The 10th Victim (1965)

The 10th Victim (1965) movie poster

director Elio Petri
viewed: 02/05/2016

In the future (the future of 1965), you can play a game where you can kill 10 people (or be killed yourself).  In this hunt, half of the time you are the hunter, half of the time, the hunted.  And when you are the hunted, anyone can be your killer.  You can kill your killer, but if you kill anyone else, you will be executed.

The 10th Victim is a bit of a cross between The Most Dangerous Game (1932) and the more modern incarnation, The Purge (2013), at least conceptually.  Adapted from a 1953 Robert Sheckley short story, it’s actually a prescient and inventive film in many ways.

Usula Andress is an American hunter, and Marcello Mastroianni is her “10th Victim”, her final necessary kill to retire and live in luxury.  She heads to Rome to track him down, where he has just picked off his 5th victim.  Her kill is to be promoted, produced and marketed by Ming Tea, a sponsorship, which is a new innovation in the process.

Like Jean-Luc Godard’s Alphaville (1965) and Francois Truffaut’s Fahrenheit 451 (1966), director Elio Petri employs the trappings of modernity of the time as the designs of “the future” in fashion, architecture, automobiles, and accessories.

The film is both comic and satirical but I’d hesitate to call it a comedy, per se.  It’s sharp and funny and pointed and Andress and Mastroianni are quite perfect.  A clever, mod flick, very interesting.

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