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 Post subject: The Tenth Victim
Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2012 2:51 am 
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Robert Sheckley's classic novel is superbly translated to the screen via director Elio Petri in the 1965 film, "The Tenth Victim."

Marcello Mastroianni plays the cowardly yet crafty protagonist, Marcello Polletti, who has joined an exciting global game in the early 21st Century.

It is called "The Hunt" and allows players to kill one another nearly anywere with nearly any weapons, alternating the survivors of these hunts in the roles of Hunters and Victims. Anyone surviving ten such hunts gets a million dollars tax free and is set for life. The Hunt Ministry also has "special places" for suicides...and masochists.

The film opens with Ursula Andress in the role of Caroline Meredith, a "victim-player" from Amercia now in Rome. She and her hunter exchange many clips worth of ammo as the opening credits role. Then, in the "Masoch Club" her hunter looks for her in the audience as a masked female stripper comes on stage. The stripper approaches him and after a sultry tease, turns and says, "Take off my mask." He does, she turns--it's Ursula--and she shoots him dead--with two rounds from the nipples of her bra gun.

It's Rome--Ancient Rome's ethos--in the 21 Century from here on in.

Marcello's character is in an unhappy marriage and broke. He kills his victim--by rigging the Prussian horseman's riding boots with explosives that detonate when he clicks his heels while admiring himself in the mirror before a horse exhibition.

Soon Marcello Polletti is informed he is now a Victim. The catch in this wonderous tournament is that "Victims" are never informed of who their Hunters are. This gives the Hunter an advantage, but allows the Victim to mount a defense with helpers. Polletti laments, "I can't afford a decent defense," while holding up a pre-printed card in three languages that says, "I AM A VICTIM."

His Hunter turns out to be Ursula, who is given a TV commercial contract if she can manage to kill him on camera while he extolls the virtures of "Ming Tea--Ming Tea Makes Better Lovers."

Eventually, Marcello finds this out and gets his own contract to kill her in a TV commerical for a softdrink: "Coca 70--You Always Win With Coca 70!"

There's the usual Italian Film complications with Marcello, who has both wife and mistress. The wife complains that the bill collectors have arrived and are, "...taking my Classics!" (the couple's comix collection). Marcello says to the repro men, "You realize I have a Flash Gordon in the Golden Kingdom? Would you mind taking the television last? I'm trying to watch a program." The program is about himself, and his recent kill of the Prussian.

He also keeps his aged parents behind a secret panel, because, "...no one in Italy turns in their parents," to the police squads tasked with killing the elderly.

There is a hunter/victim training school that puts to shame anything James Bond ever attended, a roadside rest stop wherein you can "relax" with a gorgeous playmate, The Hunt Club which offers gladitorial combat to the death as entertainment for hunters and victims to watch besides the dance floor and cocktail bar, and a side trip to Geneva where two staccato-speaking computers spit out Victim and Hunter punch cards to keep the game going.

"La Decima Vittima" is the Italian title. I watched it at a Worldcon in the late 1970s in it's original tongue (I had more Italian in my lexicon then) and enjoyed the uncut scenes of Ursula and Marcello making love.

The film is a fantastic romp, set to the wonderous jazz score by Piero Piccioni; thanks to my friend Steve, I open up my Berlinetta Interceptor on the freeway sometimes while listening to it--and keeping a weather eye out for my Hunter.

Please keep in mind that this is decades before the Hunger Games--and has little, outside of a hunt, in common with it.


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 Post subject: Re: The Tenth Victim
Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2012 11:18 pm 
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Also reminds me of a movie from the '90s with a similar premise where people kill each other on TV. I forget the name of if, but it was independently made and fairly low budget, with no big name actors in it.


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