Kyle Cubr of Cine-File reviews “The Girl Who Knew Too Much”

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Considered to be the start of giallo filmmaking, THE GIRL WHO KNEW TOO MUCH is a pulpy, thriller oozing with influences from Alfred Hitchcock. American tourist and murder mystery novel enthusiast Nora (Letícia Román) flies to Rome to visit her sick aunt, who passes away on the first night. Upset by the ordeal, Nora flees to the Spanish Steps where she is promptly mugged and awakens sometime later to witness a murder transpire, only for Nora to pass out again from shock. Upon being roused in the morning, no trace from the murder seems to be left, leaving her to question whether what she saw was truly real or a hallucination from one of her books. Mario Bava’s film lovingly pays homage to some of Hitchcock’s staples, such as the blonde protagonist, a mysterious murder committed by knife, and unnerving suspense that bubbles the length of the film—with PSYCHO being his main muse. Unlike his next giallo film, BLOOD AND BLACK LACE, Bava incorporates wholly likable characters with which the audience can empathize. Nora’s character arc is compelling due to her transformation from a naive fish out of water to an inquisitive, Nancy Drew-esque sleuth resolved to unravel the mystery. As always, Bava’s use of light and shadow is paramount. His framing and lighting provide a sense of claustrophobia that teeters on madness, like the protagonist’s state of mind, and then snaps to clarity when a realization is uncovered. Less of a horror film than one might expect from one of the Italian masters of the genre, THE GIRL WHO KNEW TOO MUCH is Bava’s most American film and an exhilarating entry point for those unfamiliar with his work.

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