The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh

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The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh
The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh poster.jpg
Directed by Sergio Martino
Produced by Antonio Crescenzi
Luciano Martino
Screenplay by Vittorio Caronia
Ernesto Gastaldi
Eduardo Manzanos Brochero
Story by Eduardo Manzanos Brochero
Starring George Hilton
Edwige Fenech
Conchita Airoldi (as Cristina Airoldi)
Manuel Gil
Carlo Alighiero
Ivan Rassimov
Music by Nora Orlandi
Cinematography Emilio Foriscot
Floriano Trenker
Edited by Eugenio Alabiso
Copercines, Cooperativa Cinematográfica
Devon Film
Laurie International
Distributed by Gemini-Maron
Release date
15 January 1971
Running time
Italy: 98 min
Spain: 92 min
USA: 81 min
Country Italy
Language Italian
English dub
Box office ESP 15,193,058 (Spain)

The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh (Italian: Lo strano vizio della Signora Wardh; released as Blade of the Ripper in the United States) is a 1971 giallo murder mystery film directed by Sergio Martino. It is his first entry in the giallo subgenre. The letter "h" was added to the name "Ward" when an Italian woman named Mrs. Ward threatened legal action over the original title's potentially damaging her good name, just before the film was released. The film was also known as Next! or The Next Victim.


In Vienna, Julie Wardh, a mentally fragile American socialite and heiress to the Wardh's retailing fortune, becomes the victim of a secret conspiracy between her husband, her ex-boyfriend, and her new lover, who plot to kill her and frame it as either the work of a random serial killer who's been stalking the city, or a suicide. Her husband, a financier, hopes to collect the life insurance money to pay off debts. In return for his help in the scheme, Julie's lover has Julie's husband dispatch his cousin so that he can become the sole heir to a fortune that they've inherited jointly, a murder-trading idea borrowed from Alfred Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train (film). Julie's eccentric ex-lover, a sadist and struggling photographer who keeps exotic pets, is interested only in the money so he can begin a new life overseas, but he's shot dead in a double cross before he can enjoy his ill-gotten gains. The random serial killer also meets his death when one of his victims fights back, endangering the elaborate scheme. Will Julie succumb to this dastardly betrayal by those closest to her, or will the conspiracy founder?


  • Edwige Fenech... Julie Wardh
  • George Hilton ... George Corro
  • Conchita Airoldi ... Carol Brandt (as Cristina Airoldi)
  • Ivan Rassimov ... Jean
  • Manuel Gil ... Dr. Harbe (as Maurice Gillas Pou)
  • Carlo Alighiero ... Commissioner
  • Alberto de Mendoza ... Neil Wardh
  • Marella Corbi ... Victim who escaped from the killer
  • Miguel del Castillo ... Medico Spagnolo
  • Luis de Tejada ... The inspector
  • Pouchi ... Victim in the shower (as Pouchie)

Critical reception[edit]

AllMovie wrote, "Sergio Martino's first entry into Italy's giallo genre delivers everything this style of thriller requires and then some", calling it "a skillful example of how the giallo can be a head-spinning experience in style over substance."[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Guarisco, Donald. "Blade of the Ripper - Review - AllMovie". AllMovie. Retrieved 1 August 2012. 

External links[edit]