Mar 20, 2010

Posted in 1970s, European Films, Films Categories, Italy, James, Reviewers

Chi l’ha Vista Morire? (Who Saw Her Die?) (1972)

Chi l’ha Vista Morire? (Who Saw Her Die?) (1972)

My second review in my four part review of Anchor Bay’s The Giallo Collection, Who Saw Her Die, directed by Aldo Lado (Short Night of Glass Dolls) may remind you of Nicolas Roeg’s Don’t Look Now and Lucio Fulci’s Don’t Torture a Duckling while having aspects of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho.

Who Saw Her Die is an above average giallo that sets out to be more of a true, died-in-the-wool giallo than his previous (and debut) film (Short Night of Glass Dolls). It has a very effective and haunting score by Ennio Morricone, creepy cinematography and the usual staple subject matter.

The film opens in 1968 Megeve (France) on a red-headed girl slay riding while being stalked by an unknown person in a black veil. We see the girl beaten over the head with a rock and then buried in the snow. The murderer is never caught.

Set in Venice 1972, the not-so touristy Venice (Which is where the director grew up), the film deals with the loss of a child (Nicoletta Elmi of Dario Argento’s Profondo Rosso and Mario Bava’s Twitch of the Death Nerve). Roberta (Elmi) comes to visit her father, a Venice sculptor, Franco (George Lazenby, former James Bond, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service) from London leaving Franco’s beautiful wife Elizabeth (Swedish beauty Anita Strindberg) in England. The film starts off rather slow as we see Roberta and Franco’s relationship develop, playing and laughing while we get Point-of-View shots of a person in a black veil following the red-headed Roberta around overlaid with Morricone’s haunting score with many creepy buildups leading up to her disappearance.

One day, while playing with a group of children, Roberta disappears, nowhere to be found. Franco goes crazy looking for her ever where. Later, her body is found floating face down in the water. When the police turn up nothing Franco decides to take it upon himself (like many main characters in gialli do) to start an investigation of his own.

One of my favorite lines:

Policeman: “With a little luck we’ll manage to catch him.”
Man: “I don’t think you can catch pneumonia!”

Through a series of red herrings, twists and turns we learn of dirty priests, sexual conspiracies and murder. But I have to wonder what if anything does the child murderer have to do with this conspiracy? And who saw her die? This film has a great twist ending.

This film also stars Adolfo Celi (Thunderball) as Serafian.

The picture and sound are very good and the DVD is Widescreen enhanced for 16×9 TVs. There is also a trailer, filmography and an interview with the director. I highly recommend this film to Italian genre film fans and also to anyone interested in a good mystery.

– By James

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