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THE 10TH VICTIM (BLU RAY) (1965)
Published by David Carter on 2012/3/1 (297 reads)
Directed by Elio Petri
Review by David Carter
Released by Blue Underground
Running Time: 92 minutes
Rating: Not Rated
Color format: Color
Audio/Subtitles: 2.0 DTS-HD Mono English or Italian/English, French, and Spanish Subtitles
Region Code: 1, NTSC
Aspect Ratio: Widescreen 1.85:1
16:9 Enhanced: Yes
Special Features: Still galleries, “Marcello: a Sweet Life” film.
Trailer Online: Yes
Short Version: Swinging Italian vision of the future
Cinema has given us many visions of the future over the years and, if they are to be believed, it doesn’t look good for us. The vast majority of films present a dystopian future, and the only thing filmmakers appear to disagree on is the severity. Starting with Fritz Lang’s 1927 silent masterpiece METROPOLIS and continuing through 2012’s upcoming THE HUNGER GAMES, we see that the idea that our future isn’t bright has been with us for almost a century’s worth of films and, indeed, the canon of post-apocalyptic/dystopian cinema is a large subgenre and many of the films contained therein are considered classics.
Maybe it isn’t all bad, however. Elio Petri’s THE 10TH VICTIM has many of the common themes of dystopian cinema and presents a future that is certainly different, but not the horrific nightmare worlds we’re used to seeing. Set in what would now be the present day, THE 10TH VICTIM takes place in a world where war is a thing of the past, having been replaced by “The Big Hunt.” The Big Hunt pits an international group of “hunters” and “victims” against one another in a competition that is part Olympics, part THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME. The hunters are given a dossier on their victim -- who knows they are being hunted, but not the identity of the hunter -- and whoever survives the hunt wins the prize money. The Big Hunt is used to settle international conflicts and serves as the world’s most popular form of entertainment.
Two of the Hunt’s most popular participants are the beautiful American Caroline Meredith (Ursula Andress) and the suave, nihilistic Italian Marcello Poletti (Marcello Mastroianni). Meredith is hunting Poletti and since he would her tenth victim, she’s been approached by the Ming Tea Company to make a good show of it so they can turn it into a television special. To be able to lure Poletti to a suitable location for television, she poses as a journalist looking to write a story on Italian men. Seeing as how Poletti is a typical Italian lothario, he knows he’d make the perfect subject and therefore initially doesn’t see through Meredith’s ruse. He eventually becomes suspicious, however, and soon he and Meredith are playing a cat-and-mouse game, but using their brains instead of guns. As the battle of wits grows more intense, Meredith and Poletti find themselves in an unexpected predicament: falling in love.
THE 10TH VICTIM is a charming slice of the “swinging sixties” that functions primarily as a star vehicle for Mastroianni and Andress. The film is quite slow at times, opting to focus on the stars’ admittedly impressive attire and respective good looks rather than to progress the story. This can be frustrating, but the lead duo’s chemistry and charisma make it tolerable. This is a fun, lighthearted film; odd, considering the subject matter. The overall theme of the work is to compare the back-and-forth dance of romance to a hunter and his prey and, though set in the future, contains nice satirical commentary on sexual politics in the sixties.
Blue Underground’s Blu Ray of THE 10TH VICTIM looks great. The “mod” colors of the clothes and furniture pop off the screen. Those of you who can’t get enough of Mastroianni will enjoy the documentary on him included as a bonus feature. It should technically be considered a second feature; it’s as long as THE 10TH VICTIM is. This is a fun little movie that is under most people’s radar. Check it out if you’re interested in romance, a little bit of sci-fi, beautiful Italian scenery, and Ursula Andress killing people with her bra.
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