As director Aldo Lado explains in the brief but informative interview, George Lazenby needed a decent acting job, and more to the point, some income, after falling on hard times after the rapid success of becoming the second James Bond in "On Her Majesty's Secret Service," only to be dumped afterwards because ongoing frictions between much of the 007 production team, and producer Cubby Broccoli. (The oddball casting coincidence, though, is Adolfo Celi, who appeared as the lead villain in "Thunderball," nine years earlier.)
Appearing shockingly gaunt, it's clear the actor was in the midst of a very low period, and his wiry physique adds an unintentional vulnerability to his role as a single parent, scouring his city while massive guilt slowly erodes his sanity. Regrettably, Lazenby's voice seems to have been dubbed by another actor for the English version, but it becomes less distracting as the film kicks in.
Lado's choice to shoot in his hometown of Venice meant the director could show areas way off the tourist maps, and with rare exceptions, we're treated to obscure slices of local alleys, coffee shops, and waterways. Cinematographer Franco Di Giacomo went for more natural lighting schemes, and the authentic locations add a great deal of character to a town best known for museums and gondoliers. A stalking sequence in an abandoned warehouse is exceptionally lit, and like the film's effective night sequences, the DVD transfer is decent, although the included trailer actually looks better than the film; with deeper colours and sharper images, it seems the English print was originally struck from inferior dupe materials.
Nevertheless, "Who Saw Her Die?" looks very good, and the soundtrack mix (with Ennio Morricone's effective but overused 'killer' theme) is adequate in straightforward mono.
Aldo Lado's interview contains a fair mix of film clips, a few stills and personal anecdotes to give viewers a good impression of the film's production history. After the success of "Short Night Of Glass Dolls," the producers wanted to repeat the success with another knock-off, yet Lado wisely stuck with his successful formula of careful pacing, visual character, and omnipresent mood to deliver a fairly effective little shocker. There's a disturbing (yet logical) subtext that runs through the film, and Lado describes his regular run-ins with Italian censors - a problem that apparently dotted his career because of his desire to tackle taboo subjects (political and sexual) and unnerving themes.
This title is available separately or as part of Anchor Bay's Giallo Collection box, which contains Bloodstained Shadow, Case of the Blood Iris, Short Night Of Glass Dolls, and Who Saw Her Die?
© 2002 Mark R. Hasan