The Whip and the Body

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The Whip and the Body
The- Whip-and-the-Body-poster.jpg
Italian film poster for The Whip and the Body
Directed by Mario Bava
Music by Carlo Rustichelli[1]
Edited by Renato Cinquini[1]
  • Vox Film
  • Leone Film
  • Francinor
  • P.I.P.[1]
Distributed by Titanus (Italy)[1]
Release dates
  • August 29, 1963 (1963-08-29) (Italy)
  • January 26, 1966 (1966-01-26) (France)
Running time
91 minutes[1]
  • Italy
  • France[1]
Box office ₤72 million

The Whip and the Body (Italian: La frusta e il corpo) is a 1963 Italian-French gothic horror film directed by Mario Bava.


An isolated castle on the Eastern European coast. Kurt (Christopher Lee), the older son of Count Menliff (Gustavo De Nardo), was in marriage preparations with Nevenka (Daliah Lavi). However, Kurt had an affair with Tania, the daughter of Menliffs' servant Giorgia (Harriet Medin), and Tania committed suicide because of Kurt's prospective marriage. Count Menliff rejected Kurt and he left the castle. Meanwhile, Nevenka married Cristiano (Tony Kendall), Kurt's younger brother.

One day, Kurt arrives at the castle, superficially to celebrate Cristiano and Nevenka but in fact he is to reclaim his title and fortune, which supposedly also includes Nevenka. During an evening on the beach and following a session of flogging and sex, masochistic Nevenka understands that she is still in love with Kurt. Frustrated, she does not return to the castle and is eventually found unconscious by the butler Losat (Luciano Pigozzi). At the same night, Kurt is killed under curious circumstances, with the same dagger Tania had committed suicide with. Now, Kurt is dead but a series of events hints that his ghost has started to haunt the castle for revenge.



The film credits the writers as Ernesto Gastaldi as Julian Berry, Ugo Guerra as Robert Hugo, Luciano Martino as Martin Hardy.[1] Ernesto Gastaldi has stated that he had written the script himself with Ugo Guerra possibly contributing to some of the story early one while Luciano Martino had no contribution to the script.[1] Gastaldi was shown an Italian print of The Pit and the Pendulum (1961) by the producers who requested a similar film to be made.[1]

Mario Bava was brought in to direct the film through Ugo Guerra's suggestion as he could both direct the film and photograph the film.[1] Bava took care of the cinematography for the film while his regular camera man Ubaldo Terzano is credited as the cinematographer.[1]

The film was shot for under ₤159 million Italian lire for six week shooting schedule with one more week for special effects.[2] in Lazio and Rome.


The Whip and the Body was released in Italy on August 29, 1963 through Titanus.[1] It grossed a total of 72 million Italian lire.[1] It received a release in France under the title Le Corps et le fouet on January 26, 1966.[1]

It was released in the United States in 1965 under the title What.[2] This version had a 77-minute running time and with no actors dubbing their own voices.[2]

Critical reception[edit]

The film is well received by contemporary critics. On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes it has a 71% approval rating, based on seven reviews, and is certified "fresh".[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Curti 2015, p. 102.
  2. ^ a b c Curti 2015, p. 103.
  3. ^ "La frusta e il corpo (The Whip and The Body) (1963)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2 July 2012. 


  • Curti, Roberto (2015). Italian Gothic Horror Films, 1957-1969. McFarland. ISBN 1476619891. 
  • Hughes, Howard (2011). Cinema Italiano - The Complete Guide From Classics To Cult. London - New York: I.B.Tauris. ISBN 978-1-84885-608-0. 

External links[edit]