The Whip and the Body
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
"You haven't changed, I see. You always loved violence [...] "call him and tell him you've always been mine"" --Christopher Lee to Daliah Lavi in The Whip and the Body (1963), 14 minutes and 25 seconds and 54 minutes
"In the 19th century, sadistic nobleman Kurt Menliff (charismatically played by Christopher Lee) has returned home to reclaim both his title and his ex-lover Nevenka (Daliah Lavi), who is now married to his brother, Christian (Tony Kendall). In a telling scene Kurt grabs a whip and forces Nevenka backwards onto a rock – he exclaims, “You haven't changed” and then proceeds to whip Nevenka's back, telling her “You always loved violence”, implying their sadomasochistic relationship."--Sholem Stein
"She [Nevenka] killed your brother and your father. Yes. Perhaps she was possessed. She was convinced Kurt was alive and she killed herself thinking she was killing him."
is a 1963 gothic horror film directed by Mario Bava under the alias "John M. Old". The film is about Kurt Menliff (Christopher Lee) who is ostracized by his father for his relationship with a servant girl and her eventual suicide. He later returns to reclaim his title and his former fiancée Nevenka (Daliah Lavi) who is now his brother's wife. Menliff is later found murdered, but the locals believe his ghost has returned to haunt the castle for revenge.
Italian censors removed the film from cinemas due to its sadomasochistic themes. The international cut features some significant changes, and runs for 77 minutes. It was released theatrically as What! and Night Is the Phantom in the United States and United Kingdom, respectively.
In the final scene, the whip burns in the hearth of the castle.
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). On 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.
- Daliah Lavi as Nevenka
- Christopher Lee as Kurt Menliff
- Tony Kendall as Christian Menliff
- Ida Galli (as Isil Oberon) as Katia
- Harriet Medin (as Harriet White) as Giorgia
- Gustavo De Nardo (as Dean Ardow) as Count Menliff
- Luciano Pigozzi (as Alan Collins) as Losat
- Jacques Herlin as the Priest