Who’s That Girl?
RELEASED 7 NOVEMBER 1977 | 15 | Blu-ray
Director Robert Wise
Cast Marsha Mason, Anthony Hopkins, John Beck, Susan Swift
A ’70s movie based on a popular novel, which sees a well-to-do American family’s life turned upside down by their daughter’s inexplicable behaviour, forcing them to reconsider their views on the spiritual realm… Sound familiar?
Though similarities with The Exorcist can’t have hurt the box office, and young Ivy Templeton – who may or may not be a reincarnation of the titular five-year-old, killed in a car crash 11 years ago – has some distressing freak-outs, there’s no pea soup here, with the film leaning more towards tug-of-love drama than outright horror. Sinister gargoyles on the family’s brownstone home are as diabolical as it gets.
In between the emotionally wrought close-ups, there’s some clever staging by veteran Robert Wise – a sequence which plays out dialogue-free, observed through the window, is especially powerful.
Boasting strong performances from Marsha Mason (impressively convincing as the mother with a scepticism-to-belief character arc) and Anthony Hopkins (who, as Audrey Rose’s father, employs the unblinking gaze later employed as Hannibal Lecter to transmit mesmeric sincerity), it’s a film which takes its premise fairly seriously – until a final-reel hypnotic regression session sees credulity finally snap with a resounding twang.
Extras A talking head by a magician seems fairly pointless (19 minutes). The late author Frank de Felitta (12 minutes) has more to say about The Entity. A rather awkwardly-phrased visual essay (17 minutes) details other reincarnation movies. A “then and now” featurette (four minutes) simply displays the locations in split-screen, without comment.
There’s also a decent talking head on the score (17 minutes), and a Marsha Mason interview (18 minutes). A critical commentary focuses on the film’s themes. Plus: gallery; trailer; booklet. Ian Berriman
Author Frank de Felitta was inspired by hearing his six-year-old son inexplicably playing the piano like Fats Waller.