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La ragazza che sapeva troppo (1963)

La ragazza che sapeva troppo (1963)

John SaxonLetícia RománValentina CorteseTitti Tomaino
Mario Bava


La ragazza che sapeva troppo (1963) is a Italian,English movie. Mario Bava has directed this movie. John Saxon,Letícia Román,Valentina Cortese,Titti Tomaino are the starring of this movie. It was released in 1963. La ragazza che sapeva troppo (1963) is considered one of the best Comedy,Horror,Mystery,Romance,Thriller movie in India and around the world.

Nora is a young tourist traveling through Rome which takes a sudden turn when she witnesses a murder by a serial killer that the police have sought for years for the so-called Alphabet Killings, and Nora soon finds herself in way-over-her-head trouble when the police want her cooperation to catch the killer while the mystery killer soon targets her for his next victim.


La ragazza che sapeva troppo (1963) Reviews

  • A key film in the development of the Giallo


    THE GIRL WHO KNEW TOO MUCH (Mario Bava - Italy 1962). I finally got to watch this in the way of the relatively cheap French DVD-release LA FILLE QUI EN SAVANT TROP, which includes Bava's original Italian cut as well as the American cut (titled THE EVIL EYE), which has a completely different ending and excludes some references to marijuana, as well as a stronger emphasis on the romantic plot line between the two leads John Saxon and Letícia Román, reputedly to make the film more marketable for children(!), which I find impossible to comprehend, but apparently this was what U.S. distributors had in mind. Furthermore, a bombastic Les Baxter score was added, a common treatment for most U.S releases of Italian films in that period, instead of the charming jazzy score in the Italian version (and a very catchy theme song). Letícia Román stars as a young American woman who loves reading mystery novels. In fact, she's seen reading a detective novel called "The Knife" when we meet her on the plane. She plans to stay with her aged aunt, but one evening, the old lady dies before her eyes. When she stumbles upon the streets, she witnesses a woman stabbed to death in front of the Spanish Steps and suspects it's the work of a serial killer. Going unconscious, she awakens in the hospital and tries to convince everyone she witnessed a murder, but since no body was found, nobody believes her. She does convince a young doctor (John Saxon) to help her investigate the murders, and they soon find out a series of murders was committed ten years ago, the "Alphabet Murders." She realizes that previous victims had surnames beginning A, B and C and, because her name starts with a D, she could be the next victim. This is often cited as the first Giallo, that specific Italian breed of thriller, named after the line of books with yellow covers, hence Giallo, Italian for yellow. THE GIRL WHO KNEW TOO MUCH basically contains most core elements attributed to this particular cinematic sub-genre, with the prime motive of the helpless heroine subjected to all kinds of dangers and physical as well as mental abuse. Nora Davis is seen reading a Giallo novel on the airplane; the foreigner as vulnerable outsider in Italy; an obsession with travel and tourism, the first murder takes place before the Spanish Steps, but the film shows countless tourist hotspots throughout Rome, and the fascination with fashion and style or the jet-set in general. Although it would take Bava's own BLOOD AND BLACK LACE (1964), lavishly shot in colour, to introduce the more elaborate, lengthy and - above all - much more violent and bloody killing sequences which would typify many later Giallos, carried out by the archetype Giallo killer with gloves and black raincoat. Wide-eyed Letícia Román is the kind of innocent looking girl with just the right combination of sexiness and innocence to pass as a very likable heroine, perhaps a touch too innocent and certainly worlds away from the sexually liberated female in later Giallos. Early sixties' fashions and habits abound, such as Nora Davis' exuberant snake leather jacket. There's also a lot of smoking on the plane and later on Nora condones Marcello's smoking habits claiming it's bad for his health, which is presented as the audience is supposed to laugh at her "preposterous" observation, instead of Marcello's smoking habit. Typical role reversal. There's also the running gag with marijuana. In the first scene, the man next to Nora on the plane turns out to be a marijuana smuggler, but on arrival in Rome, the always alert Italian police is quick to take this character into custody. Perhaps Bava's way of saying the Italian police is always on top of these issues and malicious elements from abroad are dealt with in proper fashion. Masterfully shot in black-and-white, the film doesn't contain the outrageous imagery of THE BODY AND THE WHIP (1963) and BLOOD AND BLACK LACE, both sumptuously shot in colour, and certainly is much lighter in tone with the sadistic bloodletting so typical of that other pivotal entry in the development of the Giallo, BLOOD AND BLACK LACE, largely lacking. Originally, it was conceived as a romantic comedy and - hence the title - as a light parody on Hitchcock's work, but Bava decided to put a larger emphasis on the more horrific elements of the story, but doesn't lose sight of the plot development, which I always found a major demerit of BLOOD AND BLACK LACE. A bit old-fashioned perhaps by American or British standards, but combining these elements with a more typical Italian tone, Bava does create something new here. Nevertheless, the tone remains conspicuously breezy and that's probably why this film turns out to be such an endearing mixture of clever Hitchcockian suspense and the occasional comedy relief. Perhaps a bit too cutesy and innocent for many Bava-fans, but I found his a thoroughly enjoyable film. Camera Obscura --- 8/10

