Plot: What’s it about?
This film centers on one issue, but since the issue is seen from four different perspectives, the premise is anything but simple. In this approach (which gives a nod to Akira Kurosawa’s classic Rashomon), we see the event in question through the eyes of multiple people, each of which has their own take on just what happened. Gianni (Brett Halsey) and Tina (Daniela Giordano) were on a date, had some good times, and then returned back to her apartment to close out the evening. We know the basics of what happened later on that night, but just how and why this happened is unknown. It is a fact that Gianni and Tina had sexual intercourse, but whether or not it was mutually agreed upon is another matter. Gianni has some marks on his forehead and Tina’s dress has torn, but just how these things happened, we are unsure. But of course, Tina has her side of the evening and Gianni has his, but they’re not the only ones who have a spin. But out of all these people and their versions of the truth, which one, if any, is the actual truth of what happened that night?
I’m always pleased to add another volume to my collection of Mario Bava films, but this one takes a special place in that section. Bava’s films are usually dark horror movies loaded with atmosphere and gore, but Four Times That Night is nothing like that. Here we can see Bava at work outside the genre and of course, he delivers the goods and then some. The film uses some basic premise elements from Kurosawa’s Rashomon (as I mentioned above), but I think this one takes a trek down a much different path. Where Rashomon is very serious, Four Times That Night has more bounce and seems more energetic. Now I think Rashomon is a superior overall film by far, but this one is no slouch either. The storylines seem distinct and well placed, never muddled or strewn together in haphazard form. I know some might wonder how well Bava could handle a film this complex, but once you’ve seen the film, you’ll never doubt the man again. I give this film my recommendation, but since the film isn’t for us all, I think a rental is a good option for all first timers.
When you mention the name Mario Bava, most people will think of horror films and with good reason. Bava is best known for his blood laced, atmospheric efforts, which have amassed a cult following over the years and inspired genre filmmakers since. But Bava didn’t just work within the horror genre by any means, though most people wouldn’t imagine he could do other styles of cinema. This is a prime example of Bava’s skills outside of horror flicks, as this is about as opposite as you can come from that. This film is a playful, humorous sexual escapade and while it touches on the risky subject of rape, it never becomes too dark. I also love how Bava takes a gesture from Kurosawa’s Rashomon and tells this story from multiple perspectives. If you only know Bava for his horror movies, then give this film a spin and see just how versatile he can be. Other Bava films include Shock, Hatchet for the Honeymoon, The Body and The Whip, Black Sunday, and Blood and Black Lace. The cast of this film includes Daniela Giordano (Little Fires, Excite Me), Dick Randall (Supersonic Man, Living Doll), Brett Halsey (Terminal Rush, Cult of Violence), Pascale Petit (Sexy Susan Sins Again), and Brigitte Skay (The Love Factor, The Beast in Heat).
Video: How does it look?
Four Times That Night is presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. I am so pleased to own this movie on this format and with the added anamorphic treatment, I am in heaven with this disc. But there is a bad side to this coin, which is the ever present wear and tear evident on this source print. Some sequences look better than others, but all have a lot of debris and some are covered. I expected this to some degree, but I had hoped Image had done some restoration work. I think fans will be used to this, but newcomers might be put off somewhat. The colors look bright though, the hues seem bold and flesh tones come off as warm as well. No real contrast issues either, just that darn debris on the print.
Audio: How does it sound?
Image has released this film with the original Italian mono track, which should please fans to no end. All too often, we have to sit through awful overdubs on these type of movies, but this time we’ve gotten our way and it feels good. This is a mono track though, so don’t expect much and you won’t be let down. As far as mono goes, this sounds good though and since the movie doesn’t need much range, the mono seems to handle it all well. Some minor age related issues to crop up, but nothing to be too concerned with. All the elements are in order here and with the original language present, fans should be satisfied. In case you don’t speak Italian, Image has also included English subtitles.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes a talent file on Mario Bava and a brief selection of posters and photos from the film.