17 November 2014

Blu-ray Review - The Girl Who Knew Too Much (1963)



Genre:
Mystery, Thriller
Distributor:
Arrow Video
Release Date:
17th November 2014 (UK)
Rating: 12
Director:
Mario Bava
Cast:
Letícia Román, John Saxon, Valentina Cortese
Buy:The Girl Who Knew Too Much [Dual Format Blu-ray + DVD]

The Girl who Knew too Much is one of Mario Bava’s early films and it’s also -what is now considered by many- to be the first Giallo film. The film owes more to Hitchcock than just its title but Bava uses his great technician skills with the camera to put it a step above most Hitchcock knock-offs. Arrow as usual have also given it a top-notch release.

Nora Davis (Leticia Roman) is a young American woman who comes to Rome to see her aunt but auntie dies on her first night there. In her grief she gets bonked on the head and while still out of it she witnesses a brutal murder. She comes to the conclusion she witnesses it despite everyone claiming she just imagined the whole thing. Nora soon starts receiving threating phone calls and possibly being stalked by the killer who specializes in alphabetical murders.

The film plays almost like a proto Brian De Palma film (another favourite director by Arrow Video) and even has echoes of Roman Polanski work and this came out in 1963. The film is extremely stylish from the beginning to end, it’s has gorgeous black and white photography. Bava may not have always been the best storyteller, a lot of plot points don’t always add up in lots of his films but he could sure shoot images. The film as usual with most Italian films of it’s time, it’s dubbed in both the Italian and English versions which can be distracting but after a while you get use to it.

The bonus features are plenty; firstly you get the AIP version of the film, which has a score by the lounge god Les Baxter and it was retitled as The Evil Eye. The real meat is the featurette fearing interviews with Richard Stanley, Luigi Cozzi, Alan Jones (who also does a brief intro for the film) and Mikel Koven, which is a really insightful, look at the film and it’s important in Italian cinema. There is also an interview with John Saxon who stars in the film and a commentary by Bava biographer Tim Lucas.

★★★★

Ian Schultz


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