La decima vittima (The 10th Victim). 1965. Italy. Directed by Elio Petri. 35mm. 92 min.
“Wallace Shawn’s dystopian play Evening at the Talk House takes place in a universe (alternate universe?) in which vapid television is the most important cultural output. During The New Group’s 2017 New York City production of the play, there was a series of talkbacks with audience members. I happened to be in that production. One of the audience members after a performance of the play said it reminded her of ‘a movie with Anita Ekberg.’ I queried, ‘You mean The Tenth Victim? With Ursula Andress?’ Indeed, from the potential dystopia of the mod 1960s to the potential dystopia of 2017 seems now to not be such a daring leap. (The notion of 1960s ‘mod’ was very important to Club 57 regulars. They knew it was a powerful, junky concept in which an 11-year-old in 1966 could put too much store.) From the website Your Stupid Minds: ‘As completely 1960s and Italian as [The Tenth Victim] is, it’s oddly prescient. Caroline [Andress] is sponsored by a tea company that asks for a live murder to take place in a commercial. I think we’re about two years away from a commercial being delivered live by a quarterback in the middle of winning the Super Bowl.’” (film notes by John Epperson).