  • Bava's first Giallo; a minor-masterpiece of style and energy


    The Girl Who Knew Too Much (1963) is director Mario Bava's gleeful homage to Hitchcock; and one of the earliest examples of the Italian Giallo sub-genre of horror/suspense cinema that would go on to inspire an entire generation of horror filmmakers throughout the subsequent two decades. If you're at all familiar with the work of director Dario Argento for example, then you can see the roots of films like The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970), Deep Red (1975) and Tenebrae (1982) already being established by the skillful blending of low-key thrills, character development and good old fashioned murder mystery, as captured by Bava in this excellent, slow-burning suspense piece. Although it may take some viewers a while to settle into the overall tone of the film - with those first few scenes presenting us with a veritable bombardment of information, both narrative and thematic, before the first murder has even taken place - the eventual unravelling of the plot, and Bava's excellent direction eventually draw us deeper into a story that is here punctuated by a charmingly romantic subplot, a miniature travelogue around the tourist traps of Rome, some subtle moments of almost slapstick humour, and the director's always inventive use of visual experimentation. The usual Gialli trademarks are already beginning to take shape here, with the film focusing on a foreigner - in this case, twenty-year old American student Nora Davis - who travels to Rome to visit her ailing aunt and inadvertently witnesses a murder. Alongside this central plot device, which would be utilised by Argento in many of his greatest films, such as the three aforementioned, we also have the ideas of sight and perception; with the central protagonist unintentionally witnessing something that is shrouded in elements of doubt and abstraction, and thus having to prove what she saw to sceptical police officers and those nearest to her. Bava's film is also given a neat touch of self-referential sub-text; opening with a shot of the central character herself reading a Giallo murder mystery, casting some doubt as to whether or not the film plays out in the literal sense, or whether it is a merely a constructed reality, taking place in her own mind as she reads the book to herself. This is a thread of interpretation that is examined throughout by the filmmaker, with the title of the book itself, "The Knife", having an importance on the plot that perhaps surreptitiously suggest some element of imagined fantasy. Once we get through those hectic opening sequences, which introduce the characters and a number of potential sub-plots that are essentially window-dressing to throw us off the trail, the film settles into the murder mystery aspect and the burgeoning relationship between Nora and her young doctor friend, Marcello Bassi. Through the relationship, Bava introduces a subtle comment on the Holmes vs. Watson partnership recast as a romantic dilemma, whilst also creating space within his story to let the audience catch up and think about the potential clues already collected in order to lead us to the eventual discovery of the killer's identity. The use of sight and Bava's directorial slight-of-hand is used meticulously for the initial murder sequence; with the director creating a literal feeling of hazy disconnection and a distorted perspective through a somewhat dated visual effect and the always masterful use of light and shadow. Although the actual effect - which replicates the look of ripples on a pond - might lead a more contemporary audience to giggle or cringe, it does tie in with the continual use of water-symbolism in Bava's work, from the final story in The Three Faces of Fear/Black Sabbath (1963), and A Bay of Blood (1971) most famously, as well as a somewhat cheap gag about marijuana cigarettes that will pay off in the film's closing moments. Again, the use of humour taps into the spirit of Hitchcock, with intrigue, voyeurism, suspense and murder being reduced to mere complications in the continual romantic wooing of Nora by the charming Dr. Bassi. Nevertheless, the thriller aspects are what we remember most clearly; with Bava's always atmospheric direction, iconography and ability to create tension from the slightest movement of the camera. Once the credits have rolled, we release just how subtle much of Bava's use of sight and perception actually was; with a number of scenes leading on from a moment of confusion by the central character, in which she thinks she sees something that turns out to be nothing of the sort. Again, it shows the director playfully undermining the central character; presenting Nora as someone unable to trust her own eyes, and thus, unable to be trusted with the ultimate unravelling of the plot. Nonetheless, Bava also succeeds in throwing us into this enigmatic mystery; undermining our own perspective of the story by showing us important information early on, allowing us to feel superior to Nora with our benefit of a forewarning, only to then cast further doubt in our mind as the gallery of suspects mount up. Though still something of a minor work for Bava, The Girl Who Knew Too Much is undoubtedly great; enlivened by the fine performances from the two leads, John Saxon (a cult actor with an impeccable list of credits) and the delightful Leticia Roman (I'm honestly quite smitten), and absolutely brimming with style and energy. The gag at the end is in-keeping with Bava's work, but certainly doesn't lessen the impact of the more thrilling scenes that came before, or the air of grand mystery and excitement suggested by his excellent approach to editing, cinematography and design. Beware that the film also exists under the title The Evil Eye; re-edited by Bava for the American market as more of a light-hearted romp (Tarantino calls it's a masterpiece). The version reviewed here is the original Italian version, a minor masterpiece of Giallo thrills, cinematic abstractions and an old-fashioned approach to storytelling that grips us from the start and never lets us go.

