My Letterboxd watchlist journey continues today with a film I thought was an Italian neo-noir, but certainly isn’t: Elio Petri’s The 10th Victim (1965).
In the future, societies have figured out how to avoid war and other large-scale human conflicts which result in mass casualties: The Big Hunt, a government-endorsed program which allows participants an outlet for their violent urges without harming anyone other than their victims. Participants are given ten “rounds,” five as the hunter and five as the victim. Those few who can survive all ten rounds can retire in luxurious wealth. Caroline (Ursula Andress), having killed her ninth victim, is given the computer-generated name of her tenth and final victim: Marcello (Marcello Mastroianni), whose winnings from his previous kills have all been spent by his mistress (Elsa Martinelli) and his ex-wife (Luce Bonifazi). And the hunt begins…
Who’s Responsible for This?
I honestly can’t remember where I first heard about this film, but as I mentioned at the top, I probably saw a poster for it and mistakenly believed it to be an Italian neo-noir.
Although not a neo-noir, The 10th Victim is an action/adventure film with a science fiction/futuristic concept. The picture also contains a fair amount of comedy (some of which is absurdist) and some European ‘60s music (heavy on the electric organ) and fashion, satire, and Dadaism, all of which is to be expected from the era. I was surprised at how much the film works simply as pure entertainment, but I’m also glad it didn’t run any longer than its 94 minutes. You can think of The 10th Victim as a precursor to other films such as Death Race 2000 (1975), Battle Royal (2000), The Hunger Games (2012) and others. A fun outing, but I wouldn’t watch it again.
I viewed the film on Daily Motion, but it’s also available on other platforms as well as on Blu-ray from Blue Underground and Shameless.
So take a look at my Watchlist and tell me what I should watch next.
Photos: Marquee Poster, Mondo Digital, Institute of Contemporary Arts