A campy futuristic tale where people hunt one another for sport. In this film, Victim and Hunter run around Italy trying to score a kill in front of the movie crews they arranged so they could make commercials from the footage.
In the near future, violence is controlled in societies avoiding wars. Killing is allowed to violent individuals in a game called Big Hunt where the participants are alternatively Hunter or Victim. The winner of each round is awarded with a prize and the survivor after ten rounds, wins one million dollar award (in 1965). When the American huntress Caroline Meredith completes her ninth round, she comes to Rome to kill her tenth victim. She negotiates with the sponsor Ming Tea Company to kill his victim in front of the cameras. The cynical Marcello Poletti is her target and has just succeeded in his marriage annulment with Lidia but has not disclosed to his lover Olga. Marcello suspects that Caroline is his hunter, but is not sure; further he falls in love with her and he is reluctant to kill her.
In 1965 this edgy Italian film (a/k/a La decima vittima) inspired by Hugo and Nebula nominated American "science fiction" writer Robert Sheckley's 1953 short story in Galaxy Magazine, "The Seventh Victim" (that title having already been taken in films by a successful 1943 thriller, the ante was upped for this version), seemed outrageous and challenging in its assertion of our desensitization to death and passing reference to age issues (more fully developed in 1965's LOGAN'S RUN (in turn based on William F. Nolan & George Clayton Johnson's 1957 science fiction novel). So successful was the stylish film of his short story that Sheckley himself published a full novelization of THE 10TH VICTIM in 1966.
Most "stylish" examinations of a future "strangely like our own only cooler" date faster than yesterday's fish, but with the long overdue 2009 DVD release of the film, it's amazing how still up to date and modern this violent romantic comedy (from some angles it is a thriller, but a thriller raised to new levels because of a wicked sense of humor) actually seems - although in 1965 the film makers could not imagine an Italy that allowed divorce or an economy so bad that a million dollars would seem like a million lire.
The Piero Piccioni jazz score still dazzles - if an adapter could find a "live" equivalent for the cinematic finale to the movie (the film's weakest point) this could be the basis for a great modern musical. Cinematographer Gianni Di Venanzo's use of New York (the ruins of the old Penn Station and the World Trade Center construction site) and Rome (the Colosseum, Temple of Venus among other sites) ground the story while setting up its eroticism for the performances Director Elio Petri gets from a uniformly wonderful cast.
It isn't just the iconic first murder Ursula Andress pulls off during the credits (as Jacques Herlin recites "The Rules" of The Big Hunt) with her killer brassiere, it's the shrewd juxtaposition of the "computer matched" hunter and victims and social issues that are a constant undercurrent and overlay in the film as we watch Andress and Marcello Mastroianni perform their particular humorously over-planned dance of death. We're not long into this delicious film before we realize how it set up and surpassed all the so called "reality shows" polluting television today. "Voting someone off the island" or "out of the house" or "off a "talent" competition" is just another form of The Big Hunt" with all of us guiltily salivating at the vicarious "thrill of victory and agony of defeat."
As well as the film itself holds up, there's a second layer of interest on the film for those willing to go beyond the usually preferable UNdubbed version (the performances in the original Italian are wonderful). If you turn on the fine English language subtitles AND the unusually well done English language DUBBED soundtrack on the DVD, it's fascinating to note that they don't match! Sometimes the literal translation of the subtitles is dramatically better, but surprising frequency, the dubbing script - geared to fit as tightly as possible to the movement of the actor's lips - is superior. Taking both in enjoying the subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) differences actually improves an already wonderfully layered film.
This is a must see for discerning fans of classic science fiction, romantic comedy or just plain intelligent film making and story telling willing to go beyond the "usual." This is a quite unique and special movie to watch. It has a great premise and visual style to it. which make this movie an overall pleasant watch.
It really sounds weird on paper; An Italian '60's science-fiction production. It all sounds like an odd and unlikely combination but that's why "La decima vittima" also becomes such a special and unique watch.
It's a science-fiction movie but futuristic would perhaps be a better word to describe it. It's set in the near future but the movie isn't featuring any weird gadgets or anything like that really. It's more a movie that is being futuristic with its visual look, so purely its sets and costumes as well as with its story of course.
The movie is still foremost a satire on modern entertainment and once you understand that, this movie will be an even better and easier one to start appreciating. The concept of the movie is that people in the near future hunt and kill each other for pleasure, in a sort of a game, in which both the victim and hunter get notified about their participation. With all of the themes this movie is handling, it seemed like this movie was at least 20 years ahead of time. It could had been made just as easily in the '80's but also in this modern day and age it would had still been a relevant movie to have been made and released.
It remains still kind of an odd movie to watch, due to its uncommon approach of storytelling and the fact that the movie is often taken a more artistic approach. It therefore isn't always an easy movie to watch, though as a whole the movie still remains a perfectly accessible one.
I only wished the entire movie would had been as good and interesting as its first couple of minutes. I still feel that the movie now instead has some missed opportunities in it and definitely the middle of the movie is being kind of stretched out, slow and not all that interesting.
Visually the movie really doesn't disappoint though. It's using lots of bright color, great looking sets and costumes, all typical for '60's movies and some nicely directed sequences, that are all set up very well and with an obvious eye for detail. Elio Petri did a good directing job with this movie.
It's visually also pleasing to see Ursula Andress in this. It's also a real big role for her and it's good to see she isn't just playing a bit part for a change and also isn't just purely cast as a sex symbol. She adds a lot to this movie and perhaps even mostly carries it.
An unique- and overall pretty good watch.
http://bobafett1138.blogspot.com/ The movie was filmed in Italian, and English dubbing was added in later. The subtitles match the original Italian dialogue, not the English dubbing. 646f9e108c
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