Fan composite #3: Crimes of the Black Cat (1972)

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I have just completed work on my composite of Sergio Pastore’s giallo Crimes of the Black Cat (1972). This has taken much longer than I had initially anticipated but the outcome is quite pleasing. When creating fan composites it is not the creating of the audio track that takes a long time it is the arduous task of building subtitles. Thankfully, I had a subtitle file to work with so that I did not have to build one from scratch but it is still a time consuming job.

When blind composer Peter Oliver’s (Anthony Steffan) lover is found murdered he takes it upon himself to find out who murdered her. As he becomes more involved more women are found murdered with scratches on their body and a yellow silk shawl. Peter becomes more and more involved as he gets closer to the truth, risking his own life and the lives of those around him in the process. This is a very strong entry in the giallo canon that comes highly recommended. I would not consider it to be in my top ten gialli but it would certainly be in my top twenty. The shower murder is both unexpected and very brutal. It is probably one of the nastiest murder scenes I have seen in a giallo. Steffan is very convincing in the role of Peter Oliver and evokes memories of Karl Malden’s character in Dario Argento’s Cat O’ Nine Tails (1971) which clearly influenced this film heavily.

The source for the composite was the Italian Federal DVD. Crimes of the Black Cat was released a few years back by Dagored in a version that was of very poor quality. I did purchase the disc but sold it after watching a scant few minutes. Whilst the transfer was presented in in widescreen, it was not anamorphically enhanced and of very poor quality. It was also discovered that is was missing footage, most notably from the notorious shower murder. The Federal release is a marked improvement on the Dagored DVD. Whilst not presented in the original 2.35:1 ratio it is cropped to 1.85:1 and is anamorphically enhanced. The transfer is much better than the Dagored one but it appears that Federal did not go to any lengths to clean up the master as there are a number of scratches present. The print appears to be uncut but there could be a few frames missing from the shower murder as the editing does not appear to be quite right. I have also read online that the version included is the ‘clothed version’ of the film which lacks some of the more explicit nude shots. Despite these minor flaws this is a most welcome release.

The disc originally only had Italian audio and subtitles. Thanks to Lefteris from Trash-Online I was able to add an English audio that was taken from the rare Greek DAV VHS release of the film. The audio was not in great shape so I tried to remaster it using Adobe Audition. The result is not overly impressive but is more than listenable. I also used an English subtitle file that I found online, which could have been taken from the Dagored release, as the source for my English subtitle track.

I have included some screenshots from my fan composite:

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And some taken from the earlier Dagored release so that you can see the difference in picture quality:

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My next composite will be of Armando Crispino’s The Ertruscan Kills Again (1972). It was previously released on a grey market DVD by Eurovista and, like the Dagored release of Crimes of the Black Cat, is of very poor quality. The film was released on DVD in Germany by UFA as part of the Bryan Edgar Wallace Collection 3 and the transfer is absolutely stunning. I will be adding an English audio track to this which will be taken from the Dutch VHS. Hopefully it will take less time than Crimes of the Black Cat did.

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