Saturday, October 05, 2013

Spirits of the Dead

Histoires extraordinaire (Spirits of the Dead) is an omnibus film from Federico Fellini, Louis Malle, and Roger Vadim that takes three different stories based on the works of Edgar Allen Poe. The three segments each explores the world of horror in many different ways as well as individuals who deal with their sins. The result is a truly fascinating and entertaining omnibus film from Federico Fellini, Louis Malle, and Roger Vadim on the works of Edgar Allen Poe.


Directed by Roger Vadim. Screenplay by Roger Vadim, Pascal Cousin, and Daniel Boulanger. Starring Jane Fonda and Peter Fonda. Cinematographer Claude Renoir. Editor Helene Plemiannikov. Production designer Jean Andre. Costume designer Jacques Fonteray. Music by Jean Prodromides.

The segment is about a countess who has inherited a renowned estate as she lives a life of debauchery and excess with no consequences. When she is rejected by her baron cousin who lives nearby, she seeks vengeance only to get a mysterious horse that she becomes attached to. It’s a piece that is filled with an array of beautiful imagery through Roger Vadim’s direction as well as sense of style in the way the clothes display that sense of decadence as well as the sense of guilt and melancholia that Countess Frederique Metzengerstein (Jane Fonda) would deal with over what she did to Baron Wilhem Berliftizing (Peter Fonda). Even as the mysterious horse in a tapestry the countess has might play into the fate that she would encounter with the horse she had just received where both Fonda siblings give fantastic performances where Jane speaks perfect French while Peter is more quiet as his lines are dubbed in French.

William Wilson

Directed by Louis Malle. Screenplay by Louis Malle, Clement Biddle Wood, and Daniel Boulanger. Starring Alain Delon and Brigitte Bardot. Cinematographer Tonino Delli Colli. Editors Franco Arcalli and Suzanne Baron. Production/costume designer Ghislain Uhry. Art director/costume designer Carlo Leva. Music by Diego Masson.

Louis Malle’s segment explores the life of a cruel young man (Alain Delon) who shares the same name of a doppelganger who would set the rights of what his counterpart has done. Yet, it has a narrative that is told in a reflective manner as Wilson confesses to a priest (Salvo Radone) about the rivalry he has with his doppelganger dating back to childhood where it would culminate in a game where Wilson tries to cheat a socialite named Giuseppina (Brigitte Bardot). It’s a very complex and eerie film about identity and such that features a brilliant Alain Delon that is complemented by Malle’s very intense and mesmerizing direction as well Bardot’s very charming and cool performance.

Toby Dammit

Directed by Federico Fellini. Screenplay by Federico Fellini and Bernardino Zapponi. Starring Terence Stamp. Cinematographer Giuseppe Rutunno. Editor Ruggero Mastroianni. Production/costume designer Piero Tosi. Art director Fabrizio Clerici. Visual effects by Joseph Nathanson. Music by Nino Rota.

The segment is about a washed-up Shakespearean actor who goes to Rome to accept an award and to star in a Catholic western as he starts to lose his mind following an encounter with a little girl who lost her ball. It’s a film that is filled with many of the visual traits of Federico Fellini as it’s all style where it’s playful but also gorgeous to look at thanks to Giuseppe Rutunno’s cinematography. The film also features a truly delightful score by Nino Rota that also features a truly magnificent sequence of the titular character driving all over Italy on a Ferrari as he’s played with such complexity by Terence Stamp who adds a melancholia and craziness to the character.

The film is about the sins and such of various individuals all told in very different places as the segments by Roger Vadim and Louis Malle are all period pieces that do play with Edgar Allen Poe’s story. In Metzengerstein, Vadim decided to make Poe’s story about a long-standing family feud be more complex as its protagonist would become a woman as she falls for her rival only to be upset by his rejection. In William Wilson, Malle sets his story in the 19th Century Austria where it plays into a man’s identity and the idea of a double where his double is man that is the exact opposite of the other man.

Both Vadim and Malle bring a sense of faithfulness to their respective stories yet it is Federico Fellini who does a whole lot more in his loose-adaptation of Never Bet the Devil Your Head where he sets in modern-day Italy as it’s all full of style to play up the troubled mind of an alcoholic actor as he’s doing interviews and attend a lavish party that has him realize how undeserving he is as he’s being paid a Ferrari to do a film. It’s Fellini’s segment that is the best of the three as well as one of his most outstanding works of his career.

Histoires extraordinaire is a marvelous omnibus film that chronicles the work of Edgar Allen Poe. Featuring some fantastic segments by Roger Vadim and Louis Malle that features excellent performances from Jane and Peter Fonda, Brigitte Bardot, and Alain Delon. The film also features a magnificent segment by Federico Fellini that is one of his great masterworks that includes an incredible performance by Terence Stamp. In the end, Histoires extraordinaire is a remarkable omnibus film from the trio of Federico Fellini, Louis Malle, and Roger Vadim.

Federico Fellini Films: (Variety Lights) - The White Sheik - (L’amore in Citta-Un’agenzia matrimoniale) - I Vitelloni - La Strada - Il bidone - Nights of Cabiria - La Dolce Vita - (Boccaccio ‘70-Le tentazoni del Dottor Antonio) - 8 1/2 - Juliet of the Spirits - (Fellini: A Director’s Notebook) - Fellini Satyricon - (I Clowns) - Roma - Amarcord - Casanova - Orchestra Rehearsal - City of Women - And the Ship Sails On - Ginger and Fred - (Intervista) - (The Voice of the Moon)

Louis Malle Films: (The Silent World) - (Elevator to the Gallows) - (The Lovers) - (Zazie dans la Metro) - (Vive le Tour) - (A Very Private Affair) - (The Fire Within) - (Viva Maria!) - (The Thief of Paris) - (Calcutta (1969 film)) - (Murmur of the Heart) - (Humain, trop humain) - (Lacombe, Lucien) - (Black Moon) - (Pretty Baby) - (Atlantic City (1980 film)) - (My Dinner with Andre) - (Crackers) - (Alamo Bay) - (God’s Country) - (And the Pursuit of Happiness) - (Au Revoir Le Enfants) - (May Fools) - (Damage) - (Vanya on 42nd Street)

Roger Vadim Films: (And God Created Woman) - (No Sun in Venice) - (The Night Heaven Fell) - (Les laisons dangereuses) - (Blood and Roses) - (Please, Not Now!) - (The Seven Deadly Sins) - (Love on a Pillow) - (Castle in Sweden) - (Vice and Virtue) - (Circle of Love) - (La Curee) - (Barbarella, Queen of the Galaxy) - (Pretty Maids All in a Row) - (Helle) - (Ciao! Manhattan) - (Don Juan, or If Don Juan Were a Woman) - (The Murdered Young Girl) - (Game of Seduction) - (Night Games) - (Hot Touch) - (Surprise Party) - (And God Created Woman (1988 film))

© thevoid99 2013

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