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A child murderer is running loose in Venice. Distraught father Lazenby
investigates after his daughter is killed.
A superb giallo from Aldo Lado. From the very first scene Lado builds up a tense atmosphere that holds it's grip on the viewer until the very end. In keeping up with some of the giallo's best trademarks, this film has excellent photography, making good use of Venice's enchanting scenery. Ennio Morricone's haunting musical score is another huge plus.
The film is well written and has a good story, albeit a bit complicated. It took me two viewings to get everything, but maybe I'm just a little dense at times. Maybe it doesn't bear too much scrutiny, but I didn't find any huge plot holes. The revelation of the killer is, as in most giallo's, quite a surprise. I'm guessing you won't guess it.
George Lazenby (in my opinion a very underrated Bond) is a very likable leading man, gives a credible performance as the grieving father and amateur sleuth and Anita Strindberg looks smashing.
I advice you the check this one out if you're a fan of this genre.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I consider myself a relatively big fan of the giallo genre, though I
haven't seen nearly as many as some that I talk too - but I figure at
this point I've seen enough to separate the notable entries from the
weaker ones - and WHO SAW HER DIE? is honestly about the lamest that
I've seen so far. It started off well enough and held interest until
about the halfway point, and then pretty much completely dropped the
ball after that...
A famous sculptor's young daughter comes from her home in London to visit him in Venice. She is murdered while on her holiday, and the sculptor spends the rest of the film running around Venice trying to find clues to his daughter's murder...
Honestly - WHO SAW HER DIE? fails on pretty much all levels. The storyline gets confused and redundant after the daughter's murder, characters are introduced who are thinly explained, and the "resolution" is dumb and forced as though the director couldn't find an adequate way to tie the film together. Scenes of the father running from one locale to the next are dull and repetitive. Even the few murders in the film are pretty weak and uninteresting. As to the couple of minor "good" points - the Venecian setting is nice and adds a bit of atmosphere to the film, and sexy genre favorite Anita Strindberg gets nekkid a few times. That's about all that's going for this one. Not a completely horrible film, but definitely sub-par for the genre, and I would consider this one either for giallo completists only, or a skip altogether...4/10
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Venice is a gorgeous city full of canals, garish colors and stunning
architecture. Setting a film in this city is always a plus because you
are guaranteed an interesting backdrop. Unfortunately, when the city
itself turns out to be the best part of the entire movie, you know you
are in trouble. Even more disheartening, CHI L'HA VISTA MORIRE (known
to English-speaking audiences as WHO SAW HER DIE?) is cynical enough to
use Venice as a distraction technique to keep people from realizing
that this is simply just another tepid, poorly paced,
clichéd-to-the-max murder mystery we've seen dozens of times before.
Only slower. Very, very slow. I'm talking moving at the speed of a
tortoise with three broken legs slow. I guess it takes a special kind
of director to make a film about a serial killer of children this
devoid of emotion, this bland and this uninvolving. Aldo Lado is not
helped any by a cast of non-actors who sleepwalk through their
respective parts, but he is especially not helped at all by his own
One of the key shots in the film is a killer's POV shot. At first, the shot is effective at building up the creepy, off-screen menace getting ready to strike out. The shot looks through a thin black veil (presumably that of an old woman), watching victims as the Ennio Morricone music (an increasingly annoying children's choir) slowly starts to creep in. But then this same exact shot with the same exact music keeps being repeated over and over and over again for almost all of the horror related scenes. To make matters worse, the shot is used pointlessly on multiple occasions where nothing even happens. A common technique used in horror films is the "cheap scare." You know, like a cat jumping out of a closet to startle a character, and the viewer. In this film, the veil scenes are simply "cheap suspense" because the script fails to create any honest suspenseful/horrific scenarios based on the storyline, plot, characters or dialogue.
