wearing a white cloak.  The woman, Susan Leclerc (Giovanna Lenzi), puts a basket and a yellow shawl in Paola’s dressing room.  Paola finds the shawl and puts it on.  She then opens the basket and falls down dead.

Police Inspector Jansen (Renato De Carmine) is assigned to the case.  Jansen questions everyone, especially Peter.  With the police involved Peter suspects that Paola was murdered.  Paola’s friend, Margot Thornhill (Shirley Corrigan) tells Peter that Paola had been involved with more than just him.  She tells him that Paola was also seeing Harry (Romano Malaspina), a photographer.  Peter and Margot go to see Harry but find him dead, stabbed to death.

The police find pictures in Harry’s studio of Paola in bed with Victor Morgan (Giacomo Rossi Stuart).  Victor is married to Francoise Ballais (Sylva Koscina).  Immediately blackmail is suspected.  Peter begins helping Inspector Jansen with the investigation.  More murders are committed. 

Eventually they find that many of the murders were done by Susan.  Susan runs a pet shop and is a drug addict.  For a supply of drugs, she dips her cat’s nails in curare.  She then provides the victim with a yellow silk shawl that has been sprayed with an animal repellent.  The repellent causes the cat to scratch.  The scratch releases the poison into the person’s system, and they die.  No one knows that the victims have been poisoned.  When Susan’s cat is killed, she decides she wants to turn the killer in but ends up stalked herself.  The question now is who is behind all the murders?

“Crimes of the Black Cat” AKA “Sette scialli di seta gialla” or “Seven Shawls of Yellow Silk” was released in 1972 and was directed by Sergio Pastore.  It is an Italian crime horror mystery and a giallo.

As you would find in a typical giallo, the film has more than its fair share of nudity and gore, sometimes both at the same time.  In general, the movie was interesting and the story, although average, was presented with a lot of mystery.  It made for a decent and rather captivating murder mystery even though it wasn’t all that complicated.  There was a lot of camp as well as a plethora of gialli tropes to add to the entertainment. 

It is slightly amusing that a blind composer is a better detective than the actual police, but this dynamic has been done before so it is not unique.  The blind-man-solves-crimes was done the year before in the giallo “Cat O’Nine Tails” 1971.  The method of killing was rather intricate for some of the victims.  Only two people were actually killed using a cat as a murder weapon.  Other murders were done using standard tools of the trade, so to speak.    

Anthony Steffen’s voice was dubbed by Edmund Purdom in the international version of the film.

No comments

Leave your comment

In reply to Some User