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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "4 mosche di velluto grigio" or "4 mouches de velours gris")

 

directed by Dario Argento
Italy/France 1971

 

The little-seen Four Flies on Grey Velvet is perhaps most remarkable for it's unusual spiritual underpinnings and Dario Argento's deft attention for sexual signifiers. The title of this third and final film in Argento's "animal trilogy" is as egregious as the weird science that literalizes the eye as a photographic camera. Rock star Roberto Tobias (Michael Brandon) leaves his rehearsal studio and follows a mysterious figure into an empty theater where he struggles with the switchblade-wielding man. Roberto accidentally stabs the man, who falls evocatively into the theater's orchestra pit. From a balcony, a masked figure captures the moment on camera. If Argento's signature use of a black-gloved killer is noticeably absent, this is compensated by the presence of Brandon himself, whose striking features recall those of the giallo director's. There isn't much to Four Flies on Grey Velvet besides pent-up rage though much of the film's sexual frenzy prefigures themes from Deep Red.

Excerpt of review from Excerpt from Slant Magazine located HERE located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: 25 August 1972 (USA)

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Comparison:

Retrofilm - Region 0 - PAL vs. MYA Communication - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Shameless Screen Entertainment - Region 0 - PAL vs. Shameless Screen Entertainment - Region FREE - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas and Gary Tooze for the Screen Caps!

1) Retrofilm - Region 0 - PAL - LEFT

2) MYA Communication - Region 0 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Shameless Screen Entertainment - Region 0 - PAL - THIRD

4) Shameless Screen Entertainment - Region FREE - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

Box Covers

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Retrofilm

Region 0 - PAL

MYA Communication
Region 0 - NTSC
Shameless Screen Entertainment
Region 0 - PAL
Shameless Screen Entertainment
Region FREE -
Blu-ray
Runtime 1:36:51 (4% PAL speedup) 1:42:15 1:39:00 (4% PAL speedup) 1:43:19.734 / 1:42:23.386
Video

2.53:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.22 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.43 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

2.34:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.11 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1080P / 23.976 fps Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 24,173,907,648 bytes

Extended: 14,060,777,472 bytes

Theatrical: 13,892,880,384 bytes

Video Bitrate: 15.04 Mbps / 14.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

 

Retrofilm

 

Bitrate:

 

MYA Communication

 

Bitrate:

 

Shameless Screen Entertainment

 

Bitrate:

 

Blu-ray

Bitrate:

 

Extra Scenes Blu-ray

 

Audio English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono; Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 mono; German Dolby Digital 2.0 mono

English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono; Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 mono

English Dolby DIgital 2.0 mono; Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 mono

DTS-HD Master Audio English 744 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 744 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio Italian 586 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 586 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps / 16-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio English 256 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 256 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Italian 256 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 256 kbps / DN -4dB
Subtitles German, none English (for Italian-only scenes on English track), none English, none English for Caption, English for Italian DUB, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Retrofilm

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.53:1

Edition Details:
• US Teaser (4:3; 0:56)
• Trailer (4:3; 2:16)
• Italian Ending Sequence (4:3; 7:10)
• Italian Opening Credits (4:3; 2:56)
• German CAT O'NINE TAILS Trailer (16:9; 3:27)
• German BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE Trailer (16:9; 2:37)

DVD Release Date:
Hardbox

Chapters 18
 

Release Information:
Studio: MYA Communication

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.35:1

Edition Details:
• Italian Theatrical Trailer (2:37)
• US Theatrical Trailer (2:21)
• US Teaser Trailer (1:01)
• English Opening and Closing Credits (5:3;3)
• Poster and Photo Gallery

 

DVD Release Date: 24 February 2009
Hardbox

Chapters 12

Release Information:
Studio: Shameless Screen Entertainment

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.34:1

Edition Details:
• Introduction by Luigi Cozzi (16:9; 0:35)
• The Art of Murder: Interview with Luigi Cozzi (16:9; 39:42)
• English Opening and Closing Credits (16:9; 4:46)
• English Trailer (16:9; 0:51)
• Italian Theatrical Trailer (16:9; 2:27)
• Still Gallery
• Start-up trailers for CEMETERY MAN (DELLAMORTE DELLAMORE), HOUSE ON THE EDGE OF THE PARK, and
• CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST

 

DVD Release Date: 30 January 2012
Amaray

Chapters 12

Release Information:
Studio: Shameless Screen Entertainment

 

