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4.2 out of 5 stars36
4.2 out of 5 stars
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Showing 1-3 of 3 reviews(3 star). Show all reviews
on 4 January 2010
This is an early film from giallo maestro Dario Argento, best known perhaps for over-the-top & hyper-stylised thrillers such as Tenebrae & occult films such as Suspiria. He often favours elliptical conceits, such as his use of the Stendhal Syndrome (where the sufferer is overcome by works of art & drawn into them in a hallucinatory way) in the film of that name. Four Flies On Grey Velvet is another such elliptical conceit - using the folk notion that the eye of a murdered person retains imprinted on its lens the last thing the victim saw. It's an atmospheric but unfocussed & ultimately unsatisfactory murder mystery using a number of Argento tropes, among them stylised murders, black-gloved killers, sinisterly-whispering ambiguous-gendered unseen intruders.

The film was for many years apparently considered lost (though I saw it at London's British Film Institute a decade ago). There is, I hear, a really fancy collectible & very expensive German release of it. This is a more pennywise, cobbled together release. Visual quality is acceptable but not much more. The film is mostly in widescreen, but some brief sequences are 4:3 - 'lost' elements (of a psychopath's brain twitching) presumably reinstated from video. These add up to no more than 30 seconds overall.

Four Flies is no masterpiece, but is interesting if you're a giallo/Argento fan, & this is an affordable way to own a copy of a film that many thought was lost forever.
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on 11 November 2012
Although Four flies on grey velvet is a stylish giallo, it isn't Dario Argento's best work by far. Although (in my opinion) this is the weakest in the "animals" trilogy there are still many flourishes of Argento's genius, inventive deaths, strange camera angles and ramped up tension but the plot suffers from a lack of pace and the antagonist is easy to spot, something that i never usually predict in an Argento film.

For me Argento's animals trilogy was his work experience with his next film "Deep red" the beginning of his true genius.

Shameless have faithfully restored the movie from it's original elements, including footage not seen elsewhere,making this the most complete version on the market. The Blu ray transfer is decent enough but i didn't find it as good as Arrow's Blu ray transfers of Argento's other films like "Bird with the crystal plumage" "Phenomena" etc.

Not many features, trailers notwithstanding, but you get a decent (if slightly dry) 40 min interview with director and long time Argento collabarator Luigi Cozzi who co wrote the screenplay.

3/5
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on 6 February 2012
I found Argento's third movie as Director a little disappointing.Although Shameless have done a fantastic job with the product itself,it's a pity they couldn't have improved the actual content.
The story is typical giallo-people getting knocked off by a mysterious unseen agonist.There are some decent murders,it's well filmed as you would expect and has a great climax but,and it's a very big but,it hasn't aged very well to say the least.
The portrayal of it's gay characters is ludicrous and cringe inducing (but thankfully not nearly as bad as they're depicted in Island Of Death) and some of the other eccentric performers look like they may have just stepped out of Billy-Smarts Circus!
But the biggest embarrassment has to be it's lead character.Michael Brandon's portrayal of a drummer in a rock band is so stiff and awkward it has to be seen to be believed.If only one of the crew had given him a good shake before each take this thriller could have been so much better.His dead-eyed performance frustratingly distracts.He brings nothing to the movie whatsoever.
The killers identity isn't hard to work out and doesn't make much sense,but hey, this is an Argento film so what do you expect?
I commend the people at Shameless for putting together the complete version of FFOGV.But as far as the customer is concerned,maybe this time round the anticipation was more rewarding than the actual gain.
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