Who Saw Her Die? (1972)
Movie title: Who Saw Her Die?
Director(s): Aldo Lado
Actor(s): George Lazenby, Anita Strindberg , Adolfo Celi , Dominique Boschero , Peter Chatel , Piero Vida
Genre: Horror, Foreign, Mystery, Thriller
During a trip to Venice to visit her sculptor father Franco Serpieri (one-shot Bond, George Lazenby) a young girl named Roberta (Nicoletta Elmi) becomes the object of interest to a mysterious, veiled woman who stalks her throughout the city. In time, she is found floating face down in the Grand Canal. While Feeling guilty for neglecting her, Franco’s ex-wife rushes to he by his side as he makes it his all-consuming mission to Roberta’s killer. Her killing might be related to the murder of another redheaded girl a year earlier. The closer Franco gets to finding exposing the murderer, the more danger he faces.
Not considered major Giallo–it doesn’t have the amount of overt violence expected of the genre and the bloodletting is minimal–but Who Saw Her Die? is great stuff. Director Aldo Lado (who also collaborated on the script), went for a more natural look to the film, rather than relying on lighting gels to emphasize emotional changes. He also brought on an impressive crew to bring his vision to life: cinematographer Franco Di Giacomo (Il Postino) and editor Angelo Curi (Death Walks on High Heels) For his memorable score, Ennio Morricone used a children’s choir to keep tensions high. In a nod to Lazenby’s portrayal of James Bond, Franco’s art dealer is played by Adolfo Celi, best known as Largo, the villain to 007, in Thunderball.
George Lazenby gives a strong performance here. Having she’d his Bond persona, the actor lost thirty-five pounds, grew out his hair and sported a mustache; an authentic starving artist look. Devastated over the death of his daughter, Lazenby’s character is deeply emotional and perhaps even, slightly irrational at times. Strangely, Lazenby’s voice isn’t on the English dub. American actor Michael Forest fills in. During that time, European films were rarely shot with usable sound. Filmmakers waited until postproduction and went through the dialogue re-recording process (ADR) at that time. Supposedly, George did the movie so he could buy a boat to sail around the world. If that’s the case, Lazenby probably wasn’t on land when the dubbing was being done. Thankfully, Forest is believable as his voice.
This Blu-ray from Arrow Video has a new 2K restoration of the full length Italian version of the film from the original 35mm camera negative in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1. The option of watching the film in Italian or English as the spoken language, and the opening and closing title cards are the only differences between the two. The transfer is stunning and offers a real film-like appearance. Grain is present, but subtle. Detail is topnotch on the brightest scenes to the darkest. Colors are well balanced and saturated throughout. Skin tones look natural and blacks are deep. Contrast levels are near perfect. The print itself is clean, exhibiting no scratches or other damage. Viewers should be very pleased with this transfer.
The audio is included in both Italian and English mono LPCM with optional subtitles in English for the Italian audio and English SDH for the English audio. The dialogue is clean, clear and concise on both tracks. Ennio Morricone’s score fills the soundfield throughout. Sound effects are noticeably quieter, but nonetheless effective. There are no apparent distortions, hisses, crackles, etc.
The following extras are available:
- Audio Commentary with Author and Critic Troy Howarth: As usual, he offers plenty of information about the cast and crew. Howarth also shares some wide-ranging thoughts about the films place in Giallo history.
- I Saw Her Die (HD, 56:55) In this interview with director Aldo Lado, he reveals he was to assistant direct The Last Tango in Paris, but that shoot was pushed back a few months when Marlon Brando had to finish shooting The Godfather That change in schedule freed up Lado to make Who Saw Her Die?
- Nicoletta, Child of Darkness (HD, 27:26) Actress Nicoletta Elmi discusses being a child actress in Italy, where she worked with such famed directors as Mario Bava and Dario Argento.
- Once Upon A Time in Venice (HD, 31:29) Co-writer Fransisco Barilli discusses how the script evolved. Apparently, he was originally supposed to direct, but saw the production as dodgy.
- Giallo in Venice (HD, 26:17) Author and critic Michael Mackenzie discusses the history of the film and the fact that it really didn’t get seen in America for thirty years. He also talks about comparisons with Nic Roeg’s Don’t Look Now.
- Original Italian and English Theatrical Trailers (HD, 3:13) They are identical except for the different title cards.
- Poster and fotobusta Gallery (HD,1:40)
- Booklet: The 36-page booklet includes cast and crew information, as well as The Loss of Innocence in Aldo Lado’s Who Saw Her Die? by Rachel Nisbet, What’s in a Name? Currying Favor in the International Market by Troy Howarth, and restoration details. The disc also comes with a reversible cover featuring newly commissioned artwork by Haunt Love.