1080P / 23.976 fps Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 24,173,907,648 bytes

Extended: 14,060,777,472 bytes

Theatrical: 13,892,880,384 bytes

Video Bitrate: 15.04 Mbps / 14.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:
• Introduction by Luigi Cozzi (16:9; 0:35)
• The Art of Murder: Interview with Luigi Cozzi (41:42 in 1080P)
• English Opening and Closing Credits (5:00 in 1080P)
• English Trailer (0:55 in 1080P)
• Italian Theatrical Trailer (2:35 in 1080P)
• Still Gallery
• 11 Start-up trailers (11:26 in 1080P)

 

Blu-ray Release Date: January 30th, 2012
Transparent Yellow Blu-ray Case

Chapters 12

 

Comments

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Shameless - Region FREE Blu-ray - February 12': Firstly, Eric was correct when stating that the Blu-ray used seamless-branching to show both the extras scenes and the version without. The included four inserts of previously missing footage are known amongst Argento fans as the 'legendary missing forty seconds' (the inserts are in Standard-Definition quality). The rest of the quality of both transfers is identical.  Unfortunately, being single-layered - we get a modest bitrate and it doesn't advance as much over the SD as some might have hoped. There is reported to be restoration of all individual damaged frames, most notably with respect to the removal of the black diagonal frame line (caused by the film jumping the high speed camera gate) in the final car crash sequence. Shameless should be commended here but I think the film 1080P transfer would have benefitted notably more by dual-layering. There is less noise and more grain than on the DVD and, without being overly critical, this HD looks decent in-motion.

We get the original English audio remastered in DTS-HD Master stereo at 744 kbps from the original magnetic soundtrack and available for the first time since the film's original theatrical opening in the 1970s. The Italian is also lossless in a similar DTS-HD Master transfer and Dolby mono tracks for both languages. There are optional subtitles (see sample) for captions and the Italian audio and the disc is region FREE - playable on Blu-ray machines world-wide.

Extras duplicate the Shameless DVD (as discussed by Eric below) but are now without PAL speedup and are all in 1080P.

Despite the lack of dual-layering I think this Blu-ray package still has strong value for Argento fans. It's an important release that is very appealing to the director's niche.

Gary W. Tooze

***

ON THE DVDs: Shameless' progressive, anamorphic transfer utilizes the same HD master as the American MYA DVD; however, Shameless have utilized SD inserts to replace a little less than a minute of missing tops and tails of scenes. The replacement inserts appear to be from the same or a similar master as that used for the likely unauthorized German disc with some additional color correction (the letterboxing changes during these sequences to roughly 2.70:1, wider than the 2.53:1 German transfer, but the framing is nearly the same). The Blu-ray edition will reportedly use branching to allow the film to be viewed with or without these inserts. Shameless also claim to have digitally repaired some damaged frames, and this includes the removal of the frame line occasionally visible during the climactic special effects because the 3000 fps high speed camera operated without sprockets (purists may have preferred that this was retained). The English mono audio is cleaner than the track on the MYA and Retrofilm discs (where shifts in quality are far more distracting, and the MYA disc had pitch issues).

The MYA disc had English subtitles for the Italian scenes not included in the English dub (but not for the Italian text and signs), while Shameless offers two English subtitles tracks (one for the full Italian track, and one for the Italian-only scenes and text listening to the English track). The master has Italian opening and closing titles, but the English opening and closing credits are included in the extras. The English opening credits have been reconstructed, so they cut between the cleaner new master and the window-boxed, lesser quality shots whenever there is a credit onscreen. The "English Trailer" is a new creation - closing with the Shameless logo - and not one of the effective Paramount trailers or teasers.

