Thursday, September 13, 2007

Who Saw Her Die?

I am rather baffled as to how this got included in a box set of giallo films, as it bears only the most superficial similarities to them. There are no models to be had in this film, and a depressing lack of nudity as well. Indeed, it plays much closer to Don’t Look Now than it does to the Case of the Bloody Iris, and not least because it’s set in Venice and involves an English speaking actor (George Lazenby, still recovering from being thrown to the wolves as the replacement for Connery in the Bond franchise) coping with the death of his daughter.

I trust mentioning his daughter died isn’t spoiling anything, since it’s kind of the entire premise of the film (indeed, the title of the film does sort of mention it in passing). Indeed, one of the weirdest moments of the entire movie comes when her body is discovered floating in a canal, and we see a group of rubberneckers, most looking completely bored, with a few actively trying to suppress giggles. I can only conclude from this that Italians are heartless monsters and should have been wiped off the map 60 years ago, but I guess the beauty of film is that you can all draw your own, possibly different and thus less correct, conclusions about this.

So yes, as I was saying, Lazenby is a Venisian sculptor (I got that from the back of the DVD case, as if they ever mentioned him sculpting I must have missed it) whose daughter is murdered, and after the kind of typical police incompetence one generally gets whenever a murder is committed, he takes it upon himself to hunt the killer down. This involves him visiting abandoned buildings that, if you saw them, you would not for a moment believe a murder had never taken place there. He also begins assembling the required group of suspects and witnesses, though in a way that’s unsubtle enough to tip off the killer and get many of his witnesses and suspects killed (one effective scene has him stumbling across a freshly strangled witness, but is unable to catch the fleeing killer due to the crowd assuming he himself was the killer trying to flee).

It all ends with a fairly nice climax and – shock of shocks – a killer that actually kind of makes sense, rather than just a character chosen at random, another sign that this doesn’t fit properly in the Giallo Collection. All in all, though, it’s a pretty damn good thriller. The use of Venice as an almost living entity in this film helps it a lot too; I’ve yet to see a film set in Venice that didn’t look amazing (the location was also the main appeal of the somewhat overrated Don’t Look Now). Furthermore, the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen film does not exist, so hush. So far this collection has been two for two – let’s hope it continues.

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