Don’t Torture a Duckling (1972)

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Avg Rating: 4.4 / 5. Voted: 24

No one cared thus far. Do you?

AKA: Non Si Sevizia Un Paperino
Directed by: Lucio Fulci
Starring: Barbara Bouchet (Rich woman), Florinda Bolkan (Witch), Marc Porel (Priest), Tomas Milian (Journalist), Irene Papas (Priest’s mother), Georges Wilson (Uncle Francesco)
Country: Italy
Language: Italian
Runtime: 01:48:13
Genres: Killer, Detective, Occult, Violence against Women, Old-Young Relationships

Plot – Spoilers:
In a southern Italian town, the kids roam the vast countryside and hills looking for adventure and anything that titillates their blooming sexuality. Their world is dotted by several colorful characters:
A bored and rich city girl contemptuous of the villagers’ outlook, but who has a special narcissistic interest in the young boys.
A young priest obsessed with preserving morality in the town and who tries to keep the boys engaged through their shared love for football.
A crazy woman who lost a baby years back and is now believed to be a witch. She too has her eyes on the boys as they trespass into places she considers sacred.
The village idiot who’s often bullied by the boys.

And then someone starts killing the children. The village idiot is picked up, but the case doesn’t seem convincing enough….

One of Lucio Fulci’s best and his breakout into the gore/giallo genre, of which he would become one of the masters. Great ’70s Italian music too, memorably used in a violent sequence.

11 thoughts on “Don’t Torture a Duckling (1972)

  • February 7, 2021 at 2:15 pm

    Fulci’s best work & one of the best giallo’s ever. I own this one but bravo for adding it admin!

  • February 7, 2021 at 8:50 pm

    unbelievable – a fulci film with structure and relatively coherent

  • February 11, 2021 at 3:31 am

    Does this movie Get better/more action over time? Watched 20 minutes and had trouble liking it,
    If it’s a slow movie though I’ll pass for now 🙂

  • February 12, 2021 at 12:40 am

    Admins, any Giallo is always a great addition, but this was an especially good choice, thanks!

    This film is arguably a pillar of the Giallo subgenre, Fulci’s favorite, as well as the first film in which he cranked up the violence a bit, almost(somewhat) to his trademark level. I remember years ago when I first got this film when it finally released in America, good times. The priest going off the cliff at the end always makes me laugh, lol.

    Tho I consider The Psychic (aka Sette Note in Nero) to be Fulci’s best giallo (and one of my all-time favs), there’s no denying in terms of specifically Fulci’s gialli that this could also b considered his best. I’d put A Lizard in Woman’s Skin 3rd either way.

    For a Giallo, 10/10, the standing ovation:D Be sure to check out his other gialli I listed above, as well as his film The Beyond (not Giallo, epic tho) if u like these style films. Another Giallo that is GREAT and somewhat like this (hs/college girls instead of kids tho) is What Have You Done To Solange. I’m extremely knowledgeable with Giallo films, and love to talk about em, so if anybody has any questions or wants recommendations, fire away;)

    • February 12, 2021 at 9:46 am

      Hello, Elliot, Zed Man here, just a quick question to you, how do you feel about Dario Argento films? There are too many to mention here but my favorites would be Phenomenon, aka ”Creepers” and Tenebrae. I have been trying to obtain a few of these for my collection, but the only versions I can find are the ones that have been cut to shit and not worth watching imo. Cheers!

      • February 12, 2021 at 10:14 pm

        Hi Zed, long time no chat, lol.

        Personally I love Argento’s films, but it’s a sad case of when a legend didn’t know when to quit. He’s also a slippery slope w the Giallo ‘purists’ too. The former regarding how his last few films have been appallingly bad, to the point where his reputation took a hit, imo. Everything he directed up o the point of Mother of Tears was at the worst, decent-good, but u could see a steady decline had occurred for a while. Ppl hated Mother of Tears, but I thought it was alright, and I give argento great respect for finally finishing his Three Mothers trilogy (suspiria, inferno, mother of tears) damn near 30 years later.

