5.8/10
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49 user 57 critic

Five Dolls for an August Moon (1970)

5 bambole per la luna d'agosto (original title)
Not Rated | | Mystery, Thriller | 25 November 1970 (UK)
A small group of people come to an island to relax but soon find themselves trapped on the island with a murderer in their midst.

Director:

Mario Bava

Writer:

Mario di Nardo (story and screenplay)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
William Berger ... Professore Fritz Farrell / Professor Gerry Farrell
Ira von Fürstenberg ... Trudy Farrell (as Ira Furstenberg)
Edwige Fenech ... Marie Chaney
Howard Ross Howard Ross ... Jack Davidson
Helena Ronee ... Peggy Davidson (as Helena Ronée)
Teodoro Corrà Teodoro Corrà ... George Stark (as Teodoro Corrá)
Ely Galleani ... Isabel (as Justine Gall)
Edith Meloni ... Jill Stark
Mauro Bosco ... Jacques / Charles
Maurice Poli ... Nick Chaney
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Storyline

George Stark is a wealthy industrialist who invites five business friends of his to his remote Mediterranean island for a weekend of relaxation and business when he introduces them to Professor Farrell, a brilliant chemist who gives investment ideas to the group. But against Farrell's wishes, the group goes behind each other's back to obtain information on Farrell's chemistry ideas and soon the guests and residents start turning up dead one by one as Stark and Farrell must rally the group together to determine the identity of the killer (or killers) despite nobody trusting anyone. Written by matt-282

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Island of terror!

Genres:

Mystery | Thriller

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Italy

Language:

Italian

Release Date:

25 November 1970 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Island of Terror See more »

Filming Locations:

Anzio, Rome, Lazio, Italy See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Agatha Christie's original story was titled "Ten Little Niggers", which had previously been filmed under such official titles as And Then There Were None (1945) and Ten Little Indians (1965). The source of the story went uncredited. Mario Bava did not care for that story, but his next feature, A Bay of Blood (1971), was practically a rewrite, on which he enjoyed total control. See more »

Goofs

George could not have been able to take credit for Peggy's death as she was shot while he was still in their bedroom. See more »

Quotes

Nick Chaney: So what was I telling you?
Marie Chaney: That I'm a dirty whore. That's why I'm taking a shower... at least now I'll be a clean whore.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in L'Esorcismo di Lisa (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Ti Risveglierai Accanto a me
Written by Emilio Iarrusso (as Jarrusso), Giacomo Simonelli (as Simonelli) and Piero Umiliani (as Umiliani)
Performed by Il Balletto di Bronzo
Courtesy of Disco R.C.A.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Ten Little Sleazebags
30 January 2016 | by rooeeSee all my reviews

"Maestro of the Macabre" Mario Bava directs this island-set murder mystery, which owes more than a little to Agatha Christie's Ten Little Indians. Although it has some of the hallmarks of giallo – a bevy of vixens luxuriating upon middle-aged sleazebags, ropey dubbing, and murder wounds that bleed peri-peri sauce – it isn't exactly a slasher. It's brief and bloody but not particularly brutal.

The opening starts like a fairy tale – albeit a very 1970s Italian one. Isabel (Justine Gall) prances through the woods like Carroll's Alice and comes to a house. Through the window she watches a forbidden party taking place. It appears that she witnesses a ritual murder – except it turns out to be a game.

But then a real corpse is found and the real game begins. On a remote island populated by self-interested, alcoholic, amoral millionaires ("Filthy swine from the same mould!"), everyone is a suspect.

The chief one initially is George (Teodoro Corra). He's brought a bunch of smug gits to the house to hammer out a business deal. They're all vying to purchase a secret scientific formula from Professor Fritz (William Berger). So when the professor cops it, the accusations start to fly and tensions start to fray. The bodies pile up quicker than you can say "Dario Argento".

Five Dolls wasn't a big release at the time and it's not a classic movie by any means (Bava himself disregarded it), but it's solid and reasonably tense. Naturally, once the murders begin everyone behaves like cogs in a movie narrative machine rather than a convincing human being, but that's par for the course. This is virtually a tech demo for Bava's craft – he's the Hitchcock of Italian cinema, as his choices of shots, focus, and fluid camera shifts show. And if nothing else you have a fantastic, unique jazzy score from Piero Umiliani, who even gives the bodies in the freezer their own jaunty piano theme.

Murder mystery fans will be frustrated by the film's pace, which sometimes gives us literally seconds between homicides. We're furnished with few clues to play with and the final twist is a dirty cheat. But let's not pretend there's no pleasure in watching these sharks eat each other; we're here to find out which of them makes it out alive, period.

Five Dolls is drenched in atmosphere and the production design gives a wonderful sense of the otherworldly – we could be on an alien planet. Silly and sexy, it's not an essential movie, but if you're interested in a macabre and hallucinatory curio from one of horror's most influential artists, look no further.


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