Il Maestro meets The Master


Bava as Uncle Agosto

As you might guess from the title, The Girl Who Knew Too Much was intended to be a Hitchcock parody. American International and Galatea commissioned it as such, and it was originally planned to be a light comedy, although that is not really up Bava’s alley. It has its Hitchcock moments, with the suspense and that whole victim of being the wrong person in the wrong place idea. One Hitchcock moment we don’t see in the Netflix version is Bava’s cameo. He appeared in a photograph on the wall in Nora’s room, with a Dali moustache and a leering look as she walked around in her nightie. This was added in to the US version, titled The Evil Eye.


That missing eye harks back to Black Sunday

The changes made for the US version were significant. Lucas devotes four pages of All the Colors of the Dark to detailing them. Additional footage, mostly done at the time of the original filming, was added to make the movie more light-hearted. Giving it the sinister title and the crazy advertising poster, “Look deep into THE EVIL EYE to the twilight world of the Supernatural! What does it want… what will satisfy its cravings?? …only the dead know … and those they choose to tell!” was probably counter-productive.

It was Bava’s worst film commercially, closing after only a week after release in Italy. While that had more to do with Cold War tensions than the quality of the movie, it might have made the producers feel they needed to make more drastic changes than usual.


Gialli were named after their yellow covers

There were a couple things going on with Bava leading up to this movie. After Black Sunday’s success, he took up reading a lot of pulp fiction (gialli) – horror, mystery, sci-fi – because he wanted to get a handle on the form. Edizione Mondadori had been publishing gialli since 1929, influenced by British yellow jacketed paperbacks of Christie, Cain, Chandler and the like. The Girl Who Knew Too Much is considered by some to be the first giallo film, although it is probably not the most representative of the form, as they got much more lurid.

Bava was recovering from a nervous breakdown at the time he was making this movie. Basically he had been working too hard, having done a half dozen films under his own name in the previous three years, as well as working on more than a dozen others in some capacity.

Love that snakeskin jacket. It’s like a symbol of her individuality and belief in personal freedom. Or maybe that was someone else

This was another great shot. All the nun’s habits, looking like flower petals, opening up as Nora comes to… only a little Freudian

Bava’s sets, as always, are impressive. It’s a nice switch the way he creates a suspenseful scene with stark white instead of darkness.

This was just a little scene without much significance, but it shows how he creates something out of nothing. This is supposed to be a print shop, but it’s all suggested by shadows and sound effects. Otherwise it’s just the corner of a room.

This is true.

Flickr set for the week

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3 Responses to Il Maestro meets The Master

  1. Pingback: bavatuesdays episode 3: The Girl Who Knew Too Much | bavatuesdays

  2. Steven Kaye says:

    If the spiral staircase in Kill, Baby…Kill! wasn’t an intentional Vertigo reference, I’ll be very surprised.

  3. Pingback: The Dead Eyes of Dr. Dracula |

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