Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Forgotten '60s movies: The 10th Victim

Where has THE TENTH VICTIM been all my life? This 1965 sci-fi fantasy has it all: glamour, pop art, great 60s soundtrack, camp to the ultimate, with great roles for Marcello, Ursula and Elsa Martinelli. Its directed by Elio Petri (who also helmed that 1969 trash classic A QUIET PLACE IN THE COUNTRY, with Vanessa Redgrave and Franco Nero - as per my previous posts on that, Trash label, and INVESTIGATION OF A CITIZEN ABOVE SUSPICION). This one is a Carlo Ponti production, scripted by Antonioni regular Tonino Guerra, among others, and its a delirious treat from start to finish - if only for watching Ursula (in that great year for her, with SHE, WHATS NEW PUSSYCAT?) in that delicious pink pantsuit or the silver bacofoil bikini with that bra that shoots bullets ... or Elsa in that pop art confection in black and white stripes. They must have had a field day making this and creating those futuristic sets and costumes. Mastroianni looks even cooler than usual with that blond hair and sunglasses ...
THE 1OTH VICTIM (La Decima Vittima):
It is the 21st Century and society's lust for violence is satisfied by The Big Hunt, an international game of legalised murder. But when the sport's top two assassins are pitted against each other, they find love is the most dangerous game of all  As the world watches, the hunt is on. Who will become the tenth victim?
THE 10TH VICTIM is the international cult classic whose wild action and sexy style has influenced a generation of movies, from THE RUNNING MAN to the AUSTIN POWERS series. It is an outrageous satire which critic Pauline Kael called "an inventive, witty sci-fi extravaganza". 
This is marvellously witty, with some stunning moments as people are hunted and eliminated, and should be up there with other 60s fantasy films like MODESTY BLAISE or DANGER DIABOLIK or the '70s' LOGAN'S RUN. Ursula is the American who is set to hunt and kill Marcello, in various great locations in New York (the World Trade Centre construction site!) and Rome - loved the helicopter ride over The Colosseum, caught perfectly by Gianni Di Venanzo's stunning photography, and the Piero Piccioni jazz score still dazzles. The Big Hunt rules as outlined during the exciting opening chase are fascinating, as we find out what hunters and hunted can and cannot do. Its like an early version of those reality shows of today and how far they will go. Will Marcello and Ursula fall in love or will they enact out the rules of the game .... 
This IMDb review (by sinistre 1111) captures it perfectly:
To judge this film by "today's standards" misses the point--what are we comparing it to? Armageddon? Scream 3? This was the European 60s vision of the 'future'-- and why didn't it turn out that way? An odd, cheeky little plot mixing romance, light sci-fi and gunplay is underscored by dazzling visuals in a similar style to The Prisoner series, or Alphaville (if it were in color). Piero Piccioni's score is pure 'Jazz 2001', and is available as an import reissue. Mastroianni is charming and Ursula Andress is at her sexiest, in an array of groovy ensembles. It all depends on what you're after, but personally I wish the WORLD LOOKED like this movie and that men's and women's fashion reflected this film's 'in the future, people will dress like this' style. Anchor Bay's DVD is a great addition to the collection of any 60s/European film fan. 

1 comment:

  1. Love this one. Only saw it for the first time last year, but really impressed me. Great film