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The Whip and the Body (1963)

La frusta e il corpo (original title)
Not Rated | | Horror, Romance | 10 December 1965 (USA)
The ghost of a sadistic nobleman attempts to rekindle his romance with his terrorized, masochistic ex-lover, who is unwillingly engaged to his brother.

Director:

Mario Bava (as John M. Old)

Writers:

Ernesto Gastaldi (story and screenplay) (as Julian Berry), Ugo Guerra (story and screenplay) (as Robert Hugo) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview:
Daliah Lavi ... Nevenka
Christopher Lee ... Kurt Menliff
Tony Kendall ... Christian Menliff
Evelyn Stewart ... Katia (as Isli Oberon)
Harriet Medin ... Giorgia (as Harriet White)
Gustavo De Nardo ... Count Vladimir Menliff (as Dean Ardow)
Jacques Herlin ... Priest
Luciano Pigozzi ... Losat (as Alan Collins)
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Storyline

After the announcement of the servant Losat, the nobleman Kurt Menliff returns to the castle of his family at the seaside to congratulate his brother Christian Menliff for his marriage with his former lover Nevenka. Kurt feels the hatred and the fear of his father Count Menliff and the servant Giorgia, who blames him for seducing and killing her daughter, and indifference from his cousin Katia. On the next afternoon, the sadistic Kurt meets Nevenka riding a horse alone on the beach and whips the masochistic woman and makes love with her. Late night, Nevenka is missing and everybody is seeking her while Kurt is stabbed in the neck with the same dagger that Giorgia's daughter was murdered. On the next days, the members of the family suspects of each other while Nevenka is haunted by the ghost of Kurt. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

WHAT secret haunted the castle dungeon? WHAT thing walked in the night? WHAT body lay in the coffin? See more »

Genres:

Horror | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Italy | France

Language:

Italian

Release Date:

10 December 1965 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

What! See more »

Filming Locations:

Tor Caldara, Lazio, Italy

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Box Office

Budget:

$66,500 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(1964) (cut)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.75 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Most of the cast and crew were required to use English pseudonyms because the producers hoped to fool the intended Italian audience into thinking this movie was produced incognito by a British or American studio, such as Hammer Film Productions or American International Pictures. When Mario Bava was asked by Luciano Martino to use "an old American name", he jokingly took the suggestion to a literal degree by creating his alias "John M. Old". See more »

Quotes

Kurt Menliff: I have never had a warmer welcome.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The two missing shots described above are included on the DVD as a hidden feature. Also released uncut on 2013 US DVD and Blu-ray and on 2014 UK DVD and Blu-ray releases. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Shock (1977) See more »

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User Reviews

One of the best movies by THE most underrated director of the Fantastic.
10 April 2004 | by InfofreakSee all my reviews

As I slowly get to watch more Mario Bava movies my enthusiasm for his extraordinary body of work grows and grows. I was already hooked after watching 'Black Sunday' for the first time, but after subsequently seeing 'Kill, Baby...Kill!', 'Planet Of The Vampires', 'Black Sabbath', 'Diabolik' and 'Lisa And The Devil' (and others) I was convinced that he's THE most underrated director of the Fantastic. Now I've watched 'The Whip And The Body' three times and listened to Tim Lucas' informative DVD commentary I'm almost ready to bow down and worship Bava like a god! This is such a fascinating movie... Visually it's stunning, as to be expected, Bava being a top cinematographer before turning to directing. The subject matter is still provocative, but forty years ago it must have been scandalous! In fact the movie was heavily censored and when eventually released in America given the lousy title 'What'. Christopher Lee counts this among his favourite roles and it is essential viewing for his fans. He plays Kurt Menliff, an evil sadistic nobleman returning to his family home after hearing his younger brother has wed. Lee's family has disowned him after a scandal concerning a servant girl he seduced who subsequently suicided. His father the Count despises him, the dead girl's mother, who still works for the Count, curses him, and his brother's new bride Nevenka (Daliah Lavi) fears him. Kurt and Nevenka have a past, not only that, a complicated sadomasochistic relationship. The whipping scenes between the two actors were a bit too much for the censors to handle back in the day, and while they aren't all that explicit, they are still unsettling even today. Lee and the stunning Lavi (best know to most people for her later appearance in the star-studded Bond spoof 'Casino Royale') make a truly unforgettable couple. Many people regard 'The Whip And The Body' as Bava's single best movie. I wouldn't go that far myself, but it's definitely one of his very best films, and is sure to impress anyone who has enjoyed his other pictures. Ghost story, murder mystery, psychosexual character study, whatever you want to call it, it's a highly original movie that will stay with you for a long time. Newcomers to Bava are still best to start with 'Black Sunday' in my opinion, but this movie comes with my highest recommendation.


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