Synopsis by Mark Deming
That old phrase "you always hurt the one you love" takes on a new meaning in this satiric comedy. In the 21st Century, government and the private sector have come together to create a solution to human aggression by giving it a profitable outlet. "The Big Hunt" is a popular worldwide game show in which contestants, identified as "Hunter" and "Victim" and chosen at random by computer, chase one another around the globe; the player who can kill his counterpart is declared the winner and moves on to another match. After ten wins, the player is retired from the game and gets a cash prize of one million dollars, but few have managed that feat. The sponsors of "The Big Hunt" (a tea company known to give contestants bonuses for mentioning their slogans on camera) bring together two current champions for a special match. Marcello Polletti (Marcello Mastroianni) plays the game for money after a nasty and expensive break-up with his wife, and he's just completed his sixth round. Marcello is the victim and is being pursued by Caroline Meredith (Ursula Andress), a beautiful but highly skilled hunter who after nine wins isn't about to let Marcello slip through her fingers. However, as Marcello and Caroline warily follow one another (she posing as a television reporter and he as the leader of a cult of sun worshipers), they become infatuated with one another, a development that interferes with the game in unexpected ways. Directed by Elio Petri, La Decima Vittima (aka The 10th Victim) has earned a loyal cult following among film buffs for its pointed humor and the romantic chemistry between Marcello Mastroianni and Ursula Andress, who were briefly an item off screen.
promotion, assassination, future, game, killing, life-or-death, murder, population-control, society