Wednesday, 21 November 2012


1968, Roger Vadim, Louis Malle, Frederico Fellini, 121 mins.

Three Poe stories by three directors.

Spirits of the Dead was made towards the end of the 1960s vogue for multi-part films from voguish directors. It collects together three Edgar Allen Poe stories with varying degrees of success. Roger Vadim turns Metzergerstein , Poe’s first published story, into a highly amusing riot of Freudian symbolism featuring the leather clad Fonda siblings and a big black stallion. Louis Malle demonstrates a Sadean bent in William Wilson as Alain Delon, plagued by his seemingly omnipresent and omniscient double, subjects Brigitte Bardot to a whipping which is not in the original story. Finally, and most satisfyingly, Fellini offers us Toby Dammit, a funny and deeply disturbing fantasia set in 1960s Rome during which an alcoholic Shakesperean actor, memorably played by Terence Stamp, makes a decidedly unwise wager with the Devil – the patter personified as an unforgettably creepy little girl. 

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