Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Renée Soutendijk in Paul Verhoeven's "De Vierde Man" [1983 Netherlands]

Continuing the early filmography of Paul Verhoeven, "De Vierde Man" [Eng. Title: The Fourth Man] successfully crosses over into 'Noire' territory by drawing inspiration from various peers of his era, notably Hitchcock and Chabrol. He also experiments with various stylistic elements which he'd later put to use in Hollywood, like in Basic Instinct, which in fact has several parallels with this film. But I feel The Fourth Man is a much more rounded product, where the suspense and ambiguity are retained throughout the film, in fact even after the film.

Like in most of his films, the female characters are as strong and domineering as their male counterparts, and in this film, they're not just strong, but shown as having the potential to be dangerous too. Disillusioned, bisexual, and alcoholic writer Gerard is invited to a remote town to give a lecture at a literature convention. There he meets Christine, a widow and the society's Treasurer, who invites him to stay at her place for the night when he misses his last train back to Amsterdam. Gerard isn't averse to a one-night stand when it comes by, and they end up in bed together, but during the night he secretly reads one of Christine's private letters from a handsome man, who he instantly is besotted with (the letter by the way, was left deliberately on the table by Christine), and when Christine asks him to live and work with her, he readily agrees, in the hope of meeting her young lover. During his stay, he discovers that Christine had already been widowed thrice, and suspects she might have killed each of her husbands to amass wealth, and is now looking for a fourth man (hence the title). Whatever the case, it is clear both Christine and Gerard have different agenda, but who's in control, and who'll have the last say..!

This is great film with attention to detail in lighting, cinematography, and fine performances by its lead characters, not to mention the crisp editing and fine direction. As for the nude scenes, some are awesome, and the compilation below is made from my DVD. All in all a fine Verhoeven film - and therefore, Recommended Viewing..!

Renée Soutendijk in De Vierde Man

Scene Guide:
  • After asking Christine to disrobe, Gerard comments that she has the fine figure of a beautiful young man, She brings her breasts closer and asks him if she still looks like a young man. Gerard presses his hands against her breasts and spreads them apart, saying, "now you do". They are both turned on, and there's also some subtle humour when Gerard apologises for slipping out of her during sex, indicating his general preference for the rear entrance.
  • Gerard is now aware that Christine has another lover, Hermann, one that he fancies himself, and coaxes her into telling more about him, in the pretext of writing a story based on their lives. When Christine complains that Hermann comes too quickly, Gerard offers to help in that regard, and asks her to invite Hermann over so he could 'work' on his shortcomings. He plays with Christine's breasts while saying this. Christine is played by the rather dishy Dutch bombshell Renée Soutendijk.


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