The Fourth Victim

The Fourth Victim

"Sometimes you have to go to terrible places to find out the truth."
Arthur Anderson (Michael Craig) is a serial monogamist... but is he also a serial killer? His first two wives died under mysterious circumstances and now his third wife is the victim of a suspicious drowning. But, thanks the perjurous testimony of his housekeeper Mrs. Downing (Miranda Campa), he is found not guilty. Despite the jury's decision, Inspector Dumphy (José Luis López Vásquez) is determined to keep an eye on Arthur. The night of his acquittal, Arthur meets a pretty trespasser named Julie (Carroll Baker) and the two are soon married after a whirlwind romance. But is Julie who she claims to be or did she have an ulterior motive for marrying a man under suspicion of three murders? Did Arthur kill his wives? And what secrets lie in the dark house down the street from the Anderson estate?  Can Inspector Dumphy find out the answers before more people are killed?

The Fourth Victim is an interesting and twisty giallo that keeps bobbing and weaving, regularly changing directions just enough to stay ahead of an audience's expectations. Not everything makes perfect sense and not all the questions are answered by the end of the movie, but it makes "giallo sense." Which is to say, it's best to enjoy the ride and not to think too hard about weather or not the sequence of events is realistic or even probable.
  • Michael Craig may look familiar if you're a fan of classic Doctor Who. He played Commodore Travers in the 1986 series "Trial of a Time Lord" opposite sixth Doctor Colin Baker.
  • The score was written by composer Piero Umiliano, who worked with Mario Bava and Umberto Lenzi, but is best known for composing the song "Mahna Mahna," made famous by The Muppets.
  • The Fourth Victim was based on a short story by J. B. Gilford, though elements bear resemblance to movies like Rebecca, Vertigo, and the Italian crime movie Amuck!, starring Barbara Bouchet.
  • Note that three of the deaths listed in the body count above occur before the action of the movie starts.
What the Hell Am I Watching?

The first thing that throws suspicion on Arthur and Mrs. Downing is that, upon finding the 3rd Mrs. Anderson's body floating in the pool, they calmly fish her out, take her upstairs, brush her hair, and change her clothes before calling a doctor or even trying to resuscitate her. And they go about it without a word, like they've done all this before. Hella-suspicious.

The first thing that throws suspicion on Julie is that she goes home to a dark, dusty mansion and is living out of a tent in the living room, with newspaper clippings about Arthur lining the walls. Super-creepy.

The Psychiatrist tracks Julie (or, at least, a Julie) to the dark house. He knows better than anyone that she is dangerous and yet he not only comes alone and unarmed, but the first thing he does is turn his back on her. Not smart, Doc.

Fashion Moment

As usual, Carroll Baker is smartly dressed throughout in crisp, modern active wear.  I especially like this fitted floral blouse...

...and her sensible wedding ensemble.

But this flowing, romantic evening gown is a real departure from her normally structured wardrobe.


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