Starring: Shirley Corrigan, Renato de Carmine, Annabella Incontrera, Sylva Koscina, Umberto Raho, Giacomo Rossi-Stuart, Anthony Steffen
With heavy influences shining through from the likes of Italian horror maestros Dario Argento and Mario Bava, some suspense filled shower tomfoolery care of Mister Hitchcock and a funky seventies progressive rock score by Morricone wannabe Manuel de Sica, Sergio Pastore’s Sette Scialli Di Seta Gialla is pretty much a blatantly obvious pastiche of its influences. This is not entirely a bad thing as most euro-trash from the mid-seventies was derivative of everything else that came before it. What’s that thing they say about the best form of flattery? Still, the film holds its own as one of the more middle of the road kind of entry into the genre.
Released on DVD in North America by newcomer Dagored Films as Crimes of the Black Cat, instead of the literal translation title Seven Shawls of Yellow Silk, Pastore’s giallo stars Anthony Steffen (Django the Bastard himself!) as Peter Oliver, a blind man who finds himself caught up in the middle of an investigation after overhearing a conversation in a bar which leads to the death of his ex-girlfriend. Steffen sure as hell ain’t no Karl Malden but that doesn’t stop him from somehow being the most visually non-impaired blind person around. It doesn’t get much better than being able to witness Steffen as he smells a woman and somehow knows what she is wearing. Also, prepare yourself for a first in cinematic history when a jaywalking ticket foils Steffen’s butler as he is in hot pursuit of the main suspect. Ahh, the twists and turns of the Italian giallo. What’s not to love?
Dagored Films presents the movie uncut in a slightly off 2.35:1 aspect ratio. The disc itself is not formatted for 16:9 televisions and claims to be Full Screen on the back cover, which makes it look like they probably had just formatted it for 4:3 televisions. There are thin black bars on the sides of the picture, probably due to the improper formatting or a problem with the source material. Most players and 16:9 televisions will allow you to zoom in but to properly do so cuts off the optional English subtitles. The transfer itself is a little soft, baring a low contrast ratio with muted colors and some momentary brightness fading in and out. Not as up to par with many of the other recent giallo releases from other labels but then again who knows what they had to work with. Sometimes just releasing these titles uncut for the first time is all anyone can really ask for. The sound is great even though at times is a little scratchy, with a Dolby Stereo mix of the original Italian Mono soundtrack as the only option.
The extras on the discs are limited to a photo gallery with only 5 images and a collection of trailers which include Lucio Fulci’s The Senator Likes Women, Umberto Lenzi’s Gang War in Milan, Antonio Margheriti’s Seven Deaths in the Cat’s Eye, Enrico Bomba’s Secret Agent 777 as well as a trailer for this film. I doubt they are the original theatrical trailers since they look more like compiled footage from the films edited together to a piece of their soundtrack. Lately, some companies have been going that extra mile by offering physical extras and Dagored has taken the high road with a three-panel insert, full color reproduction of the original theatrical poster. Might look good mounted next to my Cannibal Holocaust reprint that came with Grindhouse Releasing’s recent release.