That’s right, it’s Four Flies on Grey Velvet. This particular order actually came from Xploited Cinema, not D&T. I ordered a second copy for two reasons. First of all, my impatient side got the better of me and I decided that I wanted to order from a supplier that had a courier shipping option, to ensure that it reached me before Christmas. Secondly, there was at one point a rumour doing the rounds that D&T had already sold their entire allocated stock and wouldn’t be getting any more, so I decided to hedge my bets and order from a supplier which had already stated that it would be getting a decent number of copies. As it turns out, my D&T order shipped only slightly after the Xploited one, but all that this means is that I’ll have an extra copy to pass on to a lucky duck… for a price, of course.
You’re probably looking for my opinion on the quality of this release, and I’ll start out by categorically stating what it is not. It is not, by any means, a bells and whistles, zim-zam, whizz-bang, no holds barred restoration of the film. The materials used, an English language print (presumably theatrical), show no small amount of wear and tear, with speckles, scratches and tramlines visible for the duration of its running time. The colours and black level are also inconsistent, with several scenes looking overly pink and the overall saturation level seeming too high most of the time. Additionally, given that the English language print is a few minutes shorter than its Italian counterpart, some material has been spliced in from a VHS source, and at these points the quality is much poorer than the rest of the film (although still, by my estimation, an improvement on the two bootlegs I own). A handful of other minor flaws, including the title card being misplaced (it appears at the very start of the film here, rather than in its proper place after Michael Brandon, Mimsy Farmer and Jean-Pierre Marielle’s names have been displayed), and the occasional instance of the entire frame floating slightly too high or low, resulting in the top or bottom of the next frame being visible, show that this is release is very much rough around the edges.
With all that on board, let’s move on to the positives, and luckily, there are many. Although the detail is far from spectacular, I’ll be absolutely honest and say that it compares favourably to many giallo releases I’ve seen from Blue Underground and NoShame in terms of overall sharpness, and it exhibits none of the obvious edge enhancement that the former go in for. Provided you lower your explanations slightly and don’t expect a flawless, crystal clear image, I can’t imagine you being disappointed by this release, which is by far the best the film has ever looked outside of an actual cinema. The sound is not bad either - noticeably strained, but once again a lot better than my previous copies. You can actually see and hear what is going on throughout, particularly in the second half of the film, which, in many copies, was virtually incomprehensible due to it being so dark and fuzzy.
I’ll be doing an in-depth comparison between this and the two other releases I own before too long, in addition to a fully-fledged review (this, The Five Days of Milan, Jenifer and Mother of Tears are the only Argento films about which I have yet to write in depth), but for the time being, feast your eyes on these screen captures: