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Anchor Bay presents
Who Saw Her Die? (Chi l'ha vista morire?) (1972)

"Why did I leave her alone? I might as well have killed with my own hands."
- Franco (George Lazenby)

Review By: Rich Rosell   
Published: July 23, 2002

Stars: George Lazenby, Anita Strindberg, Adolfo Celi
Other Stars: Peter Chatel, Dominique Boschero, Piero Vida, Jose Quaglio, Alessandro Haber, Nicoletta Elmi, Givoanni Forti Rosselli
Director: Aldo Lado

Manufacturer: Crest National
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nudity, sexuality, violence)
Run Time: 01h:34m:20s
Release Date: June 25, 2002
UPC: 013131205299
Genre: suspense thriller


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B+ BAB B

DVD Review

Italian director Aldo Lado is probably best known stateside for the tacky 1979 sci-fi B-movie Humanoid, but what a lot of casual fans of that film might not realize is that during the early part of that decade he helmed a number of so-called giallo projects. Giallo (Italian for yellow) came to represent a lurid style of Italian filmmaking prevalent in the late 1960s and early 1970s, known for being full of nudity, sex, violence, and which generally featured a weirdly twisted climax. Anchor Bay has just released four superbly restored, rarely seen, examples of the genre (available separately or as part of a four-disc Giallo Collection boxset), and Lado's Who Saw Her Die? (1972) is probably the best of the bunch.

This was only Lado's second directorial gig, which came on the heels of his 1971 debut with another giallo film, Short Night of the Glass Dolls. While this one lacks the usual slam-bang ending of most films in the genre, the storyline is certainly much more dark and disturbing, as it centers largely on pedophilia. The film opens with an unsettling murder of a young girl on a snow-covered field in France, and we see much of it through the black-veiled point of view of the killer. The vicious swiftness, and apparent randomness of the act is accentuated by a marvelously eerie Ennio Morricone score; imagine a perversely creepier version of Jerry Goldsmith's work on The Omen, and you'll get the idea.

The story then jumps forward to 1972 Venice, where struggling sculptor Franco (George Lazenby) eagerly welcomes the arrival of his young daughter Roberta (Nicoletta Elmi of Deep Red, Flesh For Frankenstein and Twitch of the Dead Nerve). The Venice in Who Saw Her Die? (Lado's home) is not painted as the romantic tourist city, but rather as a dark, dirty place full of narrow, hidden streets and shadowy quarters. Roberta soon becomes the target of the same black-veiled killer from the opening, and Lado stages a number of chilling near misses as she is unknowingly stalked. Putting a child in danger can often be a hollow, manipulative suspense building gimmick for some directors, but Lado proceeds with the unthinkable when Roberta's tiny body is soon shown floating facedown in one of the Venice canals. It's a chilling sequence, and is one of the darkest moments in the entire film.

What follows is Franco's desperate search for the killer of his daughter, and this introduces a number of potentially guilty characters (ironically, primarily friends of his) all of whom have exhibited some sort of seemingly pedophilia-related actions at one point or another. True to the giallo genre, we know there will be a surprise ending, so there are many red herrings to be found and the cadaverous Jose Quaglio's bird-loving attorney, a man with a questionable past, is one of the slimiest. Franco's sexy estranged wife Elizabeth (Anita Strindberg) joins the hunt, too, as well as his highly suspect chubby newspaper reporter buddy (Peter Chatel in a role that today would be played by the likes of Oliver Platt).

Lado had some obvious difficulty with Italian censors when the film was released in 1972, due in no small part to the often subtle elements of pedophilia that permeate Who Saw Her Die? Even if the final revelation of the killer is fairly predictable, there is an uneasy vibe throughout that still works today, and when combined with the outstanding job Anchor Bay has done on the image transfer, makes this one at least worthy of a rental for fans of dark thrillers.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio2.35:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: Kudos to Anchor Bay for the stunning 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer on this disc. Watching this film, I had to remind myself that Who Saw Her Die? was a 1972 Italian B-movie thriller, but the transfer makes it look almost brand new. There are virtually no blemishes of any kind to be found on the print. Colors have a depth that is usually lacking in early 1970s films, and the fleshtones more than hold their own. There is some minor shimmer, most notabale on a few of the sequences that feature stone staircases, and my only real beef is a minor one, which has to do with some occasionally weak black levels (check out some of the briefly muddy scenes in Franco's apartment).

The positives more than outweigh the negatives, and this is in the same league as Anchor Bay's impressive treatment of Sidney Hayers' Circus of Horrors disc.

Image Transfer Grade: A

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoEnglishno


Audio Transfer Review: The solitary Dolby Digital mono track contains the English dub for Who Saw Her Die?, and from a cosmetic standpoint it is an extremely annoying one. I'm not a big fan of mid-1970s English dubs, and this sounds largely unnatural. Most of the character voices have that same flat, recorded-in-a-studio sound to them, and most of them don't match the actors very well at all. However, from a strictly technical perspective, it's hiss-free and the dialogue is clean and perfectly understandable; even the creepy Ennio Morricone score sounds rather full-figured here.

Audio Transfer Grade: B

 

Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 24 cues and remote access
Cast and Crew Filmographies
1 Original Trailer(s)
1 Featurette(s)
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: Not a lot in the extras column here, but what's here is pretty darn good. Anchor Bay has included a portion of a recent interview with director Aldo Lado, concerning Who Saw Her Die? (more of which can be found on another Lado giallo title called >Short Night of the Glass Dolls). The spoiler-laden piece on this disc is entitled Death In Venice (11m:11s), and it is in Italian with English subtitles. Lado chats briefly about working with Bernardo Bertolucci on Last Tango In Paris before launching into some worthwhile tidbits about the production and public reaction to Who Saw Her Die?, and the "casual elements of mystery and fear" he tried to create. It's eleven-minute runtime is far too short, however, and I would have loved an expanded Lado interview.

Also included are: a tacky, far too revealing theatrical trailer, a Lado filmography, 24 chapters, and a nice thick insert card with a reproduction of the film's original Italian artwork, under the title Chi l'ha vista morire?

Extras Grade: B

 

Final Comments

Despite a middle section that drags slightly, Aldo Lado's Who Saw Her Die? is an effectively moody whodunnit that has, if nothing else, a stylishly spooky score by the great Ennio Morricone as its thematic centerpiece. Anchor Bay's image transfer of Lado's film is nothing short of amazing, and this disc really looks terrific.

Recommended for genre fans.

 


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