The 10th Victim

Dir: Elio Petri
Starring: Marcello Mastroianni, Ursula Andress, Elsa Martinelli, Massimo Serato

Based on a story by Robert Sheckley, this 1965 movie is set in a future where war is extinct; to get rid of aggressive impulses, a game is created, pitting two contestants against each other in a hunt to the death. The two here are American huntress Andress, who brings nine kills and a TV crew, against prey Mastroianni, who has home advantage and designer sunglasses. Inevitably, they fall in love, but the audience realise this much quicker than they do, and has to sit through a bunch of very dull pseudo-flirting. The social satire is much more effective; the participants' main concerns are getting a ratings-friendly location and negotiating product placement deals, topics even more relevant in these days of manafactured pseudo-news and celebrity endorsements. As with Series 7, there's little insight into either the culture (the world otherwise seems absolutely normal), or why the participants take part, though there's mention of a million dollar prize for surviving ten rounds, and fame as well. Nor is the action anything to write home about, despite a first kill that uses gadgetry which would seem to have escaped from Q's laboratory - more of that kind of invention would have been welcome. There's apparently a remake in the works (Zeta-Jones replacing Andress), and you can see why, as this film has a bunch of potential. Shame so much of it was thrown away in a welter of 60's fashion and cliche.


Funny peculiar, certainly...
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