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Anchor Bay presents
The 10th Victim (1965)

Caroline Meredith: Why did you sign up for the Big Hunt?
Marcello Poletti: For the money. And I've always thought life's too long.

- Ursula Andress, Marcello Mastroianni

Review By: Mark Zimmer   
Published: July 11, 2001

Stars: Marcello Mastroianni, Ursula Andress, Elsa Martinelli
Other Stars: Salvo Randone, Massimo Serato, Milo Quesada, Luce Bonifassy, George Wang, Evi Rigano
Director: Elio Petri

Manufacturer: Crest International
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (violence)
Run Time: 01h:32m:07s
Release Date: June 26, 2001
UPC: 013131111293
Genre: sci-fi


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A A-A-B+ D+

DVD Review

Much of the best science fiction takes the world we know and makes a few slight changes to say, "what if?" Here, we have a vaguely futuristic world where the primary difference is that big game hunting of other humans is licensed and regulated for entertainment of the populace. The masses are kept in line by the spectacle of snuff, a theme later picked up in Norman Jewison's Rollerball.

Under the rules of the Big Hunt, participants must run a gauntlet of ten hunts, five as the hunter alternating with five as the victim. The hunters know everything about the victims; the victims have no idea who their hunter might be but must kill him or her anyway. Each hunt carries a cash prize, and anyone completing all ten hunts becomes a virtual celebrity, showered with wealth and fame. Caroline Meredith is completing her ninth hunt, as victim, as the movie opens. In a wildly over-the-top bit, she lures the hunter into what appears to be a sex club, then unforgettably shoots the hunter with guns hidden in the nipples of her metal brassiere. Soon she is on the track of her tenth victim, Marcello Poletti (Marcello Mastroianni), who is on his seventh hunt. Unlike Caroline, who has used her money wisely to equip herself and increase her surveillance capabilities, Marcello squanders his payments from the hunt, and his ex-wife Lydia (Luce Bonifassy) swipes the remainder. Discouraged, tired and depressed, he faces almost certain doom from his hunter. But Caroline, like a cat, wants to play with her prey first and pretends to be a television reporter seeking an interview with Marcello, the better to lure him in front of the camera for the coup de grace. But as she gets closer to him, she starts to fall in love, creating a conflict between the heart and the desire for the hunt as well as celebrity.

The rather nasty thematic material is wonderfully offset by a brainless and infectious Europop theme that emphasizes how the violence is glorified as entertainment. Unlike other films that claim to make this statement, the violence here isn't emphasized; rather the film looks at the participants more closely and considers what the game does to them. This helps make the satirical message much clearer than in later works like Rollerball or Natural Born Killers.

Mastroianni and Andress are both quite good in their roles. Mastroianni in particular has an air of a tired and miserable romantic that plays somewhat against his usual character of the suave seducer. Here, he is competent at the hunt but suffers with a failed marriage and a girlfriend who wants to be married; both of whom seem to want him only for the prize money he earns in the hunt. Andress is at the height of her gorgeousness, and nicely demonstrates the pull between her long-subdued heart and the desire to complete her tenth hunt.

The future world is full of intriguing, almost Fellini-like imagery, such as the gun range owner with his neck in an elaborate brace for no apparent reason, and the band of sunset worshippers that Poletti is deceiving. The Roman sets are well-used. Catherine plots her kill carefully to make sure that the setting is appropriate to maximize the entertainment value for her hunt's sponsor.

The 10th Victim is currently being remade; it's hard to imagine the remake surpassing this original.

Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: A-

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: For a 1965 film, this DVD looks great. There are a few speckles, and the colors are dated-looking, but the picture is crisp and well-detailed. The grain present is almost certainly a reflection of the original film. Blacks are outstanding and there is plenty of good shadow detail. The bit rate is a very good 6-7 mBps throughout.

Image Transfer Grade: A-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoItalian, Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: The mono soundtracks are clear and free from hiss. Dialogue and music come through with good range, though bass is lacking. The English dubbing doesn't match the subtitling very well at times.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 27 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
Cast and Crew Biographies
Cast and Crew Filmographies
1 Original Trailer(s)
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: Other than extensive bios and selected filmographies for Mastroianni and Andress, and a US trailer, there's nothing here. The disc is well-chaptered though.

Extras Grade: D+

 

Final Comments

An interesting but not heavy sci-fi satire of the culture of violence, The 10th Victim gets an excellent transfer, with a few scant extras. Definitely worth a look.

 


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