• The Fourth Victim (Severin Films) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Severin Films
    Released on: September 28th, 2021.
    Director: Eugenio Martín
    Cast: Carroll Baker, Michael Craig, Marina Malfatti
    Year: 1971
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    The Fourth Victim – Movie Review:

    Directed by Eugenio Martín and released in 1971, this Italian-Spanish co-production tells the story of Arthur Anderson (Michael Craig), a wealthy Englishman whose third wife, Felicity (Miranda Campa), is found face down in their swimming pool, seemingly having overdosed. This doesn't bode well for Arthur, as the two women to whom he was married previously also passed away, neither one from natural causes and each one insured for a healthy sum.

    Of course, the cops are called in to investigate, with Inspector Dunphy (José Luis López Vázquez) leading the charge, and soon enough Arthur has been charged wtih murdering his wife. Without enough evidence to hold him, he's soon freed. Not at all upset by the recent death of his wife or the ensuring events, Arthur soon makes a move on his beautiful blonde neighbor, Julie (Carroll Baker). They're soon married, seemingly in record time, but things aren't necessarily going to get easier for Arthur, not when a mysterious woman (Marina Malfatti) starts poking about.

    Not quite as rife with the sex and violence you’d expect from an Italian giallo, The Fourth Victim is nevertheless a stylish and suspenseful picture that proves to be both entertaining and engaging. There are some nice twists here and there and the film moves at a nice clip, it’s paced well and has no problem holding our attention. The production values are pretty solid as well, with Guglielmo Mancori’s lush cinematography doing a great job of capturing the fancy locations and the attractive cast in all their glory even if it isn’t super flashy. Add to this mix a pretty strong score courtesy of composer Piero Umiliani and, once the film gets moving, it’s pretty easy to overlook the lack of the more salacious elements that giallo devotees often expect from the genre.

    As to the acting, Michael Craig makes for a good male lead here. He does a nice job of creating a shifty character, one who we don’t quite trust, and he has good chemistry with top billed Carroll Baker. She, too, does fine work in the picture. She’s as beautiful and glamourous here as she’s ever been and she plays the part very well. José Luis López Vázquez as the inspector delivers some effective moments of unexpected comic relief in the film but still manages to make for a believable and determined cop. The beautiful Marina Malfatti is also really fun to watch, strutting about in a pretty impressive outfit and playing the mysterious blonde stranger with style.

    The Fourth Victim – Blu-ray Review:

    Severin Films brings The Fourth Victim to region A Blu-ray in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed at 2.35.1 widescreen with the feature taking up 27GBs of space on the 50GB disc. Scanned in 2k from the original 35mm negative, this looks pretty good. The opening credits are a bit soft but that improves once they finish. There is some mild but noticeable flicker present, it’s stronger in the beginning of the movie and as the film progresses it becomes less noticeable. Detail looks quite nice and the colors are reproduced very well even if black levels lean closer to a dark grey than true black. There aren’t any obvious compression artifacts and the image is free of any noticeable noise reduction or edge enhancement. Some white specks pop up here and there but overall, the picture is pretty clean, showing little print damage but retaining the film grain it should.

    Audio options are offered up in both Italian and English language tracks in 24-bit DTS-HD 2.0 Mono options with subtitles available in English SDH only that translate the English track. The English track would seem to feature most of the cast’s actual voices and it suits the movie well, it sounds quite good. The Italian track also sounds fine. Both mixes have properly balanced levels and are free of any hiss or distortion.

    The main extra on the disc is a featurette titled Eugenio Martín, Auteur: Interview With Eugenio Martín Biographer Carlos Aguilar that runs for sixteen minutes. This piece goes over how he came to write the book on Martín, what makes his filmography different from some of his contemporaries in Spanish cinema, how he worked in a variety of different genres, how he worked his way up in the film industry until he made it to the director's chair, some of the more noteworthy filmmakers that he worked with over the years and the influence that some of these American and British filmmakers had on his career, some of the actors that he worked with and thoughts on some of his more important and noteworthy films.

    Aside from that, the disc also includes a single deleted scene (in Spanish with English subtitles), a theatrical trailer, menus and chapter selection options.

    The Fourth Victim – The Final Word:

    The Fourth Victim is a solid thriller boasting really nice production values and a great cast. Severin Film’s Blu-ray release brings this underappreciated and previously tough to see to Blu-ray with a nice presentation and a few solid extra features as well. Recommended.

    Click on the images below for full-sized The Fourth Victim screen caps!