Sunday, January 30, 2022

The Girl Who Knew Too Much – Arrow Video (Blu-ray/DVD Combo)

Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1963
Director: Mario Bava
Writers: Mario Bava, Enzo Corbucci, Ennio De Concini, Eliana De Sabata, Mino Guerrini, Franco Prosperi
Cast: Letícia Román, John Saxon, Valentina Cortese, Titti Tomaino, Luigi Bonos, Milo Quesada, Robert Buchanan, Marta Melocco, Gustavo De Nardo

Release Date: November 17th, 2014
Approximate running times: 85 Minutes 38 Seconds (The Girl Who Knew Too Much), 92 Minutes 15 Seconds (Evil Eye)
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC (The Girl Who Knew Too Much), 1.78:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC (Evil Eye)
Rating: 12 (UK)
Sound: LPCM Mono Italian (The Girl Who Knew Too Much), LPCM Mono English (Evil Eye)
Subtitles: English (The Girl Who Knew Too Much), English SDH (Evil Eye)
Region Coding: Region B/Region 2 PAL (UK)
Retail Price: OOP (UK)

"A young American secretary with a taste for lurid paperbacks witnesses a murder whilst visiting Rome or does she? Nobody will believe her, but she appears to have stumbled upon the work of a serial killer active ten years earlier. The victims surnames began A, B and C... and hers begins with the letter D!" - synopsis provided by the distributor

Video: 3.75/5 (The Girl Who Knew Too Much), 4.25/5 (Evil Eye)

Here’s the information provided about this release's transfer,  "An original 35mm Fine Grain Interpositive was scanned in 2K resolution on a pin-registered ArriScan. A 35mm internegative element was also used for a small number of scenes. The film was graded on the Nucoda grading system. Thousands of instances of dirt, debris and light scratches were removed through a combination of software and other digital restoration tools. The original mono soundtrack was transferred and synched from the magnetic reels. 

Some minor instances of picture damage remain, in keeping with the condition of the original materials.

Evil Eye was restored in High Definition and made available for this release by Alfredo Leone."

The Girl Who Knew Too Much comes on a 50 GB dual layer Blu-ray.

Disc Size: 45.9 GB

Feature: 21 GB (The Girl Who Knew Too Much), 21.7 GB (Evil Eye)

Both versions of this film exhibit strong black and contrast levels, excellent shadow details, no issues with compression, and the grain looks natural. It should be noted that the image for The Girl Who Knew Too Much is framed at a 1.66:1 aspect ratio, while the image for Evil Eye is framed at a 1.78:1 aspect ratio. Besides the different framing, the AIP version has a more luminous tone, while the Italian version has slightly more print debris.

Audio: 4.25/5 (The Girl Who Knew Too Much), 4/5 (Evil Eye)

Each version comes with one audio option, a LPCM mix, and in the case of The Girl Who Knew Too Much, the language is Italian, while Evil Eye is in English only. Quality-wise, The Girl Who Knew Too Much is the stronger of these two audio mixes. And though it has some mild background noise, that noise is not as prominent as it is on the audio track for Evil Eye. Dialog always comes through clearly, and everything sounds balanced. And though these are not the most dynamic of tracks, when it comes to the more ambient aspects of the soundtrack, things sound very good throughout. Included with this release are removable English subtitles for The Girl Who Knew Too Much and English SDH subtitles for Evil Eye.

Extras:

Extras for this release include an introduction by author/film critic Alan Jones for The Girl Who Knew Too Much (3 minutes 38 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), International theatrical trailer (2 minutes 37 seconds, Dolby Digital mono Italian with non-removable English subtitles), U.S. theatrical trailer (2 minutes 9 seconds, Dolby Digital mono English, no subtitles), an interview with actor John Saxon titled Remembering The Girl (9 minutes 38 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), a featurette about The Girl Who Knew Too Much titled All About the Girl’ (21 minutes 46 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo Italian and English with removable English subtitles), an audio commentary with Tim Lucas, author of Mario Bava – All the Colors of the Dark for the Italian version, reversible cover art and a twenty-eight page booklet with cast & crew credits, an essay titled Somatic Incompliance: The Look of Resistance n Mario Bava’s Evil Eye written by Kier-La Janisse and information about the transfers.

Included as part of this combo release are two DVD’s, one DVD contains, The Girl Who Knew Too Much, Alana Jones introduction, the international trailer for the film, All About the Girl featurette and the Tim Lucas audio commentary track, while the other DVD contains, Evil Eye and the U.S. trailer for the film.

Summary:

There is no denying the influence that The Girl Who Knew Too Much had on the Giallo (Italian thriller) genre. Content wise, this film would feature many things that would become staples of the genre, which would ultimately reach its apex during the early part of the 1970’s. A few of these staples include a protagonist who is forced to become an amateur sleuth when they find themselves caught up in a murder mystery. And a black-gloved killer whose weapon of choice is a knife that in the finale reveals their modus operandi to the protagonist.

At the time that The Girl Who Knew Too Much was being made co-productions between countries were very common and for this Italian/U.S. co-production the U.S. end would be picked up by American International Pictures, who a few years before had released Mario Bava’s Black Sunday theatrically. This time around however for its U.S. release under the title Evil Eye, this film would feature much more than a brand new score. Additional scenes would be added for this alternate version, which also took on a decidedly different tone that was far less ominous and the humor is more heavy handed.

Also, when discussing The Girl Who Knew Too Much, one must not overlook the influence that the cinema of Alfred Hitchcock had on this film. Its title is clearly a play on the Alfred Hitchcock film, The Man Who Knew Too Much. Another thing that reminds one of Hitchcock is this film’s heroine Nora, who in many ways mirrors "the icy blonde" that has since become synonymous with Hitchcock’s legacy.

Though the opening moments feel a bit rushed, things start to settle in once the family friend that Nora is visiting dies in the middle of the night. Fortunately, after this slight hiccup, things from there on out move along briskly and there are no more lulls along the way. It is during this pivotal moment that Mario Bava establishes the tension that is firmly overtaking every facet of the protagonist’s life. He uses the traumatic event of Nora witnessing the death of a woman, who only moments later disappears into thin air, to create a state where she is caught between reality and paranoia. Needless to say, by the time the finale rolls around, she is on the brink of a breakdown.

The Girl Who Knew Too Much would mark Mario Bava’s final film shot in black and white. And visually, The Girl Who Knew Too Much is filled with striking imagery that has a Gothic vibe to it and at times is reminiscent of the style associated with Noir cinema. His use of shadow and light, especially the latter, is astounding. And of course, the most memorable moments are all the moments involving murder or terrorizing this film’s protagonist. Most notably, the aforementioned scene where she witnesses a woman being murdered.

The most surprising aspect of The Girl Who Knew Too Much is the performance by its leading lady, Letcia Román, whose all too brief career also included a starring role for another iconic film director, Russ Meyer, and that film was Fanny Hill: Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure. She gives a very convincing performance of a woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Cast opposite her is John Saxon (Tenebrae), in the role of Dr. Marcello Bassi, Nora’s love interest and her partner in crime solving. He turns in a strong performance that far exceeds the limitations of what is essentially a supportive character. Another performance of note is Valentina Cortese (Le amiche) in the role of Laura Craven-Torrani, the mysterious neighbor next door.

The Girl Who Knew Too Much gets a definitive release from Arrow Video that comes with two versions of the film and a wealth of insightful extras, highly recommended.

                                          The Girl Who Knew Too Much Screenshots.






                                                       
                                                        Evil Eye Screenshots.







 Written by Michael Den Boer

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