• Gareth Crook

The 10th Victim (1965) - 5/10

I always enjoy 1960s ideas on what the future holds. This is a kind of proto Purge. As a replacement for war, society has devised the “Big Hunt”. Legalised violence. People are encouraged to take part in hunts, sometimes the hunter, sometimes the hunted. Survive 10 rounds and there’s cash in it. It could be quite edgy with that premise, but no. This is the 60s so it’s a romantic action comedy with a heavy dose of kitsch. We’re introduced to Caroline Meredith (Ursula Andress) who dances onto screen in a skimpy silver bikini before shooting her pray with bullets from her bra. That pretty much sets the scene. This is her 9th kill, she’s one more to go before she’s done and wins a million dollars. It’s a French/Italian production, shot in Italy, all very stylish. Cigarettes, sunglasses, sex and cool cars. Caroline’s 10th victim isn’t going to come easy. She’s up against Marcello Poletti (Marcello Mastroianni), a pairing chosen by a supercomputer in Geneva that talks with an hysterically clipped robot voice. It’s clearly trying to have a bit of fun. Echoed by the kitsch 60s europop score, although I’m not sure that’s intended or just typical of the period. Caroline is approached by some TV types, who want to film and televise her grand finale, it’s all brilliantly bonkers, but eeks out the idea far too long, leaving it feeling a bit thin. It’s funny enough, silly enough to get away with it though. Largely down to the ridiculous sets and bad acting. The only jeopardy is that although Caroline knows who she’s to kill. Marcello doesn’t know who’s hunting him. If he kills the wrong person he gets 30 years in jail. It would be easy if Caroline just tried to shoot him, but that’s not the game and not how she’s got this far. She has to trick him and lure him in, which sets up a playful game of cat and mouse with the pair as the inevitably get more tangled than either had intended. It’s crap really, but a good laugh.


5/10