The Designated Victim
La vittima designata
Italy (IT), 1971, 105 minutes, HD
Just how perfect is your plan?
The Designated Victim Synopsis

A true high point in 70s Italian thriller cinema, this inspired remake of Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train from director Maurizio Lucidi is able to push the concept of the original movie into something far more unbearably tense and deliciously twisted.


Stefano (Tomas Milian; Traffic, Amistad, JFK) needs to sort out his troublesome wife who is seriously cramping his future plans. A chance meeting with a wealthy Count Matteo (Pierre Clementi) leads to an extraordinary plan where both will do each other a murderous favour to free them from the people who ail them. The problem is Stefano treats this as a joke whilst Matteo is deadly serious and what he does drives Stefano to the edge of sanity in a gripping race against time!


Shot in a mist-wreathed eerily beautiful Venice this near dream-like melding of thriller with baroque giallo overtones has remained until now a criminally hidden gem.

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Reviewed by fbcaird
This Italian re-working of Alfred Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train (1951) has Tomas Milian star as an immoral advertising executive who is frustrated with his wife's refusal to sell their... more
This Italian re-working of Alfred Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train (1951) has Tomas Milian star as an immoral advertising executive who is frustrated with his wife's refusal to sell their business. Angry that he won't be cashing in any time soon, he goes on a trip to Venice where he has a chance meeting with a foppish aristocrat who looks like a cross between Russell Brand and Laurence Llewellyn-Bowen. The two of them make a pact where Brand-Llewellyn-Bowen will kill Milian's wife in return for the latter murdering the former's brother.\r\n\r\nIn its early stages The Designated Victim looks quite promising. The scenes in off-season Venice where Milian meets the Count and his mysterious lady friend are quite unusual and atmospheric. Unfortunately, the odd lady friend vanishes from the scene leaving Milian and the fop to lead the picture. You will sort of know roughly where the story is going if you are even vaguely familiar with the Hitchcock original. But it's not predictability that's the problem here; it's more the fact that there is a serious lack of suspense and thrills. The film drags for the most part and the dynamic between the two central characters isn't as interesting as it should be. I couldn't really wholeheartedly recommend this one. When you consider the other Italian thrillers on offer in the 70's, this one pales quite a bit by comparison.
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