Four Flies on Grey Velvet

Last in Dario Argento’s animal trilogy series.

“4 mosche di velluto grigio” aka “Four Flies on Grey Velvet” (1972) remained lost to home video until a 2009 DVD release by MYA Communications.  A pivotal extended scene (cut for American audiences) has been restored.

PLOT.  A musician (Michael Brandon as Roberto Tobias) is seen stabbing a man to death in a theater.  From the balcony, someone wearing a mask photographs the killing.  Is it a setup?  Or something more?

Four Flies on Grey Velvet (1971) – MUBI

In keeping with Argento’s previous films, nothing is as it seems.  (“The Bird with the Crystal Plumage” (1969) and “The Cat o’ 9 Tails” (1971.)

‎The Bird With the Crystal Plumage on iTunesThe Cat O' Nine Tails (Special Edition) (Blu-ray)

Roberto tells his wife what happened.  She believes he is imaging it.

Four Flies on Grey Velvet (1971)

Mimsy Farmer and Michael Brandon

Hirng a detective, (John Pierre Marielle as Gianni Arcosio), the mystery leads to a madhouse – – and flashbacks of a child being tormented by their father.

Roberto’s friend Godfrey (nicknamed “God’) loans Roberto a gun and ask if he’ll have the guts to use it.

“I’ll guess I’ll find out.”


Ennio MORRICONE - Four Flies On Grey Velvet (Soundtrack) Vinyl at Juno Records.

Soundtrack for “Four Flies on Grey Velvet”

First of all, you’ll notice an exquisite (the only word to describe it) score by Ennio Morricone.  All three of his works with Argento are a feast for the ears.  “4 Flies” is especially poignant.  During the production, director Argento and composer Morricone had a falling out.  Morricone said some of his music wasn’t being used.  This would be the end of their collaboration.

Four Flies on Grey Velvet (1971) |

Mimsy Farmer as Nina

Mimsy Farmer began as a typical MGM starlet in the 1960’s.  (Ever see “Hot Rods to Hell”?)  This is her breakthrough performance.  She is almost unrecognizable with her white-blonde shock of hair and trimmer figure.  If you’ve never seen this movie, you’re in for the surprise of your life.

The pacing of this film is unsettling.  “4 Flies” isn’t as smooth as the two previous films, deliberately so.  This, along with the stark imagery, grainy 70’s look and that unmistakable Giallo-Argento feeling make this an experience that is lacking among current cinema.

Four Flies on Grey Velvet (1971) |

As for the grand finale, a brief comment.  When your in a near-death experience, everything slows down.  Is it true?  It is.

The Cathode Ray Mission: Hump Day Posters: Four Flies on Grey Velvet (1971)

Alternate poster for “4 Flies on Grey Velvet”

Four Flies on Grey Velvet (1971) - Posters — The Movie Database (TMDB)

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