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Blade of the Ripper (1971)
"Lo strano vizio della Signora Wardh" (original title)

7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 1,964 users  
Reviews: 34 user | 55 critic

An ambassador's wife discovers that one of the men in her life - either her husband, an ex-lover or her current lover - may be a vicious serial killer.

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(screenplay), (screenplay), 2 more credits »
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Title: Blade of the Ripper (1971)

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Director: Sergio Martino
Stars: Anthony Steffen, Marcella Michelangeli, Aldo Sambrell
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
George Hilton ...
George Corro
...
Julie Wardh
Conchita Airoldi ...
Carol Brandt (as Cristina Airoldi)
Manuel Gil ...
Dr. Harbe (as Maurice Gillas Pou)
Carlo Alighiero ...
Commissioner
Ivan Rassimov ...
Jean
Alberto de Mendoza ...
Neil Wardh
Bruno Corazzari ...
Killer
Marella Corbi ...
Victim who escape from the killer
Miguel del Castillo ...
Medico Spagnolo
Luis de Tejada ...
The inspector
Brizio Montinaro ...
Ospite Al party
Pouchi ...
Victim in the shower (as Pouchie)
Mira Vidotto ...
Cameriera Della Wardh
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Storyline

Newly married to an older man, Julie returns to Vienna, where a razor wielding slasher is killing women. Jean, her cruel and sadistic former lover, immediately contacts her, certain that only he can satisfy her strange vice. But she rejects him. She also meets George, the handsome cousin of her friend Carol; both are newly rich, thanks to an uncle's death. Julie's husband Neil is away frequently, so George pours on the charm. Meanwhile, it seems that the slasher is now focused on Julie. Bodies pile up, other murders are barely avoided, and George invites her to go away with him. Can it end happily? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Did you read about what happened to the poor girl in the shower?... See more »

Genres:

Mystery | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

15 January 1971 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

Blade of the Ripper  »

Box Office

Gross:

ESP 15,193,058 (Spain)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was refused a UK cinema certificate in 1971 and passed uncut for DVD in 2011. See more »

Goofs

When Julie hears the bellboy knock at the apartment door, she puts on a blue bathrobe without a belt. When she looks through the peephole to see who it is, she is wearing the same bathrobe, but as soon as she opens the door the robe has suddenly acquired a belt. See more »

Quotes

George Corro: My specialty is courting ladies in the presence of their husbands.
See more »

Crazy Credits

"The very fact that the commandment says "do not kill" makes us aware and convinced that we are descended from an unbroken chain of generations of assassins, for whom the love of murder was in their blood, as it is perhaps in ours." - Sigmund Freud See more »

Connections

Referenced in Sergio Martino: The Genesis of the Giallo (2011) See more »

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User Reviews

Europe's finest; Edwige Fenech, George Hilton, Ivan Rassimov....
7 February 2007 | by (The Dutch Mountains) – See all my reviews

THE STRANGE VICE OF MRS. WARDH (Sergio Martino - Italy/Spain 1970).

A bit of an essential Giallo entry, Martino's first thriller, although I personally prefer his fourth giallo YOUR VICE IS A LOCKED ROOM AND ONLY I HAVE THE KEY (1972), also starring Edwige Fenech, which has the pleasant setting of a country-estate and is even more lurid, over-the-top and slightly less predictable than this one.

This was Fenech's first starring role for producer (and lover) Luciano Martino and the rest of the cast soon became Martino-regulars, playing very similar roles in his later films: Edwige Fenech as calculating victim, George Hilton as the ever-conniving smoothie and evil-looking Ivan Rassimov as the malicious outsider who would become one of the regular bad guys in Italian genre cinema. Fenech plays the kind of character here that would become her trademark, a sexually liberated, glamorous and utterly shallow fashionista. She plays Julie Wardh, the restless wife of an official at the American embassy in Vienna and an investment broker (either one of these, or both, quite an unusual combination of professions!) who is disturbed by reports about a sex killer. She is convinced she is being stalked by Jean (Rassimov), a sadistic ex-lover, and, worse still, suspects that he may the killer. We also learn, through numerous flashbacks, that they had quite a kinky and sadomasochistic relationship. In the meantime a killer, a blonde woman is slashed to death while taking a shower. This doesn't stop Julie from a little fawning with George (a suave George Hilton), the cousin of her attractive friend Carol. Unsurprisingly, she's the next target of the razor-killer who terrorizes her in an underground car park and even all the way into Spain, where she thought she was save.

Many of Martino's films feel a bit over-polished to me. I recently watched a whole bunch of his films, including his crime thriller THE VIOLENT PROFESSIONALS (1973) as well as Fulci's DON'T TORTURE A DUCKLING (1972), which easily is superior to this one, but very raw, even somewhat shabby and unpolished in comparison with Martino's carefully stylized productions. Certainly a handsome production with substantial doses of sexual perversion and misogynistic violence and enough twists and turns to make for an entertaining thriller. And one has to give it to him, Martino has a real knack in framing some impressive shots, such as the glass-breaking scene in one of Fenech's flashbacks. The plot is fairly straight-forward, not needlessly over-complicated and by giallo-standards, the number of oddball characters and bizarre suspects is limited, but the ending is incredibly far-fetched and even hints at the super-natural. Where did that suddenly came from, Gastaldi? Logic and common sense is best left home when watching this one, but - unless you're on medication - you're probably gonna need a couple of drinks to fully appreciate this pleasantly lurid masochistic puzzle.

Camera Obscura --- 7/10


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