Top positive review
One of the better Bond-era relics....
on May 16, 2003
This movie was made on the VERY cheap, but a lot was made from that cheap! Marcello Mastroanni and Ursula Andress star in this sly satire on violence and population control. Their characters live in a 21st century world where an international game of cowboys and indians using real bullets and lethal devices has been authorized by the world government. The story focuses on them as Marcello tries to avoid being killed by Ursula in a game that trades off hunter and victim roles in a series of ten alternating runs, where the winner is awarded one million dollars.
Marcello plays a laid-back pauper in the game with nowhere near the resources of his hunter, a jetset-style adventuress played by Andress. It's a comedy of errors and sixities fad satire as repo men come to exact a pound of flesh for the money Marcello owes them from past hunts, and he pleads with them not to take his priceless comic book collection.
The climax of the movie takes place on the set of a commercial orchestrated by the Andress character, Caroline, AND Marcello, (same name as his character,) where Marcello is to pitch "Ming Tea" to the masses as he nails Caroline, seemingly, on the set of the show SHE put together, assuming her OWN victory!
The movie has one of the coolest jazz scores you'll ever hear, scat sung by a woman named Mina, accompanied by that typical, modern, Felliniesque pop organ. Elio Petri directs the two international stars and manages to make Rome look like it is, indeed, in the 21st century without spending a cent on special effects. (The killer bra Andress uses to kill her ninth victim is about it on that score, as a matter of fact!)
Marcello plays his role VERY tongue in cheek and a scene where he conducts a sun worshipping ceremony is one of the funniest you'll see in a sixties film...the scene has a LOT of relevance to the faddish religious mindset of of 70s, 80s and 90s California culture. Ursula is existential window-dressing, and it's the SUPPORTING players that add a lot to this flick: The moon worshippers, Marcello's old trainer, Elsa Martinelli as Marcello's mistress and the fellow playing Marcello's agent being prime examples.
A fine film that shows what you can do with a small amount of money and a lot of talent.