Jack Knowles is here to direct our eyes to a stellar horror classic.
The Girl Who Knew Too Much (La ragazza che sapeva troppo), is a black and white 1963 Giallo film directed by the legendary Mario Bava. It surrounds a young American tourist Nora Davis (Letícia Román) on a holiday to Rome to visit a family friend. The events of the film rapidly unfold as Nora sees the family friend pass away and is mugged on the street. Then she witnesses a murder and in fear of being the next victim, she seeks out the killer.
“The film plays much homage to the master of suspense Alfred Hitchcock with its title alone following Hitchcock’s 1956 film The Man who knew too much.”
The Giallo genre is an Italian horror genre that emerged in the 1960s. Mario Bava was a core pioneer of this genre. It introduced troupes and dramatic structure that would later be found in Hollywood horrors.
The film plays much homage to the master of suspense Alfred Hitchcock with its title alone following Hitchcock’s 1956 film The Man Who Knew Too Much. The film’s use of suspense is in line with Hitchcock stylistic traits. The film, with its chiaroscuro cinematography, falls in line with the noir genre at times, used to create a mysterious and sinister atmosphere for stark effect. The deep focus camera makes Rome to be seen as a menacing city.
“In this film, the locations create the stylised imager
The imagery in the film is highly stylised. In later Mario Bava films the use of bold, ravenous, hunting primary coloured lights are often used to a nightmarish effect. In this film, the locations create the stylised imagery. One scene is a blend of suspense thriller and horror, when Nora is searching for the killer in an abandoned building. She walks down a corridor and hanging lights sway left to right letting light fall in and out, and a voice speaks over all this, leading her to the last door at the end of the corridor, leaving the audience in unbearable suspense.
This film and the whole canon of Giallo deserves attention, especially if you are a horror fanatic. It is a film that leaves echoes which can be heard in all horror films that followed.