Film 274: SETTE SCIALLI DI SETA GIALLA aka THE CRIMES OF THE BLACK CAT aka SEVEN SHAWLS OF YELLOW SILK
Sette Scialli di Seta Gialla aka The Crimes of the Black Cat aka Seven Shawls of Yellow Silk
2.5 out of 5 stars
Sergio Pastore (CHRYSANTHEMUMS FOR A BUNCH OF SWINE) directs this pretty obvious plagiarism of the Mario Bava classic BLOOD AND BLACK LACE from 1972. The story has to do with a blind pianist who begins to investigate a number of murders of some fashion models; all killed by a cat with the poison Curare on its claws. Starring Anthony Steffen (THE NIGHT EVELYN CAME OUT OF THE GRAVE), Giacomo Rossi (KILL BABY KILL and he played Ben Cortman in Vincent Price’s LAST MAN ON EARTH), and Sylvia Koscina (Bava’s LISA AND THE DEVIL) doing what is essentially an extended cameo), the film is a wildly uneven exercise with characters being routinely introduced solely so that they can be killed off a few scenes down the road. Acting is universally stiff and, well… Italian (dubbed into English), but there’s lots of ‘big bush’ nudity, so I guess there’s *that*. The film score is all very groovy and exceedingly early ‘70s, but is fun. While CRIMES OF THE BLACK CAT is an obvious clone of BLOOD AND BLACK LACE (as well as a handful of others such as Argento’s CAT O’ NINE TAILS and FOUR FLIES ON GREY VELVET, Paolo Cavera’s BLACK BELLY OF THE TARANTULA, Lucio Fulci’s LIZARD IN A WOMAN’S SKIN to name but a few), it lacks any of the Bava film’s stunning visual style. BLACK CAT’s conclusion is HEAVILY indebted to Henry Hathaway’s 23 PACES TO BAKER STREET from 1956 and is far bloodier that what is in the rest of the movie (particularly the ‘straight razor in the shower’ scene). In the end, CRIMES OF THE BLACK CAT is a fine enough ‘70s Italian murder mystery / giallo, but it’s mostly notable not for what it is, but rather what it borrows / steals from. Fun… just not terrible original.