The mists that wreathe the eerie city of Venice become the hunting ground for a faceless child killer that seemingly cannot be stopped in the taut and brilliant thriller, Who Saw Her Die? directed by Aldo Lado. When Franco loses his daughter to this shadowy elusive murderer he sets off on an unnerving journey of retribution that will bring him to the very edge of his sanity and quite possibly his life too. Rigid with tense atmospheric style, this film bears an uncanny resemblance in mood to the classic Don't Look Now but was actually made a year before. Boasting starkly evocative cinematography by Franco Di Giacomo and a score by Ennio Morricone, Who Say Her Die haunts the mind long after viewing it.
Spoilers follow ...
- Who Saw Her Die? review by NP
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You rated this film: 3
George Lazenby, in one of his first acting jobs since his solo stint as James Bond in 1969, here looks about ten years older, a lot thinner and less well-groomed. He is excellent as Franco, father to a little sweetheart called Roberta who is murdered. Lazenby has to share the spotlight with the sumptuously filmed streets of Venice, where most of the film is set, and Ennio Morricone’s relentless and sinister chanting soundtrack. The detailed, ornate architecture and glistening misty streets (also used to such good effect in ‘Don’t Look Now (1973)’ and 1989’s ‘Vampires in Venice’) make this one of the most atmospheric of giallo films. The cast of eccentric characters also add to the sense of heightened reality.
As a heterosexual male, I must point out Anita Strindberg (as Elizabeth Serpieri) and especially Dominique Boschero (as Genevra Storelli) as being stunning additions to the cast. It’s difficult to express an opinion on physical appreciation in what is in many ways an exploitation film without being seen to condone such exploitation. I would argue (at tedious length) that exploitation has existed sfor some time in virtually every film – especially mainstream, where anyone under the age of, what, 40 is invited to at least partially undress without unduly bothering any plot-line. Whether or not the approach to displays of flesh differs ‘now’, as opposed to ‘then’, is probably subject for a discussion elsewhere. In ‘Who Saw Her Die’, amongst other films, I like it.
This isn’t flawless – as often happens with giallo films, the pace slackens in the middle, but Lazenby’s increasing desperation keeps things ticking along. The unmasking towards the end and the reveal of the mysterious killer’s identity is satisfying. Recommended.