Given the same story, told in a different tone, you can have all the same beats and characters, and yet it is an entirely different experience. We see this often in remakes or director’s cuts of films, but in Kino Classics recent release of Mario Bava’s EVIL EYE, we get the American version released by AIP in 1963 as well as the alternate Italian cut THE GIRL WHO KNEW TOO MUCH. And it is interesting how minor differences can change the entire feel.
EVIL EYE stars Leticia Roman and John Saxon, in a story about an American girl, Nora Davis, obsessed with murder mysteries going to stay in Rome with a family friend for vacation. The family friend is an elderly woman that is gravely ill and ultimately passes away while Nora is staying with her. After the passing, Nora is unable to reach the hospital by phone, and while running for help she’s mugged and after recovering from that believes that she witnesses a woman being murdered. Not exactly the best way to spend a first 24 hours in an unfamiliar country.
In both films, we have the same scenarios, same actors and main scenes, but filmed concurrently, one in English and the other in Italian, we see two very different forms of story telling. Where the Italian version sticks to a more serious Giallo style, the American version plays as a comedic murder mystery with scenes that are more slapstick. While I felt that the Italian version stuck with me more, it is nice to get the alternate film if you are in a more light hearted mood.
Both films really allow Rome to shine, exhibiting the city’s wondrous architecture, statues, and natural landscapes as well. Similar to the recent film SPRING, we get to vacation with the main character and live vicariously through them.
I love that this release contains both versions as you don’t have to double dip to get them both, however that reduces the special features down to the original trailers for each film. Kino did a wonderful job with the transfer, getting it to look as best it can, with only a few glaring damaged spots, but both versions sound great, though I prefer the Italian soundtrack as it heightens the tension more rather than playing up the laughs.
EVIL EYE is now available on Bluray through Kino Classics as of May 19th, 2015.