Thursday, January 2, 2014

The 10th Victim, Ursula Andress as #1 Assassin

Ursula Andress has emerged as a favorite of this blog.  Past entries on "Loaded Guns" and "Stateline Motel" proved extremely popular.  Fans of this blog will be perplexed to find out that the "Swiss Bombshell" was actually the third choice for the role of Caroline Meredith in today's offering.  Ann-Margret and Sue Lyon were asked, before Ms. Andress, to star in the 1965 classic, "The 10th Victim."  Her leading man?  Marcello Mastroianni plays her next victim in this futuristic bit of social commentary.
The plot:  In a futuristic society, violence has been reduced with a government program called "The Big Hunt."  In this hunt, contestants play for big money, and if they survive ten hunts, all of their financial worries will cease.  Hunters are given all the information on their selected victims, while the victim has no knowledge of their hunter.  Each contestant is expected to kill five victims, and also, take the role of the victim for five hunts, and then kill their hunter.  As the movie begins a poor sap is hunting Caroline (Andress).  She turns the table on her stalker and kills him with a .38 caliber bra. In Italy, Marcello kills a German Baron by placing bombs in his boots.  Both Caroline and Marcello now have nine victories.  The computer has selected Caroline to hunt Marcello.  Upon being advised that he has been selected as a victim, Marcello is uncaring.  His expensive mistress (Elsa Martinelli) and ex-wife are bankrupting him.  When Caroline arrives in Rome, she is disappointed to find out that Marcello doesn't intend to put up a fight.
The plot is thickened as The Ming Tea Company (Caroline's sponsor) will provide her with a big payday if she kills Marcello at the Temple of Venus, as the Ming Tea Dancers perform in the background.  As she attempts to lure him to this temple posing as an American journalist doing a story on the sexual behavior of Italian men, she falls in love with him.  Marcello figures out that Caroline is his assassin and sees a way out of bankruptcy.  He convinces his sponsor (a liquor company) to grant him a payday if he kills Caroline, while drinking their beverage, at the temple.
Will Caroline's love for Marcello be enough for her to forego a big payday?  Will Marcello see her love for him, and forego his big payday and live happily ever after with the "Swiss Bombshell"?  Will The Ming Tea Company drop Caroline as a spokesman if she doesn't kill Marcello?  This is a campy movie offering plenty of social commentary.  To say there is sexual tension between Caroline and Marcello would be a gross understatement.  Ms. Andress plays to the camera very well in a tight but slinky, hot-pink outfit.  Also, if you had to endure Mastroianni in "La Dolce Vita" you deserve the guilty pleasures this film offers.  Besides, if you tell your friends you watched a Mostroianni film, you will be looked at as a "sophisticate."

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