        The reason why argento always leads to debate amongst the purists is bc most ppl use Giallo interchangeably w any argento movie after 1970, but many MANY of his films aren’t. I guess by definition the hard and fast rules of gialli r few but firm: must b Italian (some purists say must b set in Italy too sometimes, debatable), and must b an unknown killer, kinda whodonit status, (w the stereotype being them wearing black gloves), and there’s some other plot n structure rule stuff but I won’t get into that. It needing to be violent/exploitive isn’t one per se tho. Now here is where it matters; any film involving ANYTHING supernatural in any regard, ‘isnt’ a Giallo. So a lot of his films, 3 mother’s trilogy, phenomena(a fav of mine too, gotta love Jennifer Connelly), etc are not. Most of his early work from when he switched over to horror in 1970 up until Suspiria were gialli, after that not so much. So it irks the purists to always hear Suspiria brought up when gialli r mentioned.

        Now here’s my rant, and why the purists piss me off: So what. If someone is out to see a film that’s associated w a genre, gialli in this instance and we’ll use Suspiria as the example, even if it’s not specifically one, it’s guilty by association, and the ppl it won over will obviously watch more, some unknowing the ‘rules’ but if it brings new fans and such to a dead subgenre, who the fuck cares, bc it’s still keeping the films, the idea, alive. At what point is the artists work not his anymore, but belongs to the people, and their interpretation? Suspiria could b thought of this way, imo. If the masses want to call Suspiria a Giallo, I say let em, bc even tho it isn’t it’ll still inevitably lead ppl to gialli. I guess a counterpoint to my lil theory tho would be how there are actually a few examples of artists whose interpretation and work will always b theirs. Love Is In The Bin, Banksy’s intervention piece, is a perfect example of this. Rambling, oops;)

        But yes, I consider Argento a master of his/the craft. If I had to pick right now, gun to the head, n list the MOST influential gialli, the foundation, the pillars, and the ones that made the subgenre widely known, it would be; 1. Mario Bava’s The girl who knew too much(the very first giallo) or blood and black lace, which helped solidify many of the ‘rules’ I mentioned. 2. Pupi Avati’s The House With Laughing Windows(#1 fav). 3.Dario Argento’s The Bird With The Crystal Plumage. 4. Lucio Fulci’s Don’t Torture a Duckling↑

        So, argento obviously has his place;) While some of his films were butchered, Deep Red being the best example, most of the old Anchor Bay (rip) releases were uncut of his films. Most of mine r anchor bay, prbly released 15-20 years ago tho. Tenebrae n inferno had cuts too on a lot of versions, but w all of em just look for ones made by anchor bay, blue underground, or arrow, n they should b unedited. I have all his movies he directed after 1970 except for 3. Stay far away from his film ironically titled Giallo, bc it isn’t, and is just terrible, it was actually sad to watch if ur an argento fan. Same w Dracula 3d, lol. Sleepless I still got the vhs of n is worth seeing, as well as The Card Player, but last I knew both were kinda rare, so unless ur going completionist mode, just stream em as they’re average-good, but not worth paying a lot for. Be absolutely SURE to check out his films b4 Suspiria tho, bc sadly most ppl skip em. They r Bird w the Crystal Plumage, Cat o nine tails, four flies on grey velvet, and deep red. Be careful w Deep Red tho, bc that’s the one that’s butchered to hell n has versions missing 20 min. The uncut one is just over 2hr if I remember right.

        Went on a rant, lol sorry. I’ll leave u with this… Useless Trivia: argento helped pay for Lucio Fulci’s funeral, bc he died broke:/

        • February 13, 2021 at 9:22 am

          Thanks Elliot, you are a minefield of information. Strangely enough, after my comment, I went on You Tube, and lo and behold found Suspiria, Inferno and others there totally uncut. I too liked Mother of Tears, nothing like a chick being strangled with her own intestines, and a baby thrown off a bridge ( though I did not enjoy that bit ). I will keep hunting around for those DA movies. I have recently watched Torso and Pieces, not sure if they are giallo but liked them nevertheless. Nice chatting, cheers.

