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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.
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 !
*** 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.
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.
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!
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 ***
'Who Saw Her Die?' was the most unpleasant movie watching experience
that I had in quite a while. Frankly, I think it's trash, so I'll try
not to put too much energy into this write-up. After a not-horrible
start it only continues to get dumber by the minute. After the daughter
gets killed (which everyone knew would happen after a few annoying
false alarms) it gets completely lost in Dullland®. I'd be lying if I
said I could follow the plot, there were too many utterly useless
characters to keep track off, and nothing what I read about the film
has led me to believe that it all makes sense, either.
The characters are walking, human shelves, the drama is unconvincing. My two favorite parts in this regard are the one in which Lazenby first tells his daughter that there is no time for her to play with the other kids, but then decides otherwise, holds her jacket and runs off without saying another word to have sex with his mistress, later to walk directly home, where, after a bit of sculpturing and getting a bottle of cognac ready he starts wondering where his daughter might be. "Hm, I wonder where that kid is...what's here name...I just wanted to offer her some of this delicious beverage." The other scene is in which the mother, after having lost her daughter abroad while under the care of her ?semi-divorced? husband tells him to "please listen to reason, please can't we just try to forget what's past." Yeah, move on, Franco! Our only daughter was murdered, let's just, like, forget the brat and try better next time!"
The movie theater killing is indescribably ridiculous and the final point at which I gave the movie up. Later we have a pointless scene (which is only there to show off a nice location) that almost equals the aforementioned scene in ridiculousness; it's the scene in an old warehouse-like building. It has one character following a character following another character walking aimlessly, one character being attacked by another one, evil characters suddenly disappearing and a good one suddenly appearing. The movie ends appropriately silly so that nobody should be deceived in thinking that this is some kind of masterpie...good movie. The explanation WHY we had to endure all this is silly, but that's the least of it. It's also wafer-thin and that simply doesn't cut it. Also the bad English dubbing only adds to the flick's overall lack of quality.
Even the music, easily the best part of the production - even without identifying the composer as the Morricone - becomes a repetitive nuisance as the main theme is not only overused but also always used in the same situation and you can actually tell exactly when it will start before it starts (which is ALWAYS when we get a look at one of the killer's body parts). It's also clumsily used when it cuts off abruptly because the film cuts away from the situation, just to come back again when the film cuts back on it. A real button-pusher's job.
The seeing-the-action-though-the-unidentified-killer's-eyes giallo stick remains to be alien to me. What is the killer, a great white shark? Do I give a crap who it is? In the case of this movie certainly not. When the killer was identified (there was only one thing we could be sure of beforehand, that the killer is a guy who likes to wear dresses) I knew I have seen the guy before, but I couldn't even remember who the character was.
Not even the title makes sense. Why is it called 'Who Saw Her Die?', the plot, at no point in the movie, is ever asking for any witnesses to the murder.
Crap, I did put too much energy into a waste of time again.
Someone's lurking around Italy murdering small children. The daughter of a divorced artist (played blandly by one shot "James Bond" George Lazenby) becomes a victim. He sets out to find the killer and spends the majority of this so called thriller basically running around Venice examining a handful of horribly underdeveloped supporting characters. Clichéd writing, dull direction and unbelievably stiff acting all combine to create a monotonous viewing experience. Notable only because it is one of the few films in this genre I've seen that truly has nothing at all to offer the casual viewer. There's a total absence of thrills, scares, suspense, horror, intrigue, drama, you name it and you will find this movie lacks it. Just when you think it can't get any worse, it decides to go that extra mile with a truly pitiful resolution to the mystery that a semi-retarded 6 year old could have easily yakked up. The whole thing is pointless in the extreme and an insulting waste of time and money. If you want a quality mystery, thriller or horror film, by all mean look elsewhere!
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