Another major problem are the characters. They are poorly developed, shallow and completely unsympathetic, and the actors portraying them seem disinterested in the material. You could care less about them or what happens to them. George Lazenby never once comes off as as impassioned or driven, which is important to the believability of his vengeance-seeking father character. Just like him, this film is cold, clinical, technical, by the numbers; basically just going through the motions in a completely lifeless manner. Sure, this film could have been cold in a calculating, disturbing way, but it's not. It's just cold in an off-putting, blasé kind of way. And the ending reeks of desperate, lazy film-making and writing. The identity of the killer is supposed to be a surprise, but it's not a surprise in context of the script, it's a supposed surprise based on an occupation; a costume.
For those of you wondering whether George Lazenby ever made another picture, after incarnating the most under-appreciated Bond ever in 1969's "On Her Majesty's Secret Service"...well, here he is, three years later, in the Italian giallo "Who Saw Her Die?" In this one, he plays a sculptor named Franco who is living in Venice. When his cute little red-haired daughter is murdered and found floating in a canal, Franco naturally embarks on a quest to find the demented child killer. Lazenby, it must be said here, is almost unrecognizable from three years before. He sports a sleazy handlebar moustache in this film and looks decidedly thinner, almost gaunt, as if he'd been afflicted with a wasting disease in the interim. And the film itself? Well, it's something of a mixed bag. Yes, it does feature stylish direction by Aldo Lado, as well as a pretty freaky score by master composer Ennio Morricone, consisting largely of echoey chanting. We are also given plentiful scenery of Venice, which looks both beautiful and seedy here, an intriguing story to set our mental teeth into, AND Adolfo Celi, always a welcome presence (and another Bond alumnus, from "Thunderball"), here playing a mysterious art dealer. On the down side, I must confess that I was at a loss to understand what the hell was going on throughout most of the picture; what explanations do come toward the end are either half heard from distant rooms or grunted out during fisticuffs. Dubbing doesn't help matters (subtitles would have been a nice option), and the film is never particularly scary or suspenseful. I'll probably need to sit through this one again to get a better handle. Still, "Who Saw Her Die?" remains an interesting, nice-to-look-at giallo, nicely captured here in widescreen on yet another fine DVD from Anchor Bay.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I have been a fan of the Italian "Giallo" movies for about ten years now.
This film was released by Anchor Bay in a four dvd collection towards the
middle of 2002.
This film is a classic example of what the Italians had to offer during the
1960's and 1970's. The imagery and cinemaphotography are superb. The acting
is pretty good. I am puzzled as to why George Lazenby was dubbed!? Very odd.
++++++++++++SPOILERS++++++++++++++++ The story (as with most giallo) is about the murders of several children that have gone unsolved. The killer's face is not revealed and there is the possibilty that it is being committed by a woman!? However, the killings have started again. Is there a connection? Why is George Lazenby's character so interested in becoming a semi-gumshoe? Watch the movie and find out. A major plus (and addition to the mood) is the haunting score by the one and only Ennio Morricone. His music is just as great as always. For those people in the Louisville, Kentucky area who might be interested in seeing this gem...seek it out at Wild and Woolly Video.
Very well-crafted giallo is an obvious precursor to Nicolas Roeg's ingenious and similarly Venetian-set "Don't Look Now". Suspenseful, engrossing and with some skillful visual flourishes--such as the black-veiled killer framed against a snowy landscape--makes it clearly stand from its sleazier counterparts in the genre. Ennio Morricone's delirious score is one of my favorites and nearly impossible to shake from your mind!
