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us title: Who Saw Her Die
italian title: Chi l'ha vista morire?
year: 1972
director: Aldo Lado
composer: Ennio Morricone
full details: IMDB
overall score: 92

Bottom Line: Must-See
A quintessential example of the genre.

WARNING: Spoilers Below

score analysis

Who Saw Her Die is Giallo divided into two distinct acts. The first 30 minutes of the film revolve entirely around the Franco's relationship with his daughter Roberta and the events leading up to her murder. But once the initial grieving process is concluded the film quickly switches gears into full whodunit mode with a plot so convoluted it could only come from a Giallo.

One of the things I enjoy about the Giallo genre is that it offers the viewer the opportunity to take part in solving the mystery. If the plot is particularly confusing I will usually spend some time reconstructing the events of the film in order to justify the logic. This is particularly difficult to do with Who Saw Her Die when considering the possible suspects and their actions and motives. 

The film encourages the viewer to try to understand the relationship between Ginevra, Seraphian, Bonaiuti, and Francois Roussel as the method that will lead to the murderer's identity. Ironically, travelling down this path only leads to more confusion. I suspect this confusion is intended since there are many Gialli that purposely overwhelm the viewer, but Who Saw Her Die seems to accomplish this with noir-like inspiration.

I watched Who Saw Her Die when I first starting developing the scoring criteria and initially it appeared to be a perfect Giallo. However, after subsequent viewings the film misses the mark on two important rules.
  • Accomplice - Just about every character in the film knows who the murderer is and assists in hiding the identity but none of them assist the murderer in any way.

  • Mistaken Identity - With all of these suspects you would expect that at least one of them would be falsely accused and arrested. But the police all but absent in this film and never really interfere in Franco's investigation. The film is very linear in this regard. As Franco continues to uncover clues, the only murders that take place after Roberta's are simply the murderer covering his identity.
And as far as the token J&B bottle, this was a close one. The top of the bottle can be seen behind the bar of the restaurant where Franco and Roberta dine on snails. But label isn't visible, thus disqualifying it from the point award.

Who Saw Her Die is a Giallo that fires on all cylinders with an intriguing story, decent acting, well constructed set pieces, and a haunting score. It should be a staple in any aficionado's library. For those navigating the plot the one thing I can offer is that it didn't occur to me until the 3rd viewing is that the girl killed in the beginning of the film is not the "Marchesini" girl. 

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score breakdown

Hint: Hover over a score item for more details
Staples : 60/60
Italian Director10 points
Hidden Identity10 points
Black Gloves5 points
Amateur Detective5 points
Classic Period (1970 - 1975)5 points
Motivation: Psychological Trauma/Revenge10 points
Avoid Capture: Acciental Death/Suicide10 points
Director > 15 points
Standards : 24/30
Body Count >= 34 points
Flashback Revelation3 points
Italian Location3 points
Morricone/Nicolai/Ortolani3 points
Nude Scene >= 13 points
Suspects >= 34 points
Urban Location4 points
Signatures : 8/10
Airplane1 point
Attend Funeral1 point
Chase scene1 point
Death from Falling1 point
Odd Clue1 point
Photography/Glamor/Modeling/Art1 point
Priest1 point
Visual Misinterpretation1 point
Total Points : 92/100



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Published: 2013-03-22