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Cult Sci-Fi Classic – THE 10TH VICTIM

THE 10TH VICTIM is a fully loaded double-BRA-relled sci-fi satire.

One of a handful of movies that came out in the 1960’s and sought to capture the pulpy spirit of sci-fi paperbacks and underground comics, Elio Petri‘s The 10th Victim (1965) may not be as popular as the later Danger: Diabolik and Barbarella, but it definitely has plenty to offer on its own merits. Based on a Robert Sheckley short, it’s an engaging off-kilter satire on the spirit of capitalism, the tale of “The Big Hunt,” a global competition in which hunters assassinate one another in a televised ritual which has become a substitute for the wars of the previous (our) century. When we first meet our two protagonists – ace hunters Marcello Polletti (a blonde Marcello Mastroianni) and Caroline Meredith (Ursula Andress) – they are both wrapping up their latest kills (hers involving a bullet-firing-bra later referenced in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me). But it soon becomes apparent that the two are headed into a battle of not only wits but also of sexual charisma – and that they sorta like each other. What follows is a fun artsy romp through a 60’s version of the future that feels a lot like Jean Luc Godard-lite, couched not in any real activism or moral indignation but instead in the spirit of speculation for it’s own sake – like those ridiculous Tex Avery target=”_blank”>”House of Tomorrow” cartoons. Hey look It’s the Futurecomic books are now considered great literature! People are born in “Fertilization Centers” rather than to parents! Streets are named after Italian directors! And whatever else we can think of! The killings themselves are tame and bloodless – like the playtime pantomime of children – but the truly biting satire revolves around the presence of the insidious Advertisers, who target each kill as an opportunity to convince the Hunters to recite their product’s slogan after killing their rivals – with the Colosseum as a backdrop if possible. It’s this view of ad-men as parasites that makes the film truly subversive, and why it works on a level deeper than the eye-pleasing glimpses of a futuristic Manhattan and Italy set to the ear-pleasing sounds of Piero Piccioni‘s amazing soundtrack. Highly recommended!

Here’s the Italian trailer, which you might not understand…

And the American one, which you might understand but which does nothing to explain the plot…

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October 6, 2011   No Comments

SCORE! The 150 greatest OST’s – pt. 1 (of 15)

OST = Original Soundtrack

Been working on this mega-post for months now, listening to hundreds of Soundtracks, spending money on downloads from Amazon, iTunes, and even ACTUAL PHYSICAL CDs! But it’s been worth it. Here are some self-imposed rules I came up with along the way:

1. Music must be original and performed for the soundtrack – no recycled rock songs, adapted Broadway musicals, Concert movies, or glorified mixtapes.

2. One score per scorer – each score measured against the other. Some composers will not be represented despite a vast body of work. I’m sorry if you’re upset. It’s movie against movie.

3. Bass clarinets, Moogs, Theremins and etheral wordless choruses earn extra points. Heavy dialogue within scores is deeply frowned upon.

Here we go…

150.) Me and You and Everyone We Know (2005) – Michael Andrews

I have not seen this film directed by Miranda July, but the soundtrack by Michael Andrews – who also did the Donnie Darko score – features a haunting electronic score. Check this track from the CD out:

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149.) Barbarella (1968) – Bob Crewe

Roger Vadim’s space fantasy features whacked out songs reminiscent of Ennio Morricone’s Danger: Diabolik (and dozens of other 60’s scores), but between the crooning there’s sci-fi noodling that helps make the entire affair a rewarding listen. Here’s the title track from the Soundtrack, which grows on you like a space virus:

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148.) The Third Man (1949) – Anton Karas

Carol Reed’s engrossing tale of espionage features not only a knockout performance by Orson Welles but also an improbable score featuring Zither which lightens up the whole affair. If there weren’t so much dialogue on this soundtrack it’d be closer to the top of the list. Here’s an example:

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147.) Akira (1988) – Geinoh Yamashirugomi

Katsuhiro Ôtomo’s epic (the comic book is even more intense) revolutionized big-screen Anime. The eclectic soundtrack, fueled by aggressive percussion and futuristic sci-fi soundscapes, helped tremendously. Here’s the opening track, “Kaneda”:

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146.) Cannibal Holocaust (1980) – Riz Ortolani

I’m not a fan of Ruggero Deodato’s film. The score, however, is super cool – you’d never suspect it was the soundtrack to a gory cannibal snuff film:

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145.) Anatomy of a Murder (1959) - Duke Ellington

Otto Preminger scored a coup when he got the greatest bandleader of all time to compose music for this crime caper, and even contribute some nifty piano:

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144.) Gloria (1980) - Bill Conti

John Cassavetes’ gritty action film starring wife Gena Rowlands gets a fantastic soundtrack courtesy of Rocky composer Bill Conti. Listen to this track, called “Aftermath,” which resembles Halloween – but with a lil’ spanish guitar thrown in:

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143.) The Murder Farm [Tannöd] (2009) - Johan Söderqvist

I don’t know much about this German film directed by Bettina Oberli, but I do know the atmospheric score was penned by the same guy who scored the fabulous Let the Right One In. Here’s the main theme:

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142.) Pastoral: To Die in the Country [Den-en ni shisu] (1974) – J.A. Seazer

I’ve only seen bits and pieces of Shuji Terayama’s surreal masterpiece, but I’ve listened to the soundtrack at least a hundred times. It’s a challenging experience but a rewarding one, with tons of dramatic spoken word (in Japanese) separated by interesting instrumentation and children’s voices. Here’s the opening track:

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141.) The Burning Train (1980) – Rahul Dev Burman

Everything I know about Bollywood I learned from the excellent blog Music from the Third Floor, where I’ve experience tons of soundtracks, many by the master, Rahul Dev Burman. His score to Ravi Chopra’s epic action film is my favorite, with its processed voices, electronic fireworks, aggressive beat, and overall WTF?ness.

The Title track:

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The beautiful “Vaada… Haan Vaada,” which happens to be my ringtone.

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10 down, 140 to go!!! No turning back now! Check in next week for part 2! And leave a comment letting me know your favorite soundtrack!

Click to see part 1 (OST’s #141-150) , part 2 (131-140),  part 3 (121-130), part 4 (111-120), part 5 (101-110), part 6 (91-100), part 7 (81-90), part 8 (71-80), part 9 (61-70), part 10 (51-60), part 11 (41-50), part 12 (31-40), part 13 (21-30), part 14 (11-20) and part 15 (1-10).

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August 30, 2010   3 Comments

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