Tuesday, January 19, 2010

17) The Girl Who Knew Too Much (1963)


17) The Girl Who Knew Too Much (1963) Dir: Mario Bava Date Released: May 1964 Date Seen: January 19, 2010 Rating: 4/5

By explicitly creating a kinship to Hitchcock through the film's title, Mario Bava's The Girl Who Knew Too Much reminds us why he's the best of the crop of Italian filmmakers that advertise explicitly their kinship to the "Master of Suspense," more so than Lucio Fulci and a lot more than Dario "Do You Like Hitchcock" Argento. Like Hitchcock, Bava directs films like a sadistic chess player. His method of storytelling is all about playful feints and red herrings, as with the film's amiably silly coda, which posits that the events of The Girl Who Knew Too Much might all have been one long, pot-induced bad trip for its wide-eyed, impressionable female protagonist. He deluges you with a meticulously controlled flow of information, all filmed with a visible intent that makes you think anything and anyone might be significant. Bava delights in bursting the viewer's bubble at every turn, mischievously building up certain clues only to deflate their importance an instant later, as with the man who offers "the girl" pot disguised as cigarettes. We immediately meet him on an airplane right after we're introduced to our "gialli"-addicted heroine. A few short minutes later, he's being dragged away by airport security for smuggling pot into Rome. The whole film is similarly a playful and masterfully executed game of cat-and-mouse, one which expresses the mean-spirited sense of play that Hitch loved and is sorely wanting in both Fulci and Argento's films.

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