George Stark (Teodoro Corra) is a rich industrialist who owns a private island. He has invited Professor Gerry Farrell (William Berger) and his wife Trudy (Ira von Furstenberg) to spend a few days on the island with a few other guests. Gerry has a formula for an industrial resin that George wants. George and his partners Jack Davidson (Howard Ross) and Nick Chaney (Maurice Poli) offer Gerry a million dollars each for the formula. Gerry maintains that he is not interested in money. He says he is only there to rest and is mourning the death of his colleague. George is not about to give up and plans on continuing to badger Gerry.
In the meantime Nick’s wife Marie (Edwige Fenech) is having an affair with the servant, Charles (Mauro Bosco). Nick makes a pass at Trudy. George and his wife Jill (Edith Meloni) are having marital problems. Jill is having an affair with Trudy. Jack and his wife Peggy (Helena Ronee) are the only ones that are currently getting along. Jack tries to cut George and Nick out of the negotiations with Gerry which pisses George off big time. The only one on the island that isn’t an entitled brat is Isabel (Ely Galleani). She is the young daughter of the island’s game keeper. Isabel is running around the island on her own since her parents are away.
Not wanting Gerry to leave before he can talk him into selling his formula, George sends his boat back to the mainland and disables the phone. Then Charles is killed and his boat is sabotaged. No knowing what to do with Charles, they stick him in the freezer. Now there is a murderer on the island and no one can leave or call for help. The next day a shot rings out and Gerry is found on the beach by Trudy and Jill. They run to the house for help. By the time they get back Gerry’s body is gone. Isabel, having shot Gerry, dragged his body away.
After that the murders come fast and furious. Each body is wrapped in plastic and put in the huge walk-in freezer. Everyone suspects everyone else until the suspects are whittled down. The only one that comes out on top is the only one who didn’t kill anyone.
“Five Dolls for an August Moon” AKA “5 bambole per la luna d'agosto” was released in 1970 and was directed by Mario Bava. It is an Italian giallo. The film didn’t so well at the box office and is considered one of Bava’s more obscure films and is often compared to Agatha Christie’s “And Then There Were None”.
The movie has a lot of things that a good giallo should have, sex, murder and intrigue as well as colorful sets, opulence, and glamour. The island is full of spoiled rich people that you couldn’t care less about. I liked seeing them hanging in the cooler covered in plastic like slabs of meat.
There are also some drawbacks with the film. It’s slow pace and one-dimensional characters made the film a little boring. They’re all entitled and whiny. No one eats but they all smoke and drink J&B scotch whiskey. The sexism and testosterone are thick in the air so when Trudy flipped Nick when he tried to slap her forced a cheer out of me. The plot is also a little confusing. I had to watch it twice to really figure out what ultimately happened.
The movie was filmed on the Torre Astura coast. The outside of the Stark house is actually a matte painting that was painted by Bava.