Friday, June 3, 2011


(Aldo Lado, 1972)
Young Roberta Serpieri (Nicoletta Elmi) is sent by her mother Elizabeth (Anita Strindberg) to stay in Venice with her father Franco (George Lazenby), a successful sculptor. Not long after her arrival, Roberta is abducted by an old woman in black while her father is distracted. Her lifeless body is found soon after floating in a canal.
Grief-stricken, Franco and Elizabeth reunite in Venice, but Franco is too preoccupied with finding his daughter's murderer to pay much attention to his estranged wife. The list of suspects is long, as Franco discovers that many of his acquaintances share a mutual perversion. He then learns that Roberta's murder is similar to that of a young red-haired girl in France years before. As in most gialli, the killer is ahead of Franco's game, and rubs out anyone who holds a clue to her identity.
Where to begin? Who Saw Her Die is a brutal and somewhat depressing giallo. The subject matter alone is enough to make most viewers cringe, and the juxtaposition of adult sexuality and childish innocence and vulnerability make for some heavy viewing. On the technical side, it's an accomplished film. The cinematography is sharp, and great use is made of the Venice location with its foggy, claustrophobic streets, alleys, and dingy canals.
The score by Ennio Morricone is hauntingly perfect. The film is also loaded with atmosphere and menace, as several attempts are made on Roberta before she is finally kidnapped. The killer's POV through a black lace veil adds a ghoulish touch to the proceedings. My only real complaint here was a lack of realism in the supposedly distraught parents' reaction to their daughter's death, and the revelation of the killer is pretty cliche. Other than that, it's an engrossing little film. Buy it here.

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