WHO SAW HER DIE (1971)is a classic and very underrated giallo. I think it is excellent packing an emotional punch due to Ado Lado's skilful direction and the haunting Ennio Moriconne score. It is very stylish and due to the striking appearance of the killer who wears a veil over the face there are some truly striking images. Also the acting is better than in you usual giallo. IMO ,ex-James Bond, George Lazenby is particularly convincing as the mourning father obsessed with finding the murderer of his young daughter. The most impressive aspect of this film however is the way the location, Venice, is manipulated by the excellent cinematography. It is transformed into a sombre, claustrophobic maze consisting of Renaissance-esque buildings peering through the mist and surrounded by calm, soothing waters. IMO there is a very apparent influence on the famous art-house thriller DON'T LOOK NOW (1973). Apart from the obvious plot and location (Venice) similarities, there is a sex scene featuring Lazenby's character and his wife which is intercut with the two lying in bed next to each other weeping and reflecting on their childs death. In DON'T LOOK NOW there is a similar scene with Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie in the role of Lazenby's character and his characters wife. The only difference being the sex scene is intercut with the two getting dressed afterwards. The way the scenes are shot is also very similar, both using jagged editing. A classic movie that is hard to find and challenging to watch.
Aldo Lado is surely one of the most under-rated Italian directors of
the 70's. He seems to be relatively forgotten, while several lesser
contemporaries get a lot more attention. But whatever the case, Lado
was responsible for three excellent horror/thrillers in the mid-70's.
There was the nasty revenge thriller Night Train Murders and a couple
of gialli - the Prague-set Short Night of the Glass Dolls and the
Venice-set Who Saw Her Die? All films were very distinct from one and
other and all had considerable style to burn.
Who Saw Her Die? is the one which follows the classic style formula of the giallo most closely. In it a serial killer is on the prowl in Venice. Like Nicholas Roeg's Don't Look Now, this one used the crumbling streets of that famous ancient city to great creepy effect. It begins, however, in the French Alps with a nicely atmospheric prologue in which a young child is killed by a black-veiled killer in the snowy expanses. This villain is a very good one and is presented throughout the movie in a very sinister manner indeed, with close-up shots of their shoes as they menacingly advance toward their victims and shots of their obscured veiled face. Additionally this character is accompanied by an absolutely rivetingly creepy Ennio Morricone theme which is a controlled cacophony of a children's choir over a steady beat. It's one of his most memorable individual bits of music and that's saying a lot considering the sheer volume and quality of Il Maestro's output. The cast is solid with George Lazenby appearing in his first starring role following his solitary turn as James Bond in the under-valued On Her Majesty's Secret Service; while he is ably supported by genre regular's such as Anita Strindberg (The Case of the Scorpion's Tail) and Adolfo Celi (Danger: Diabolik).
As far as I am concerned, this is an excellent giallo by one of the most reliable Italian directors from the period. It works well as a pretty intriguing mystery, while it delivers the requisite vicarious thrills too. And most importantly it presents these things with a healthy slice of style and verve. Well worth seeing !
WHO SAW HER DIE? (1972) *** George Lazenby, Anita Strindberg, Peter Chatel, Adolfo Celi. In this engaging giallo directed by Aldo Lado, George Lazenby plays Franco Serpieri, a well-known Venetian sculptor. After Serpieri's young daughter is murdered, he grows impatient with the efforts of the police and tries to find the killer himself, with some help from his estranged wife (Strindberg). The film sticks to a familiar formula: the likely suspects are killed off one by one, and the last man (or woman) standing is revealed as the murderer. But the process feels clumsier than it ought to here, and since the killer turns out to be one of the film's least developed characters, the ending is less than satisfying. Fortunately, though, painterly cinematography and an intriguing score by the brilliant Ennio Morricone help compensate for the weaknesses of the script. Recommended.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I just watched this one, and I have to say it's way, WAY above average
giallo. Directed by Aldo Lado, the director of "The Short Night of
Glass Dolls" (which took place in Prague), this one takes place in
Venice, and the photography is as beautiful as ever.
One thing in this one that's almost entirely lacking is humour. This one is serious, people.
*SPOILER ALERT* The little girl who is the second victim of the killer... it's really nasty, because you've already seen her playing with other kids, interacting with her daddy... she's not just a piece of meat to be killed in another giallo. That sets the tone for this film pretty much, and this giallo is not funny, it's serious. But it's great if you get into it.
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