Luigi Cozzi provides a forty minute interview about his first collaboration with Dario Argento. He admits that they conceived of the murders first, and then the story in which they were to take place. The mosquito scene was a reference to Raymond Chandler's novel "The Little Sister" where it was a buzzing fly (but Leone had gotten to it first with the opening of ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST), while another setpiece references Truffaut's STOLEN KISSES (Cozzi also paid hommage to Truffaut in his own giallo THE KILLER MUST KILL AGAIN). Another is said to reference Cornell Woolrich, at which point Sergio Martino shows up to point out the similarities in the sequence to his earlier giallo THE STRANGE VICE OF SIGNORA WARDH (also from Shameless), although Cozzi denies this. He also points out that the Godfrey character comes from Frederic Brown's novel THE SCREAMING MIMI (the plot of which heavily influenced THE BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE). He cites his love of science fiction as to the increasing appearance of fantastical elements in Argento's subsequent films (although he does not talk about the "bad omen" dream sequence). Cozzi also goes into detail about the special effects sequences. Carlo Rambaldi constructed the retina-reading machine, and a 600 fps 16mm camera was used to photograph the travail of a bullet while a 3000 fps 35mm camera was used to photograph the climactic crash scene. He spends the last ten minutes or so talking about he cast (Michael York was originally signed for the lead [John Lennon was rumored as another contender, but Cozzi confirms that his name was mentioned but never really considered a possibility) and the score (Deep Purple was originally contracted to do the score, but the addition of a French editor after Argento's regular editor Franco Fraticelli quit meant that they needed an Italian composer for quota purposes). Cozzi also did some second unit work when Argento's producer father vetoed him taking his crew back to Milan to get some additional subway shots (the film creates a fictional Italian city by combining Milan, Turin, and Rome [including the EUR district which was prominently featured in Argento's TENEBRE as representative of a futuristic, depopulated Italy]). Cozzi also provides a 35 second introduction to the film (in English).

About the MYA disc: MYA communications have brought this clandestine Argento flic to digital that fans have been patiently awaiting. Detail is fair - not pristine. I understand there is less than a minute of the film 'missing' through damage not censorship. There is some good news - the disc is progressive, anamorphic and dual-layered - it is also fairly clean. While probably maximizing the extent of SD-DVD the image is quite acceptable and supports the film well.

On the audio front - although we have original Italian in 2.0 channel - there are no subtitles - in place is an English DUB (also 2.0 channel) but near the end of the film there is some dialogue that has not been dubbed and it has forced English subtitles. All-in-all a little strange. The DUB, quirky at times, added to the kitsch of the film's appeal.

Extras with nothing of strong significance do include trailers, an English opening and closing of the credits and a poster/photo gallery.

Argento fans and completists will flock to this in droves. It's another of his unique style classics - his deft signature marking segments and the MYA DVD does an adequate job of presenting the film. It is very worth seeing for those keen on the genre.

 - Eric Cotenas

 


Menus
(Retrofilm - Region 0 - PAL - LEFT vs. MYA Communication - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE vs. Shameless Screen Entertainment - Region 0 - PAL - RIGHT)


 

 

 

Shameless Screen Entertainment - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 


 

Subtitle Sample - Blu-ray

 

 

 

Screen Captures

 

1) Retrofilm - Region 0 - PAL - TOP

2) MYA Communication - Region 0 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Shameless Screen Entertainment - Region 0 - PAL - THIRD

4) Shameless Screen Entertainment - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Retrofilm - Region 0 - PAL - TOP

2) MYA Communication - Region 0 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Shameless Screen Entertainment - Region 0 - PAL - THIRD

4) Shameless Screen Entertainment - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Retrofilm - Region 0 - PAL - TOP

2) MYA Communication - Region 0 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Shameless Screen Entertainment - Region 0 - PAL - THIRD

4) Shameless Screen Entertainment - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Retrofilm - Region 0 - PAL - TOP

2) MYA Communication - Region 0 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Shameless Screen Entertainment - Region 0 - PAL - THIRD

4) Shameless Screen Entertainment - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Retrofilm - Region 0 - PAL - TOP

2) MYA Communication - Region 0 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Shameless Screen Entertainment - Region 0 - PAL - THIRD

4) Shameless Screen Entertainment - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Retrofilm - Region 0 - PAL - TOP

2) MYA Communication - Region 0 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Shameless Screen Entertainment - Region 0 - PAL - THIRD

4) Shameless Screen Entertainment - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Retrofilm - Region 0 - PAL - TOP

2) MYA Communication - Region 0 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Shameless Screen Entertainment - Region 0 - PAL - THIRD

4) Shameless Screen Entertainment - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


 

Report Card:

 

Image:

Blu-ray

Sound:

Blu-ray

Extras: Shameless / Blu-ray

 
Box Covers

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Retrofilm

Region 0 - PAL

MYA Communication
Region 0 - NTSC
Shameless Screen Entertainment
Region 0 - PAL
Shameless Screen Entertainment
Region FREE -
Blu-ray


 




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