• Who Saw Her Die? (Arrow Video) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Arrow Video
    Released on: September 17th, 2019.
    Director: Aldo Lado
    Cast: George Lazenby, Adolfo Celi, Anita Strindberg, Nicoletta Elmi
    Year: 1972
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    Who Saw Her Die? – Movie Review:

    From Aldo Lado, the director of the notorious Night Train Murders, comes Who Saw Her Die?, a giallo starring the one and only George Lazenby of On Her Majesty's Secret Service and The Man From Hong Kong.

    Lazenby plays a man named Franco Serpieri, a sculptor whose red-headed daughter, Roberta (Nicoletta Elmi of Deep Red), is murdered by a maniac clad in black while he's off making time with his hot ex-wife, Elizabeth (Anita Strindberg). It seems that this killer has ties to a murder from a few years ago and since the local fuzz keep coming up empty handed, Franco decides to take Elizabeth with him and solve the crime on his own.

    Similar to Nicholas Roeg's Don't Look Now, though pre-dating that film by a year or so, Lado's giallo is a slick and stylish thriller with plenty of legitimate suspense and a genuinely clever script. Lazenby does a fine job carrying the film while Anita Strindberg's natural beauty lends some welcome and alluring sex appeal to the picture. The pair makes for a likeable couple of amateur sleuths and the personal slant that their case takes on gives it all an air of believability that makes the script a little more realistic. Scorned parents, despite their personal problems, would after all be considerably more apt to take matters like this into their own hands than those without a flesh and blood relation to the victim.

    Ennio Morricone's score is as good as you'd expect given the legendary composer's reputation and the quality of his massive body of work. Heavy on the strings and odd choral arrangements, it adds some emotional depth to the more morose scenes in the film and heightens tension towards the end of the picture when everything comes closing in on Franco and Elizabeth. It’s a tense and eerie selection of music that suits the tone of the picture pretty much perfectly.

    Aldo Lado's direction is tight and focused proving that the man had a lot more than just the nastiness of The Night Train Murders within his realm of capability. Who Saw Her Die? may not provide the same sort of titillating and exploitative thrills that a lot of other giallo pictures do but there's enough murder and mayhem to ensure that the film is never dull. The cinematography is slick and polished and the locations employed throughout the film add interest to the visuals.

    He didn't make as many pictures as many of his contemporaries but this one in particular is quite memorable thanks not to sadistic violence or nasty murder set pieces but rather for some solid performances, beautiful camera work, expert pacing and a genuinely tense and suspenseful storyline.

    Who Saw Her Die? – Blu-ray Review:

    Arrow Video brings Who Saw Her Die? to Blu-ray in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed proper at 2.35.1 widescreen and taken from a ‘brand new 2K restoration of the full-length Italian version of the film from the original 35mm camera negative.’ The picture quality here is very strong. Detail is excellent from start to finish and there’s very good depth and texture here as well. Skin tones look nice and lifelike and black levels are strong. There’s very good color reproduction here and the picture remains filimic throughout, no problems with any noise reduction or edge enhancement to complain about and the image is free of noticeable compression artifacts.

    Uncompressed mono 1.0 LPCM audio options are provided in English and Italian language options with newly translated English subtitles for the Italian soundtrack and optional English SHD subtitles for the for the English soundtrack. Both tracks are clean and nicely balanced, no problems with any hiss or distortion. Morricone’s score sounds great in lossless, better than it ever has, while dialogue stays easily discernible from start to finish.

