Spirits of the Dead

Spirits of the Dead

3.0 1
Director: Federico Fellini, Louis Malle, Roger Vadim

Cast: Federico Fellini, Louis Malle, Roger Vadim, Jane Fonda


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Released in Europe as Histoires Extraordinaires and Tre Passi Nel Delirio, this is a portmanteau picture, comprised of three supernatural playlets based on the works of Edgar Allan Poe. "Metzengerstein," directed by Roger Vadim, stars the director's then-wife Jane FondaSee more details below


Released in Europe as Histoires Extraordinaires and Tre Passi Nel Delirio, this is a portmanteau picture, comprised of three supernatural playlets based on the works of Edgar Allan Poe. "Metzengerstein," directed by Roger Vadim, stars the director's then-wife Jane Fonda as a medieval woman prone to acts of vengeance. Her brother Peter Fonda is somewhat perversely cast as her cousin, for whom she holds incestuous yearnings. When he gives her the cold shoulder, she spitefully sets fire to his stable of horses. He is himself killed in the blaze, but it seems that he has been reincarnated as a horse. In "William Wilson," directed by Louis Malle, a sadistic Austrian officer (Alain Delon) commits various S&M misdeeds upon a variety of victims, including a woman (Brigitte Bardot) with whom he plays cards. The officer himself comes to grief when he finds that the Church will not allow him to say an act of contrition. And "Toby Dammit," directed by Federico Fellini, updates the Poe original by casting Terence Stamp as a self-indulgent movie star. Driving drunk one evening, the actor literally bets his head that he can escape a potentially fatal accident.

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Editorial Reviews

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This collection of three haunting tales of death by Edgar Allan Poe forms a stylish unit that blends together perfectly. While loosely adapted from Poe's work and less horrifying than Roger Corman's Poe films, the stories really capture the demented inner structure of the author's writing as opposed to focusing on the more graphic possibilities. "Metzengerstein" stars director Roger Vadim's then-wife Jane Fonda in the role of a sadistic baroness. Peter Fonda delivers a solemn performance as the cousin who seemingly returns to haunt Jane in the form of a majestic black horse. This opening segment is marked by its frank depiction of sexuality, as well as lush photography by Claude Renoir (notice the incredible shot of Jane riding on the cliffs above a roiling ocean) and fantastic costume design by Jacques Fonteray -- both of whom did equally impressive work on Barbarella. Jane Fonda actually spoke her own French dialogue for the part. The middle story is "William Wilson" directed by Louis Malle. The tale revolves around a nasty young man (Alain Delon) who finds himself continuously exposed as a fraud by a lookalike with the same name. This segment is the most graphic of the three (Delon's live near-dissection of a naked woman being the highlight) and is filled with a constant feeling of dread. Delon plays the role perfectly and finds an excellent foil in Brigitte Bardot whose weakness for cards results in an excruciating flogging sequence. "Toby Dammit" is the final tale and was directed by Federico Fellini with his usual surreal style that is both amusing and disturbing, often at the same time. Terence Stamp is excellent as a drunken movie star whose debauched life is haunted by the devil -- who appears to him in the form of a little girl. Stamp's frenetic performance is a topper in this eerie, beautifully directed tale, filled with the kinds of fantastic, surreal imagery that marked Fellini's work.

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Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Jane Fonda Countess Frederica
Terence Stamp Toby
Brigitte Bardot Giuseppina
Alain Delon William
James Robertson Justice Countess' Advisor [Metzengerstein]
Peter Fonda Wilhelm
Françoise Prevost Friend
Fabrizio Angeli 1st Director
Rick Boyd [Never Bet The Devil Your Head]
Katia Christina Young Girl
Ernesto Colli 2nd Director
Paul Cooper 2nd Interviewer
Umberto D'Orsi Hans
Georges Douking du Lissier [Metzengerstein]
Anny Duperey 1st Guest [Metzengerstein]
Philippe Lemaire Philippe
Carla Marlier Claude
Serge Marquand Hugues [Metzengerstein]
Polidor [Never Bet The Devil Your Head]
Salvo Randone Priest
Anne Tonietti Television Commentator
Andréas Voutsinas 2nd Guest [Metzengerstein]
Alcardo Ward 1st Interviewer
Clement Biddle Wood Narrator
Marina Yaru Child
Renzo Palmer Priest [William Wilson]
Vincent Price Narrator
Marco Stefanelli Wilson as a child
Daniele Vargas Professor

Technical Credits
Federico Fellini Director,Screenwriter
Louis Malle Director,Screenwriter
Roger Vadim Director,Screenwriter
Jean André Set Decoration/Design
Franco Arcalli Editor
Suzanne Baron Editor
Daniel Boulanger Screenwriter
Tonino Delli Colli Cinematographer
Pascal Cousin Screenwriter
Jacques Fonteray Costumes/Costume Designer
Jean Forestier Art Director
Alberto Grimaldi Producer
Carlo Leva Art Director
Diego Masson Score Composer
Ruggero Mastroianni Editor
Joseph Natamson Special Effects
Hélène Plemiannikov Editor
Jean Prodromides Score Composer
Claude Renoir Cinematographer
Nino Rota Score Composer
Giuseppe Rotunno Cinematographer
Piero Tosi Art Director,Costumes/Costume Designer
Ghislain Uhry Production Designer
Clement Biddle Wood Screenwriter
Bernardino Zapponi Screenwriter

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