Friday, October 8, 2021

The Fourth Victim – Severin Films (Blu-ray)

Theatrical Release Date: Spain/Italy, 1971
Director: Eugenio Martín
Writers: Sabatino Ciuffini, Vicente Coello, J.B. Gilford, Eugenio Martín, Santiago Moncada
Cast: Carroll Baker, Michael Craig, Miranda Campa, José Luis López Vázquez, Enzo Garinei, Manuel Gallardo, Marina Malfatti

Release Date: September 28th, 2021
Approximate Running Time: 88 Minutes 21 Seconds
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVCC
Rating: NR
Sound: DTS-HD Mono English, DTS-HD Mono Italian
Subtitles: English SDH
Region Coding: Region A
Retail Price: $34.95

"Carroll Baker (BABY DOLL, SOMETHING WILD) stars as the new bride of a wealthy British playboy (Oscar® nominee Michael Craig of THE ANGRY SILENCE and MYSTERIOUS ISLAND) whose three previous wives met with suspiciously accidental deaths." - synopsis provided by the distributor

Video: 3.25/5

Here’s the information provided about this release's transfer, "scanned in 2K from the original negative."

The Fourth Victim comes on a 50 GB dual layer Blu-ray.

Disc Size: 29 GB

Feature: 25.2 GB

Though the source used for this transfer is in good shape and any print related debris is minimal. There are a few areas where it comes up short. The image generally looks crisp, black levels are best described as serviceable with some instances where black levels look grayish and there are some compression related issues, most noticeable during darker scenes. Also, there are some density related issues and though colors fare well, there is some color fluctuation.

Audio: 3.5/5

This release comes with two audio options, a DTS-HD mono mix in English and DTS-HD mono mix in Italian. Though both audio mixes sound clean, the English language track has some mild distortion related issues. Also, the English language track sounds considerably more robust than the Italian language track. That said, dialog comes through clearly. Included with this release are removable English SDH subtitles for the English language track. Unfortunately, there are no English subtitles for the Italian language track.

Extras:

Extras for this release include a trailer for The Fourth Victim (2 minutes 56 seconds, Dolby Digital mono English, no subtitles), a deleted scene (2 minutes 43 seconds, Dolby Digital mono Spanish with removable English subtitles) and an interview with Eugenio Martín biographer Carlos Aguilar titled Eugenio Martín, Auteur (15 minutes 36 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo Spanish with removable English subtitles).

Summary:

Though Italian made thrillers are the most remembered thrillers from 1970’s Euro-cult cinema. Most Italian thrillers were actually co-productions. That said, though most Italian co-productions retained an Italian identity, there are many instances where these co-productions favored the other half. Case in point: The Fourth Victim, a Spanish/Italian co-production directed by Eugenio Martín (Bad Man;s River, Horror Express).

Where Italian thrillers were known for their over the top violent set pieces and salacious moments. Spanish thrillers were on the opposite end of the spectrum. Not surprisingly, Italian cinema at that time had more freedom than Spanish cinema which was severely censored. That said, despite these restrictions Spanish cinema somehow found a way to make interesting cinema that took on said censorship.

Content wise, The Fourth Victim has many elements that have become synonymous with the psychological Italian thrillers directed by Umberto Lenzi in the late 1960’s. The Fourth Victim’s other connection to late 1960’s psychological Italian thrillers is actress Carroll Baker. And with The Fourth Victim she once again portrays a character that’s in line with the characters she portrayed in the films she made with Umberto Lenzi.

Though there are many Giallo elements in The Fourth Victim. The result is a film that’s actually closer to an Alfred Hitchcock or Agatha Christie thriller. After an opening sequence that features a questionable death. Most of the narrative are scenes revolving around Carroll Baker’s and Michael Craig’s character's quickly formed love affair. That said, though there are moments along the way when these two characters suspension of each other drive tension. It's not-until the finale when the Giallo elements are most prominent.

From a production standpoint, there are not many areas where The Fourth Victim misfires. The far-fetched premise is well-executed and the narrative does a good job moving things forward. Other strengths include stylish cinematography and a solid score from Piero Umiliani that reinforces the mood. Ultimately, The Fourth Victim is an entertaining thriller that fans of 1970’s Spanish thrillers are sure to enjoy.

The Fourth Victim makes its way to Blu-ray via a serviceable audio/video presentation that leaves room for improvement and an informative extra about Eugenio Martín.








Written by Michael Den Boer

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