Long before reality shows took over the TV airwaves and violent parodies like Series 7 and Battle Royale hit international screens, Elio Petri made this campy social satire of a future in which the bored, the ambitious, an... more »d the just plain violent can sign up for a deadly game of cat and mouse. "The Big Hunt is necessary as a social safety valve," explains one TV personality. "Why control births when we can control deaths?" Marcello Mastroianni, who plays the womanizing Italian media darling with a gift for ingenious assassinations, becomes the target of sexy champion Ursula Andress, a New York Amazon with a wardrobe as deadly as it is chic. She'll pocket $1 million if she can successfully kill Mastroianni, her 10th and last victim, but on the side she concocts a deal to do the deed in concert with a live song-and-dance extravaganza mounted by a tea company. Directed with tongue firmly in cheek, Petri lampoons the whole media obsession with high-risk contests and games of chance with cool style, absurdly chic fashions, a bouncy score of organ riffs and funky lounge sounds, and a comically blasť performance by Mastroianni. It's like Fellini gone ballistic with a hint of Divorce, Italian Style: a battle of the sexes in a world where spontaneous shootouts are forever erupting in the fringes of the frame. --Sean Axmaker« less
"I honestly don`t know if the other reviewers saw the same film I did, but I have owned the original, Anchor Bay release for years, and haven`t seen the re-release - maybe something was cut, maybe the previous reviewers don`t get 60`s Euro-cult films like "Danger Diabolik", "Fathom", "I`ll Never Forget What`s Isname", "Modesty Blaise" or, for that matter, "Our Man Flint/In Like Flint", or "Deadlier than The Male". With the international sucess of the Bond films, there weren`t enough films of this type to satisfy audience hunger, hence all of the above, and although are flawed (as are the bond films), these flicks filled the void rather nicely. This one in particular, for it`s Madison Avenue corporate tie-ins to everything from arena sports endorsements to Rock concert sponsorships that are now a permanent part of our lives, it`s actually spot-on in it`s comedic absurdity and a harbinger of all things to come. And we`re only a step away from televised executions in one form or another... Both Marcello Mastroianni and Ursula Andress are superb in their roles, especially Mastroianni in his world-weary approach to his lifestyle and profession, and the subtle humor and ironies are abundant everywhere in this film. Elsa Martinelli is hysterical as well as adorable, so if you think the "Austin Powers" franchise is good (if you`re under 40), and like any of the 60`s flix I referenced above(if you`re slightly older), do yourself a favor and get this film. I`ve seen it 3 times, and still find humor in it. O those fab 60`s..."
KSG | New York, NY United States | 03/09/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The Italians really did 1960's camp the best. I mean, what is campier than Ursula Andress chasing a man around in a lavender, backless pant suit, while brandishing a pistol? A killer bikini top? A rest, relax and sex stop on the side of the highway? A cult of sunset worshipers in caftans on the beach? The cinematography and locations are so stylish. Rooftop jazz bars in the blaring sun, minimalist interiors decorated with giant, blinking eyeballs, New York's financial district, pre-World Trade Center and Rome and the Vatican shot from a helicopter. Death and fear, what could be funnier?"
THE 10th VICTIM
documentia | Los Angeles, CA | 01/20/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"An early forerunner in the futuristic "legalized-killing-as-TV-entertainment" genre, The 10th Victim lays the groundwork for many subsequent films including Roller Ball, The Running Man, and most recently Daniel Minahan's Series 7: The Contenders. Briefly summarized: in the 21st Century Marcello Mastroianni and Ursula Andress are two all-star assassins pitted against each other in "The Big Hunt," an international game of legalized murder in which a score of 10-kills awards the victor a prize of one million dollars. What sets this film apart from the others is not so much the plot (as while it may be the original in concept, its followers certainly succeed better in overall craft and more pointed satire) as the permanent aesthetic time/date-stamp of 1960's camp. The 10th Victim is a 60's version of the future, in the very best sense. It's a future full of awesome color schemes, ultra-cool music, great furniture, swanky pads, and characters that just ooze with sexual energy. The gem of this film is an opening sequence in which Andress dances around her ninth victim in a hipster club, fashionably slapping the men in the audience with cool and choreographed abandon before mowing down her adversary with bullets fired from a gun hidden in her bra (a gimmick later ripped for the Fembots in Austin Powers). And while the film offers a couple of other moments that approach the brilliance of this opening, its full potential is never realized -- things are not pushed nearly far enough. My biggest complaint: the alligator death chair catapult gizmo is never put to full effect, though perhaps I'm just yearning for the very thing this film means to comment on - more bloody spectacle. All in all it's definitely worth seeing, though you might supplement it with a healthy dose of Mario Bava's Danger Diabolik for good measure."
One of my favorite films of all.
inframan | the lower depths | 10/09/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A brilliant movie based on a superb story by Robert Sheckley. This is sci-fi as it should be: depicting the future as theme & variation on contemporary manias & rituals. From the "legalized hunt" which has replaced traditional warfare to the "Club Masoch" to the roadside "sex & relaxation" parlors to the parents hidden from the state behind a false wall to the dress & music & settings, this movie not only rings penetratingly true but is boggling in its inventiveness.
I first saw 10th Victim in 1965 (in Oakland California). It was my first filmic "1960s consciousness-raising experience". All these years I've treasured my two VHS copies, one to lend out, one for safety, so I'm really pleased that it is finally back in print."
A 60's Pleasure
Terrance Mccarthy | Harrisburg, PA | 08/31/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"If you are a fan of:
Marcello at his Mastroianniest Ursula in full sexual animal mode 60's design and fashion Dry to the exreme humor Stylistic Italian direction
Then buy this disc! Oh yea, the story ain't half bad either.