“A study of history confirms the validity of the Big Hunt theory: it is mankind’s safety valve.”
In a futuristic society which allows individuals to join a human hunting game, a woman (Ursula Andress) stalks her tenth victim (Marcello Mastroianni) with the intention of killing him live on television.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Italian Films
- Marcello Mastroianni Films
- Satires and Spoofs
- Science Fiction
- Ursula Andress Films
Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary argues that the “novel sci-fi premise” of this futuristic “sex farce” — based on a short story by Robert Sheckley — ultimately “gives way at the end to a conventional and tired Italian sex-comedy storyline”, and should be “a bit more fun” than it is. He cites Sheckley himself as noting that while his original story was “a commentary on love, the need for excitement and the inevitability of self-deception”, the film instead “points out how difficult it can be to earn a living, how tiresome family problems can get, and how romance is always threatened by the long shadow of marriage, especially in Rome”. Far be it from me to disagree with the story’s author (or Peary), but I actually believe that this cleverly conceived, visually stylish, smartly scored (by Piero Piccioni) sci-fi flick (directed by Elio Petri in a style occasionally “reminiscent of Fellini”) manages to effectively cover all these narrative elements. I wasn’t particularly disappointed by the direction Andress and Mastroianni’s “cat and mouse” maneuvers eventually took, and — unlike DVD Savant — I didn’t find it “hard to accept Marcello and Caroline’s romantic sincerity” after the establishment of “such a cynical world” (their “romance”, after all, is actually more of a sexual attraction grounded in the thrill of the hunt). And while the first half of the film — starting with its energetically filmed opening chase sequence — is indeed its most innovative and gripping, I was surprisingly riveted the entire time, curious to see how this deathly game of romantic deception would ultimately turn out.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Ursula Andress as Caroline
- Marcello Mastroianni as Marcello
- The exciting opening chase sequences
- A clever, drolly envisioned dystopian future
Yes, as a cult favorite.