Release Date(s)1972 (September 17, 2019)
Studio(s)Dieter Geissler Filmproduktion/Doria G. Film/Roas Produzioni/Overseas Film Company (Arrow Video)
- Film/Program Grade: B
- Video Grade: A
- Audio Grade: A
- Extras Grade: B+
1972 was a prolific year for giallo films with many memorable and well-regarded entries, such as The Case of the Bloody Iris, The Red Queen Kills Seven Times, What Have You Done to Solange?, and All the Colors of the Dark, among others. While many managed to travel, making their way to the U.S. under a myriad of different titles, some did not, including Aldo Lado’s Who Saw Her Die?, also known as Chi l’ha vista morire? and The Child.
During a trip to Venice to visit her father Franco (George Lazenby), a young girl named Roberta (Nicoletta Elmi) is followed by an unknown assailant and is eventually found floating face down in the Grand Canal. Blaming himself for neglecting her, Franco’s estranged wife Elizabeth (Anita Strindberg) rushes to his side as he makes it his all-consuming mission to find Roberta’s killer.
Produced by Ovidio G. Assonitis (director of Tentacles and producer of The Visitor), Who Saw Her Die? is not an obvious giallo at first glance. It doesn’t contain the overtly violent hallmarks of the genre, yet at the same time the idea of an unidentified murderer and someone attempting to discover their identity is right in tune with the genre’s usual trappings. However, Who Saw Her Die? is fairly unique in that it’s actually one of the parents of the deceased doing the investigating, whereas in another film with the same premise, it might have been a police inspector, a private investigator, or an artist of some sort or another.
Unlike other gialli, Who Saw Her Die? is also less stylish than most. It appears more naturalistic, less fetishistic, and not dependent on lighting gels to emphasize emotions or themes. It actually has more in common with Lucio Fulci’s Don’t Torture a Duckling and Nicolas Roeg’s Don’t Look Now than it does, say, Dario Argento’s The Bird With the Crystal Plumage. Additionally, there are only a couple of moments of real bloodshed, including a nonsensical amount of it protruding from a victim’s mouth during a strangulation. It’s not a exceptional film, particularly as its final moments leave one feeling less than satisfied, but it offers enough intrigue and good performances (including one from George Lazenby) to make it a journey worth taking.
Who Saw Her Die? comes to Blu-ray from Arrow Video sporting a new 2K restoration of the full length Italian version of the film from the original 35mm camera negative in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1. The option of watching the film in Italian or English is presented with the only differences between the two, besides the spoken language, are the opening credits and closing title card. The transfer is remarkable, and about as naturally film-like as you could want. Grain is present but not overt while detail is high, from the darkest areas of the frame to the brightest. From the streets of Venice to the clothing and the interiors, the color palette also offers nice saturation with natural skin tones. Blacks are deep and brightness and contrast levels are virtually perfect. It’s also a stable and clean presentation with no major damage leftover.
The audio is included in both Italian and English mono LPCM with optional subtitles in English for the Italian audio and English SDH for the English audio. As to be expected, sync is a little loose, but dialogue is clear and discernable on both tracks, with the English track having a little bit more push to it. Ennio Morricone's score is given the most attention while sound effects, many of them vintage, don’t have quite as much impact. Both tracks are also clean and free of overt damage, such as hiss, crackle, distortion, and dropouts.
This release also offers several pieces of bonus material, including a new audio commentary by Troy Howarth, who is less screen-specific than usual, but gives plenty of context about the film’s place in giallo history, as well as information about its cast and crew; I Saw Her Die, a new 57-minute interview with director Aldo Lado; Nicoletta, Child of Darkness, a new 28-minute interview with actress Nicoletta Elmi; Once Upon a Time, in Venice..., a new 32-minute interview with co-writer Francesco Barilli; Giallo in Venice, a new 26-minute interview with author and critic Michael Mackenzie, who contextualizes and critiques the film; an image gallery containing 10 stills of posters and lobby cards; the Italian and English trailers for the film, both presented in HD; and a 36-page insert booklet with cast and crew information, The Loss of Innocence in Aldo Lado’s Who Saw Her Die? by Rachel Nisbet, What’s in a Name?: Currying Favor in the International Market by Troy Howarth, and restoration details.
A mostly unseen title for many years, Who Saw Her Die? comes to Blu-ray with a spectacular A/V presentation and a nice chunk of extras that are worth diving into, including Troy Howarth’s entertaining audio commentary. Giallo fans should be more than pleased with the results.
– Tim Salmons