Tuesday, September 15, 2009

THE 10TH VICTIM

A cult classic from the swinging sixties, Elio Petri’s THE 10TH VICTIM (1965) is a fun bit of Europop, with an intriguing sci-fi premise that has proven to be somewhat prescient in recent years.

It is the 21st century and the governments of the world have turned murder into a sporting event called The Big Hunt. Intended as a sort of pressure valve for society, volunteers sign on to hunt and be hunted by other players. Each volunteer is contracted to ten "hunts;" five as hunter and five as victim. Survivors receive huge cash prizes, and if they survive all ten hunts, they get a million bucks cash. When lovely Caroline Meredith (Ursula Andress) is pitted against Italian champion Marcello Polletti (Marcello Mastroianni) in her last hunt, she arranges to have her presumed victory televised for her corporate sponsors. Unfortunately for her, Marcello has no desire to cooperate.

An audacious mix of satire, farce, science fiction and romance, THE 10TH VICTIM is a genuinely unique film experience. Its tone, story and production design, it has influenced a wide variety of subsequent films, from DEATH RACE 2000 and THE RUNNING MAN to Mike Myers’ Austin Powers series, and predicted the "reality television" craze that plagues us today. If you consider yourself to be a real movie buff, it’s a must-see.

Blue Underground’s DVD is a reissue of an out of print Anchor Bay edition, with the same anamorphic 1.85:1 widescreen transfer and limited extras. Audio options include both the original Italian dialogue tracks and the English dub. The only extras are the original theatrical trailer and text bios of Andress and Mastroianni.

A one-of-a-kind film, THE 10TH VICTIM is very much a product of its era, with a 60s pop art vibe that may seem campy or dated today. But if you have a genuine interest in cinematic sci-fi satire, I strongly recommend checking it out.

BUY: The 10th Victim