          • February 13, 2021 at 11:54 pm

            Ya u can find a ton of gialli on YouTube amazingly, lotta classics. Tubi has some good ones too if u know what ur looking for already.

            Pieces was Spanish, so it’s out right there, but I can see the similarities(love that film), but Torso totally is a Giallo, a badass one at that, n was directed by Sergio Martino, who also did one of my all-time favs, Your Vice Is A Locked Room and Only I Have The Key (fukn love that title) so b *sure* to check that one out, as well as his others, most of which star the lovely Edwige Fenech, who was basically the queen of gialli, so also give her name a search n watch all the gialli she was in, as they’re all great (strange vice of Mrs Wardh was my second fav starring her, next to Your Vice.. both for by martino). Just wanted to chime in w that. Peace:)

            • April 5, 2021 at 11:39 am

              Elliot, where are you? Have not seen any comments from you in a couple months. I miss chatting about films with you and reading your comments. Hope you are ok. Cheers, man.

        • July 27, 2021 at 2:40 am

          “At what point is the artists work not his anymore”? Never. The work is always his. It is his/hers/theys and it is a piece of time and space, a part of the grand complete history of humanity.. If it is a less than great work of art, then people argue over interpretation. A great piece of art is clear, even if filled to the brim with miniscule details that only God would notice. (This doesn’t mean art can’t use sophisticated techniques or have complex messages!) Nevertheless, it should be clear on an elementary level.

          People appreciate paintings like Picasso not because he is necessarily great. They appreciate a cubist painting because so much work has been done on earlier works by scholars that consumers barely have to wrestle with books/data/technique in order to “understand” it properly (huge rant about this as well). So instead of becoming their own critics, they follow the evolution and tastes of specific people (a sort of “historical” perspective). Ok, I understand works by the painters before Picasso, now the next movement is cubism and cubism makes sense because A, B, C. They don’t sit and think, they don’t form their –>ownentertainment<–, be clear about it. Don't mix and match ideas "because it is a subjective expression of your self". Use logic and RESPECT art as a form. The people on this site will definitely need to dictionary the word "respect". Gialli film are a certain way and some people value these types of films immensely (as entertainment?). They are a part of the evolutionary process of some peoples' thoughts and ideas about art/entertainment. So, the purists are correct in their desire, at least, to maintain a precise definition.]

          If the boundaries of the definitions blurr too much, how will the future artists/entertainers be able to organize themselves? And more importantly, as the sea of garbage art grows into an ocean, how will future generations know what is worth analyzing and appreciating in the first place?

          Is Picasso deserving of his praise? No. Hell no. All he did was explore technique. As a bare minimum, his messages have had zero effect on my perception and understanding of life. This dude is getting paid much money to use a brush and put colors on a canvas while teachers who act as part-time psychologists to the next cohort of adults eat Hamburger Helper on date night. AND HIS WORK IS BRANDED AS ART.

          [IMPORTANT NOTE: An artists artist is typically producing entertainment! It is awesome when their work is done perfectly and the feeling of exquisiteness that arises from succumbing to the virtuosity of a truly "great artist" is blissful. So answer me this if you dare: what is art?]

          we need strict definitions in art otherwise it becomes a random machine because he said she said they said bible said. And most of the garbage people make these days is entertainment. Not art.

          for the 2 iq members of this site.
          giallo films are giallo films. if i ask for a giallo film and you recommend moulin rouge because the color palette in the first 30 mins is identical to Argento's bedroom and he makes giallo. exaggeration yet picasso is an artist. a great artist! so not far stretched after all.

  • September 22, 2021 at 5:21 am

    Excellent movie.Thanks again EUM!


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