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4 mosche di velluto grigio (1971)

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A musician is stalked by an unknown killer who's blackmailing him for an accidential killing of another stalker. But is everything what it appears to be?

Director:

Dario Argento

Writers:

Dario Argento (story), Luigi Cozzi (story) | 3 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Brandon ... Roberto Tobias
Mimsy Farmer ... Nina Tobias
Jean-Pierre Marielle ... Gianni Arrosio (as Jean Pierre Marielle)
Aldo Bufi Landi Aldo Bufi Landi ... Pathologist
Calisto Calisti Calisto Calisti ... Carlo Marosi
Marisa Fabbri ... Amelia, the Maid
Oreste Lionello ... The Professor
Fabrizio Moroni Fabrizio Moroni ... Mirko
Corrado Olmi Corrado Olmi ... Porter
Stefano Satta Flores Stefano Satta Flores ... Andrea
Laura Troschel Laura Troschel ... Maria (as Costanza Spada)
Francine Racette ... Dalia
Bud Spencer ... Diomede / Godfrey
Dante Cleri Dante Cleri ... Coffin Salesman
Guerrino Crivello Guerrino Crivello ... Rambaldi, the Neighbor
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Storyline

Roberto, a drummer in a rock band, keeps receiving weird phone calls and being followed by a mysterious man. One night he manages to catch up with his persecutor and tries to get him to talk but in the ensuing struggle he accidentally stabs him. He runs away, but he understands his troubles have just begun when the following day he receives an envelope with photos of him killing the man. Someone is killing all his friends and trying to frame him for the murders... Written by Giancarlo Cairella <vertigo@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

When the flies start to crawl, so will your flesh... See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site [Japan]

Country:

Italy | France

Language:

Italian

Release Date:

25 August 1972 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

4 Flies on Grey Velvet See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Some of the earlier cast considerations for the main role of Roberto Tobias were Terence Stamp, Michael York, Tom Courtenay, James Taylor and Ringo Starr. See more »

Crazy Credits

You have just seen Four Flies on Grey Velvet. See more »

Connections

Follows The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

Glad to Be Grey
15 March 2009 | by SJSondergaardSee all my reviews

As with the previous two entries in the unofficial Animal Trilogy, Four Flies on Grey Velvet is short on explicit gore but brimming with atmosphere and artistic ingenuity, with set-piece murders primed and mined for maximum tension. It was with this film that Argento began to cement his particular style and is something of a crucible for future ideas. The murder of Roberto's maid in a local park foreshadows John Saxon's fate in Tenebre, and with its sudden lapses in time and attempted escape through the cobwebbed space between two buildings (to a soundtrack of whispers and sighs) it also sows seeds that would flourish in Suspiria. Other visual motifs (crimson curtains, extreme close-ups, inanimate objects suddenly wielded by a seemingly maniacal camera) would be repeated or re-jigged in Deep Red, Phenomena and Opera.

Argento's original intention was to have a gay protagonist and though the character of Roberto is still open to such a reading - his victimisation being as a result of a fear of being outed (as a murderer) has obvious correlations (note also Brandon's shaggy mane v Farmer's gamine crop or the rather tame bathtub scene with Francine Racette which sees Roberto playfully seducing his mirror image) - the more overt references are passed to Jean-Pierre Marielle, who brings immense likability to a small role and whose swish factor is tempered by a steely determination to finally cracking a case. A frosty Farmer acquits herself well, though Brandon is merely okay. Argento's fascination with weird science (here ludicrous by design but ingenious in execution) gives the film its animal-themed title, and the finale boasts one of his greatest sequences - a stunning, slow-motion shot of a car impacting with the back of a lorry, which marries chillingly beautiful aesthetics to Hollywood folklore, scored with Morricone's haunting "Come un Madrigale".

Four Flies is a solid giallo and an important entry in the Director's canon which bears repeated viewing, blurring gender roles and sexual identity, adding subtext and hit and miss humour, asylum flashbacks, well-executed deaths and a recurring nightmare in the form of a sun-bleached, public beheading - the significance of which turns out to be twofold. It also has in spades what a good Argento giallo conveys like no other, that chilling feeling of something wholly alien on the loose in human form.


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