The 4th Man (1983)
"De vierde man" (original title)

Unrated  |   |  Drama, Mystery, Thriller  |  24 March 1983 (Netherlands)
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A man who has been having visions of an impending danger begins an affair with a woman who may lead him to his doom.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Dolf de Vries ...
Dr. de Vries
Geert de Jong ...
Hans Veerman ...
Hero Muller ...
Caroline de Beus ...
Eerste echtgenoot
Erik J. Meijer ...
Tweede echtgenoot
Ursul de Geer ...
Derde echtgenoot
Filip Bolluyt ...
Hedda Lornie ...
Verkoopster boekhandel
Paul Nygaard ...
Guus van der Made ...


The morbid Catholic writer Gerard Reve who is bisexual, alcoholic and has frequent visions of death is invited to give a lecture in the literature club of Vlissingen. While in the railway station in Amsterdam, he feels attracted to a handsome man who embarks on another train. Gerard is introduced to the treasurer of the club and beautician Christine Halsslag, a wealthy widow who owns the Spider beauty shop, and they engage in a one night stand. On the next morning, Gerard sees the picture of Christine's boyfriend Herman and recognizes him as the man he saw in the train station. He urges her to bring Herman to her house to spend a couple of days together, but with the secret intention of seducing the man. Christine travels to Köln to bring her boyfriend and Gerard stays alone in her house. He drinks whiskey and snoops through her safe, finding three film reels with names of men; he decides to watch the footage and discovers that Christine had married each; all of whom died in tragic ... Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil revised by S. Alan Fann, N. Decatur, GA USA

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Christine is young, beautiful and rich. Her three husbands all died tragically. It's time for Christine to find her fourth man.


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Release Date:

24 March 1983 (Netherlands)  »

Also Known As:

The 4th Man  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


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Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?


Paul Verhoeven:  [religious imagery]  Gerard's visions include seeing the object of his lust being portrayed as a crucified Jesus, the loincloth replaced by a pair of speedos. The lady in the blue robe represents the Holy Mary, and in the train scene, she is holding an apple skin over her little boy's head as if it were a halo. The opening credits also feature the symbolic image of a spider crawling over a crucifix. See more »


At the beginning of the movie, as Gerard is getting out of bed, the boom mic is visible in a mirror behind him. See more »


Gerard ReveHerman: [are confronted with a sudden shower]
Herman: Damn weather!
Gerard Reve: [yelling and pointing to trees] There!
Gerard ReveHerman: [ran to the trees]
Herman: We all get soaked!
Gerard Reve: That one's open!
Gerard ReveHerman: In that tomb?
Gerard Reve: Dead men don't bite, only live ones do.
Gerard ReveHerman: [going inside]
Herman: [got licked by Gerard and turns towards him] Do you want to get hit?
See more »


Referenced in De Sylvia Millecam Show: De Beer is los See more »

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User Reviews

Stylish, challenging and intriguing
21 December 2004 | by (Beverley Hills, England) – See all my reviews

Paul Verhoeven's predecessor to his breakout hit 'Basic Instinct' is a stylish and shocking neo-noir thriller. Verhoeven has become known for making somewhat sleazy trash films, both in his native Holland and in America and this film is one of the reasons why. The Fourth Man follows the strange story of Gerard Reve (played by Jeroen Krabbé); a gay, alcoholic and slightly mad writer who goes to Vlissingen to give a talk on the stories he writes. While there, he meets the seductive Christine Halsslag (Renée Soutendijk) who takes him back to her house where he discovers a handsome picture of one of her lovers and proclaims that he will meet him, even if it kills him.

Paul Verhoeven twists the truth many times in this film, and that ensures that you never quite know where you are with it. Many of the occurrences in The Fourth Man could be what they appear to be, but they could easily be interpreted as something else entirely and this keeps the audience on the edge of their seats for the duration, and also makes the film work as this narrative is what it thrives on. Paul Verhoeven is not a filmmaker that feels he has to restrain himself, and that is one of things I like best about him. This film features a very shocking scene that made me feel ill for hours afterwards (and that doesn't happen very often!). I wont spoil it because it needs the surprise element to work...but you'll see what I mean when you see the film (make sure you get the uncut version!). There is also a number of other macabre scenes that are less shocking than the one I've mentioned, but are lovely nonetheless; a man gets eaten by lions, another one has a pipe sent through his skull, a boat is smashed in half...lovely.

The acting in The Fourth Man isn't anything to write home about, but it's solid throughout. Jeroen Krabbé holds the audience's attention and looks the part as the drunken writer. It is Renée Soutendijk that impresses the most, though, as the femme fatale at the centre of the tale. Her performance is what Sharon Stone would imitate nine years later with Basic Instinct, but the original fatale did it best. Paul Verhoeven's direction is solid throughout as he directs our attention through numerous points of view, all of which help to create the mystery of the story. Verhoeven has gone on to make some rubbish, but he obviously has talent and it's a shame that he doesn't put it to better use. Of all the Verhoeven films I've seen, this is the best and although it might be difficult to come across; trust me, it's worth the effort.

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