The Girl Who Knew Too Much (1963 film)
|The Girl Who Knew Too Much|
|Directed by||Mario Bava|
|Produced by||Massimo De Rita|
|Written by||Mario Bava
Ennio de Concini
Franco E. Prosperi
Gianni di Benedetto
|Music by||Roberto Nicolosi
Les Baxter (U.S. version)
|Editing by||Mario Serandrei|
|Release dates||10 February 1963|
|Running time||86 min.|
|Box office||ITL 55,000,000 (Italy)|
The Girl Who Knew Too Much (Italian: La ragazza che sapeva troppo) is a 1963 Italian giallo film. Directed by Italian filmmaker Mario Bava, the film stars John Saxon as Dr. Marcello Bassi and Letícia Román as Nora Davis. The plot revolves around a young woman named Nora, who travels to Rome and witnesses a murder. The police and Dr. Bassi don't believe her since a corpse can't be found. Several more murders follow, tied to a decade-long string of killings of victims chosen in alphabetical order.
The Girl Who Knew Too Much is considered to be the first giallo film, a film genre with a mixture of thriller, sexploitation and horror conventions. This was Bava's last film shot in black-and-white.
On vacation, Nora Davis (Letícia Román) arrives by plane in Rome to visit her elderly ailing aunt. Nora's aunt is being treated by Dr. Marcello Bassi (John Saxon). Nora's aunt passes away on the first night of Nora's visit and she walks to the nearby hospital to notify Dr. Bassi. On the way she is mugged and knocked out in Piazza di Spagna, and when she wakes up she dizzily witnesses the body of dead woman lying on the ground near her with a bearded man pulling a knife out of the woman's back. Nora reports this to the police in the hospital, who don't believe her when they find no evidence at all and think she's hallucinating for various reasons. Later at a cemetery, Nora meets a close friend of her aunt's, Laura Torrani (Valentina Cortese), who lives in the Piazza di Spagna. Laura plans to vacation soon and allows Nora to stay in her house for the remaining time of the vacation. Nora later explores through Laura's closet and drawers and comes across newspaper clippings of articles on a serial killer dubbed the "Alphabet Killer" due him killing people with surnames alphabetically, with "A", "B" and "C" gone. Nora also finds that the last victim was Laura's sister, who she had seen in her vision. According to the reports in the paper, that murder took place ten years ago. Nora then receives a phone call saying "D is for death", and that she's next in line.
Nora receives help from Dr. Marcello, who takes Nora on a trip to the various tourist sites in Rome to calm her down as they become more romantically interested in each other. When they return to the Craven house she receives a call that tells her to go to a particular address. Nora goes there and is guided to a vacant room. With Dr. Marcello they discover the guiding voice to be emanating from a tape recorder which warns Nora to leave Rome before it is too late. Nora and Marcello investigate and discover that the room is leased to Landini. After several unsuccessful attempts to locate Landini, Marcello and Nora go to the beach to relax. Upon their arrival back at the Craven house, they find Landini, who had been informed that they were inquiring about him. Investigative reporter Landini (Dante DiPaolo) has secretly been following them since he spotted her in the square. The reporter wrote about the murder story when it first broke, but believes the police with his help would actually catch the wrong person if reported. Landini's lack of report has made him financially in need. Nora decides to help Landini but as they tour Rome, they find no clues.
Nora visits Landini's apartment the next day, finding clues that lead her to think that he is the murderer and she is the next victim, but this is stopped after she finds Landini, who appears to have committed suicide. The same day, Laura returns to Rome from her vacation while Nora and Marcello plan to go to America the following morning. Nora reads the daily newspaper where the body of a young woman was found, and she recognizes it as the murdered woman she saw that night. After identifying it at the morgue, Nora believes that she has witnessed the murder. Alone in the house that night, Nora notices that the study door is open. On entering, Nora sees a man rising uncomfortably from his chair. Nora recognizes him as the same man standing over the dead body of the woman from that night. He then walks towards Nora, and collapses to the floor with a knife in his back. Nora is then confronted by an enraged Laura who confesses to the killings and explains that she just stabbed her husband because of his attempts to turn her over to the police. Laura reveals that her desire to steal her sister's money compelled her to murder. Laura attempts to attack Nora but is suddenly shot dead by her husband through the study door. Nora finds that the bearded man in her daze actually was disposing of the body of his murdering wife. Nora then leaves Italy, happily reunited with Marcello.
Director Mario Bava thought the plot of The Girl Who Knew Too Much was silly and focused more on the technical aspects of the film.
Release and reception
The Girl Who Knew Too Much was released by American International Pictures for the American market. They re-titled the film as The Evil Eye cutting large amounts of the film and rescoring the entire film. Changes include removing all references to marijuana, adding some more comedic scenes, and replacing the jazz score with one described as a "more noisy" one performed by Les Baxter.
Director Mario Bava didn't look back positively on the film, claiming that he "thought [the film] was too preposterous. Perhaps it could have worked with James Stewart and Kim Novak, whereas I had...oh, well, I can't even remember their names." The film is often remarked upon by modern critics. Of the five critics who have reviewed the film at Rotten Tomatoes the film has received slightly above average reviews noting the stylish look to the film, but negatively pointing out its story.
- Gelder 2000, p. 330.
- J. R. Jones. "The Girl Who Knew Too Much". chicagoreader.com. Retrieved 4 July 2012.
- Shipka, 2011. p. 106
- Boyd & Palmer 2006, p. 200.
- Boyd & Palmer 2006, p. 201.
- "La Ragazza che sapeva troppo (The Girl Who Knew Too Much) (The Evil Eye) (1962)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 4 July 2012.
- Boyd, David; Palmer, R. Barton (2006). After Hitchcock: Influence, Imitation, and Intertextuality. University of Texas Press. ISBN 0-292-71338-X.
- Gelder, Ken (2000). The Horror Reader. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-21356-8.
- Shipka, Danny (2011). Perverse Titillation: The Exploitation Cinema of Italy, Spain and France, 1960-1980. McFarland. ISBN 0786448881.
- The Girl Who Knew Too Much at the Internet Movie Database
- The Girl Who Knew Too Much at allmovie
- The Girl Who Knew Too Much at Rotten Tomatoes