La ragazza che sapeva troppo
The Evil Eye
Although certain plot elements of imported murder mysteries had been absorbed into Italian cinema (see Visconti’s Ossessione ) Mario Bava’s The Girl Who Knew Too Much (1963) was the first to foreground them in a self-conscious manner. The protagonist Nora Davis (Letícia Román) is a voracious reader of murder mysteries, she clearly enjoys losing herself in the fantasy world, and craves a mystery in the real world that mirrors the exciting events on the written page. The instant she arrives in Rome from America to visit a bedridden aunt events are in motion over which she has no control. An early encounter in the airport with a drug smuggler is quickly followed by the death of her aunt, and this is soon followed by a mugging, and most importantly of all a murder to which she is a witness. These plot events and contrivances would be laughable were it not for the darkly humorous streak that runs through the film, and the filmmakers less than serious approach to the subject matter. In addition Bava and his collaborators choose too include a third person narrator who comments on Nora’s predicament and gives expression to her thoughts. Rather than weaken the narrative, this serves to tie the film very strongly to the literary source, and it becomes another self referential device along with on screen references to Mickey Spillane and Agatha Christie.