IMDb > The 4th Man (1983)
De vierde man
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The 4th Man (1983) More at IMDbPro »De vierde man (original title)

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Gerard Reve (novel)
Gerard Soeteman (writer)
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Release Date:
24 March 1983 (Netherlands) See more »
Christine is young, beautiful and rich. Her three husbands all died tragically. It's time for Christine to find her fourth man.
A man who has been having visions of an impending danger begins an affair with a woman who may lead him to his doom. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
4 wins & 2 nominations See more »
(29 articles)
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User Reviews:
Surreal, atmospheric, coolly erotic thriller with shades of hidden depth See more (45 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Jeroen Krabbé ... Gerard Reve

Renée Soutendijk ... Christine Halsslag

Thom Hoffman ... Herman
Dolf de Vries ... Dr. de Vries
Geert de Jong ... Ria
Hans Veerman ... Begrafenisondernemer
Hero Muller ... Josefs
Caroline de Beus ... Adrienne

Reinout Bussemaker ... Eerste echtgenoot
Erik J. Meijer ... Tweede echtgenoot
Ursul de Geer ... Derde echtgenoot
Filip Bolluyt ... Surfer
Hedda Lornie ... Verkoopster boekhandel
Paul Nygaard ... Violist
Guus van der Made ... Treinkelner
Pamela Teves ... Verpleegster
Hella Faassen ... Vrouw bij lezing
Helen Hedy ... Verkoopster AKO

Directed by
Paul Verhoeven 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Gerard Reve  novel
Gerard Soeteman  writer

Produced by
Rob Houwer .... producer
Original Music by
Loek Dikker 
Cinematography by
Jan de Bont 
Film Editing by
Ine Schenkkan 
Art Direction by
Roland de Groot 
Costume Design by
Elly Claus 
Makeup Department
Patrick de Loor .... hair stylist
Kathy Kühne .... hair stylist
Kathy Kühne .... makeup artist
Christopher Tucker .... special makeup effects artist
Production Management
Remmelt Remmelts .... production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Jindra Markus .... assistant director
Art Department
Strengholt Laurens .... props
Sound Department
Meep Mulder .... re-recording mixer
Ad Roest .... adr mixer
Ad Roest .... foley mixer
Ad Roest .... sound re-recording mixer
Tom Tholen .... sound recordist
Tom Tholen .... sound
Math van Duurling .... sound recordist
Math van Duurling .... sound recordist: effects and atmosphere
Special Effects by
Harry Wiesenhaan .... special effects supervisor (as Harrie Wiessenhaan)
Dickey Beer .... stunt coordinator
Camera and Electrical Department
Tom Erisman .... lighting technician
Hugo Van Baren .... key grip
Other crew
Frank Herrebout .... production assistant
Marjan Taconis .... location manager
Jelte Velzen .... assistant to producer
Ineke van Wezel .... assistant to producer

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"De vierde man" - Netherlands (original title)
"The Fourth Man" - International (English title) (imdb display title), UK (imdb display title)
See more »
102 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.66 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

The front of the deadly Bellevue Hotel where the ¨fourth¨ room is located seems to be the Hotel Des Indes located La Haya.See more »
Continuity: When Gerard and Herman go back to the convertible after a rainstorm, the car's interior is dry.See more »
Gerard Reve, Herman:[are confronted with a sudden shower]
Herman:Damn weather!
Gerard Reve:[yelling and pointing to trees] There!
Gerard Reve, Herman:[ran to the trees]
Herman:We all get soaked!
Gerard Reve:That one's open!
Gerard Reve, Herman:In that tomb?
Gerard Reve:Dead men don't bite, only live ones do.
Gerard Reve, Herman:[going inside]
Herman:[got licked by Gerard and turns towards him] Do you want to get hit?
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Zwartboek: The Special (2006) (V)See more »


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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful.
Surreal, atmospheric, coolly erotic thriller with shades of hidden depth, 18 March 2008
Author: Graham Greene from United Kingdom

Well known for being something of a run-through for the infamous Basic Instinct (1992), The Fourth Man (1983) remains one of maverick director Paul Verhoeven's greatest works. Like Basic Instinct, The Fourth Man blends sex and death in a delicious cocktail of mystery, suspense and exaggerated imagery; telling a story of seduction and paranoia through the eyes and mind of an unreliable narrator. In this instance, Gerard Reve; an alcoholic writer of lurid pulp fiction, who in the film's subtle and darkly sardonic opening sequence, staggers out of bed, naked and hung-over, and - in a scene of quiet confusion and matter of fact precision - garrottes his homosexual lover to the point of asphyxiation. Right from the start, Verhoeven is skilfully introducing those aforementioned themes of sex and death, as well as establishing the air of incredibly dark humour, symbolism and that sense of blurring the lines between fact and fiction to near incomprehensible levels of uncertainty, all of which will permeate the film's very core.

