Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Pictures of the Spirits of the Dead

Spirits of the Dead is 1968 French film that's divided into three parts - esteemed directors Roger Vadim, Louis Malle and Federico Fellini each direct a segment loosely based off of an Edgar Allen Poe story. In Vadim's third, called "Metzengerstein," Jane Fonda plays a debauched aristocrat (in an insane series of costumes) whose flirtation with a neighbor leads to horror...

In Louis Malle's story, "William Wilson," the lovely Alain Delon -

pretty pretty

- plays a total bastard whose quaint life of raping and torture becomes unraveled due to a mysterious double that has the audacity to keep interrupting his horrible deeds.

But it's Fellini's final third of the film that I really fell in love with. It tells the story of Toby Dammit, a hedonistic film star (played with frayed relish by a weirdly-never-sexier Terrence Stamp) whose alcoholism is getting the best... the worst... of him... visually it's one of the finest things I've ever seen come from Fellini, which is obviously saying a lot. The dream-like colors, the weird nightmarish descent that makes up the second half of it... it's arresting, to say the least.

Unfortunately I had some trouble with my copy of the film so I could only get screen-grabs from the first half - plus the quality is less than perfect - but I think these give you an idea of what weird and unsettling beauty the films holds...

All of the images you see there are from at most about 20 minutes of film. Every shot is just magnificent, I swear. It's tough to find the film, but I highly recommend seeking it out if you can.


RJ said...

READING MY MIND! I've been dying to see this forever.

Jason Adams said...

It ran on TCM right around Halloween, rj, that was how I caught it. It sucks that Netflix doesn't have it. Do catch it when you can though, it's terrific.

Monchhichi said...

This movie... my ma showed it to me when I was pretty small and Toby Dammit is was and always will be my favorite segment. Who knew that a little girl w/ a rubber ball could be so effectively creepy?