  • Classic Bava


  • Only Bava Giallo with Sympathetic Characters


    La Ragazza Che Sapeva Troppo/The Girl who Knew too Much(1963) is the first of the giallo genre that didn't blossom until the late 1960s. Also the final film by Mario Bava to be done in black and white. Although a Giallo, the film follows the plot lines of the more traditional mystery story with a few twists. The film that uses the perverse and violent elements of the Gialli or Giallo is Blood & Black Lace(1964). Mario Bava's next film, Blood and Black Lace(1964) is less interested in story and more interested in mood and style. The plot involves a woman who misinterprets the meaning of a murder she witnesses. The first horror picture that John Saxon was in. Bava in a rare instance uses naturalistic lighting. Usually the lighting in a Bava film is drenched in artful color. The only other film by Mario Bava to use naturalistic lighting is Rabid Dogs(1974). Lacks the sex and violence that dominates the gialli novels. The director was fascinated by the deception of appearences in this film and in his entire filmography. He seemed to have little optimism about human behavior or human nature. There are only three murders that occur in the film while the others happen before the story begins. The Girl who Knew Too Much(1963) deals with Bava's favorite theme of greed. The murderer before being overcome with bloodlust does these deeds because of obsession with money. Greed is the seed of destruction for the characters in Blood & Black Lace(1964), A Bay of Blood(1971), and Rabid Dogs(1974). Part Alfred Hitchcock and part Edgar Wallace. The acting in the film is good. Leticia Roman is excellent as the naive and attractive Nora Davis. Mario Bava was not interested in doing the film but due to money reason directed it anyway. Downplays the romantic subplot involving Nora Davis and Dr. Marcello Bassi. The scenes that uses suggestions of drug use were cut for the USA release. I love the scene where Nora sets up a booby trap to catch the murderer with disasterous results. The camera was in love with the figure of Leticia Roman during the scene at the beach while panning from her face to her feet. The short love scene between Nora and Marcello has a short spurt of eroticism. One of the writers who worked on the film was Django director, Sergio Corbucci. John Saxon does some fine acting as the leading man. Mario Bava and John Saxon did not get along due to many misunderstandings during filming. The director it seems didn't think too highly of actors or actresses. Dante Dipaolo plays the newspaper reporter with sympathy. The use of the tape recorder by the murderer is cleaver. Valentina Cortese gets the top acting honors as the mysterious Laura Terrani. The discovery of the murderer is one of the film's main highlights. Impressed Dario Argento when he did The Bird with the Crystal Plumage(1969) and thus being responsible for the longevity and success of the Giallo in Italy.

  • Classic and frightening Giallo by the great Mario Bava with the ordinary cruel murders


    The movie tells how an US tourist young girl (Leticia Roman) travels to Rome and is witness a killing by a brutal killer . She's only helped by an Italian mistress (Valentina Cortese) and a good-looking young (John Saxon) , they will help resolve the series of unsolved crude assassinations carried out by the so-called Alphabet Murderer . Later on , the police wants her cooperation to seize the executioner while the mysterious series-killer soon targets her for his next victim . In the movie there is suspense , thriller , horror and results to be very exciting . The film is entertaining for continued tension , emotion , intrigue ; besides , appearing numerous palaces , famous buildings and squares that create spectacular scenarios . The picture is considered to be the first Giallo , being rightly regarded as the seminal work in what became known as the "Giallo" genre , a sub-genre invented by Mario Bava and successfully continued by Riccardo Freda and Dario Argento . Bava would follow filming Giallos as ¨Blood and black lace¨ and classics of horror cinema as ¨Mask of demon¨ , ¨Black Sabbath¨ and ¨Planet of vampires¨ . Film casting is frankly well . Leticia Roman as an enticing scream girl is enjoyable and attractive , John Saxon as her young friend is very fine and veteran Valentina Cortese is excellent . Robert Nicolosi's musical score is atmospheric , though in the US version is composed by Les Baxter , Corman factory's regular , and the catching opening song is sung by Adriano Calentano . Magnificent white and black cinematography by the same Mario Bava , as usual in most his movies , and this was his final black and white production . At the film is shown and well photographed several monuments and squares from Rome , such as : Foro Italico Stadium , Piazza Navona , Mincio Square , Colisseum , Piazza del Popolo and Piazza di Spagna . This motion picture which in some countries was released under the following titles : "The Evil Eye" , ¨Incubus¨ or ¨Obsession diabolique¨ will appeal to terror cinema fans and Giallo enthusiasts . Rating : Good . Well worth seeing


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