Verhoeven has often claimed that the somewhat skewed, surreal and heavily atmospheric look and feel of the film was purposely stylised to an almost obvious degree in order to placate the high-brow Dutch film critics who had, at that particular time in his career, dismissed previous films such as Keetje Tippel (1975) and Spetters (1980) as lurid sensationalism. Whether or not this is the case is open to debate, but what most impresses here is Verhoeven's energy and skill in presenting such a taut and labyrinthine thriller that seems to draw as much on the surreal and coolly evocative psychodrama of a filmmaker like Ingmar Bergman as it does on the twisted world of Alfred Hitchcock. From beginning to end, The Fourth Man offers old fashioned suspense and bold strokes of drama, all contrasted and juxtaposed against the director's moody, European style and liberal bursts of violence and eroticism. The design of the film - rich with over-saturated light and colour, shades of autumn and lingering camera movements - suggest a world hinged somewhere between the noir-like stylisation of Bernardo Bertolucci's The Conformist (1970) and the vibrant, lurid surrealism of Dario Argento's Suspiria (1977), to add further depths to the already densely layered mystery, and to create a world that seems real, but at the same time, entirely dreamlike.

The film works on a number of levels; on the one-hand, as a piece of pure entertainment, with Verhoeven's always memorable use of imagery - both grotesque and beautiful - and his scenes of upfront and often confrontational violence and sexuality. The film is as much about sexuality and desire as it is about sex; with Gerard introduced initially as gay, though he later has an affair with the central femme-fatale, but only after he has flattened her small breasts with his hands and confessed that she "looks like a boy". Later in the film he will seduce the fiancé of this character and again raise questions pertaining to the film's central enigma. In the most telling scene, Gerard attends a Q&A session for his new book. When someone in the audience asks him about his secret for writing, Gerard replies "I lie the truth". Perhaps a poor subtitle translation, but the implication that Gerard sees the world through a somewhat false perspective is certainly there; with the further elements of alcoholism, sexual confusion, lust and paranoia creating a fascinating central character, quite possibly creating the story in his mind as it moves along.

There are Hitchcockian allusions as noted, with the cold, blonde femme-fatale person represented by Christine, who has an air of subtle menace and great sexuality. Is Gerard seducing her or is she seducing Gerard, and just why have three of her past husbands turned up dead in recent years? Is Gerard imagining all of this? Is he genuinely interested in Christine, or is he more interested in getting closer to the man in her life? Are his reasons purely sexual or are they a further fuelled by his lurid obsessions with death? Questions like this crop up constantly with The Fourth Man, with Verhoeven denying the audience easy answers and instead plunging headlong into surreal visions of rotting eyeballs, strung-up meat carcasses, puddles of blood and the juxtaposition of homoerotic yearning with Christ-like metaphors. There's also a continual use of black-widow symbolism apparent right from the start, as well as all the elements coming together at the end in a sort of tragic foreshadowing of events. Even then, do we believe Gerard and his wild accusations, or is this just another example of the alcoholic, over-sexed writer "lying the truth" for the purposes of fiction.

The Fourth Man is a film that I haven't seen in a long time, but its images and story have always stayed with me. On my initial viewing in 2001, my familiarity with Verhoeven was based purely on his satirical Hollywood pictures, principally Robocop (1986), Total Recall (1991) and Starship Troopers (1997). I was also fairly unfamiliar with European cinema in general, meaning that the film's bold scenes of both straight and gay sex, nudity and imagined (or are they?) scenes of surreal, sexualised violence were a real revelation. A few years later I returned to the film and found it just as fascinating; with the labyrinthine plot, moody visuals, bold performances and totally entrancing story and character drawing me in; offering a great central mystery that is visually captivating and rife with a myriad of potential interpretations. It's easy to say that The Fourth Man is one of my favourite films; filled with cool irony, controversial images and ideas, and a completely fascinating, dreamlike evocation of the story at hand.

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