5 Dolls for an August Moon (5 bambole per la luna d’agosto) (1970)

MARIO BAVA

Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.  , 1970.  .  Story and Screenplay by , based on the novel And Then There Were None by Cinematography by .  Produced by Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .

A wealthy industrialist invites five friends to his mansion on a secluded island, ostensibly for a vacation but actually, as it turns out, for the purposes of cornering a scientist whose top secret formula for industrial resin is valuable to everyone else.  It’s three men, three women and a houseboy in a remote place, which means no end of secret liaisons and betrayals are already underway when one person is found murdered and the situation becomes dire.  The bodies begin to pile up in this loose adaptation of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None as the remaining survivors try to figure who among them is the murderer before they’re the next corpse hanging in the freezer.  Director Mario Bava is as much at home with murder mystery as he usually is with slashers, though he crams a bit too much character detail and background into the opening act than can be comprehended, and following the relationships of these mostly bland characters is confusing.  To look at it is, as usual with this great imagemaker, a pleasure, with a lot of rich purples and blues swathing the house and the atmospheric woods surrounding it.

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