    Extras start off with a new audio commentary by Troy Howarth that covers quite a bit of ground. He starts off by talking about how and why Who Saw Her Die? remains a strong example of the giallo genre, before then discussing the artful crafting that tends to be typical of Italian genre pictures and what sets Italian filmmaking apart from the cinematic output of other European countries. He then offers up some thoughts on Morricone’s score and his career in general, who was originally intended to play Adolfo Celi’s part, how Anita Strindberg wound up playing the female lead after originally being cast for the part played by Dominique Boschero, what Lazenby was able to bring to the part (and the dubbing that was done for his character) as well as how his career went the way that it did, the chemistry he shared with Nicoletta Elmi, the themes that the film explores and the way that the relationship between the characters played by Lazenby and Strindberg and the use of grief in the film. He also covers Aldo Lado’s history and directing style, the use of nudity and sexuality in this picture, the film’s release history in America and in Europe, the depiction of the upper class in giallo films and this picture, the quality of the murder set pieces in the film and how they differ from more grandiose pictures like those made by Argento and a fair bit more.

    I Saw Her Die is a new video interview with director Aldo Lado that runs fifty-seven-minutes in length. Here the director working for Bertolucci and how this eventually led to his becoming a director himself how producer Enzo Doria talked him into directing it in Venice, having to organize the shoot very quickly and with little notice, some screenplays that he had written around the same time, bringing in the film on a modest budget, shooting on location versus a sound stage, working with Lazenby and Strindberg, how the success of Leone’s spaghetti westerns changed the Italian film industry of the day and the impact that Argento’s films had on the giallos of the period, the dangers of getting bored with telling the same story over and over again, his thoughts on directing actors, the importance of Morricone’s score and quite a bit more. Lado goes pretty deep into his career and his work process here, it’s quite interesting.

    Nicoletta, Child of Darkness is a twenty-seven-minute video interview with actress Nicoletta Elmi wherein she speaks about how she got her start as a child actor in Mezzanotte d'amore, which led to her getting an agent and more roles. She describes working on films as a child like getting to take a short holiday and treating them like vacations, having her mother on set all the time, learning pronunciation from an English professor, how much she enjoyed working with Lazenby as a kid (she speaks very fondly of him) and how certain images from the film have stuck in her mind over the years. She also talks about how she’s become detached from a lot of the films she made as a kid, her thoughts on censorship in some of the films she’s played in over the years, working on The Night Child and smoking her first cigarette for that movie, working with Aldo Lado and Dario Argento and more.

    Once Upon A Time In Venice is a new video interview with co-writer Francesco Barilli that runs thirty-one-minutes in length. He speaks about collaborating on the script for Who Saw Her Die? with three other writers and how they all got along, why the film was set in Venice, trying to balance different elements in the script, working as an interior designer before writing scripts, locations used in the film, his thoughts on Aldo Lado’s direction, writing The Perfume Of The Lady In Black and Hotel Fear, his dislike of producers, Morricone’s score, how he got to know Lado and Bertolucci, the influence of Polanski on his work, collaborating with Massimo D'Avak and what he was like to work with, his thoughts on the press, writing The Man From Deep River and his thoughts on that film and a few other projects he was involved with over the years. He pulls no punches – if you only watch on featurette on this release, make it this one.

    Giallo in Venice is a new video twenty-six-minute interview with author and critic Michael Mackenzie that sees him placing the film in context alongside other giallos made around the same time, including Lado’s debut, Short Night Of Glass Dolls. He then talks about Lado’s career, his work with Bertolucci, his work outside of the giallo arena, how the film encompasses all of the requisite traits of giallo cinema, how Short Night saw Lado as the sole author of a work while Who Saw sees him working as a hired hand, the locations used for the picture and the importance of the Venetian setting, the contributions of the different cast members in the picture, the history of the dubbing for the film, how the film compares to the similarly themed Don’t Look Now and how he feels the film compares with the best that the giallo genre has to offer.

    Rounding out the extras on the disc are original Italian and English theatrical trailers, a poster and fotobusta gallery, menus and chapter selection.

    Who Saw Her Die? – The Final Word:

    Who Saw Her Die? is a very strong giallo featuring some solid performances, a fantastic score, a genuinely engaging storyline and some tight, stylish direction. Arrow Video has done a very nice job bringing it to Blu-ray with a strong presentation and a nice selection of extra features. Highly recommended!

    Click on the images below for full sized Who Saw Her Die? Blu-ray screen caps!