6.7/10
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Spirits of the Dead (1968)

Histoires extraordinaires (original title)
Anthology film from three European directors based on stories by Edgar Allan Poe: a cruel princess haunted by a ghostly horse, a sadistic young man haunted by his double, and a alcoholic actor haunted by the Devil.

Writers:

(story "Metzengerstein") (as Edgar Allan Poë), (adaptation) | 8 more credits »
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1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
...
Françoise Prévost ...
Friend of Countess (segment "Metzengerstein") (as Francoise Prevost)
...
Marlène Alexandre ...
(segment "Metzengerstein")
David Bresson
...
Peter Dane
Georges Douking ...
Le licier (segment "Metzengerstein")
...
Philippe (segment "Metzengerstein")
...
Claude (segment "Metzengerstein")
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Storyline

Three directors each adapt a Poe short story to the screen: "Toby Dammit" features a disheveled drugged and drunk English movie star who nods acceptance in the Italian press and his producers fawn over him. "Metzengerstein" features a Mediveal countess who has a love-hate relationship with a black stallion - who, it turns out is really her dead lover. "William Wilson" tells the story of a sadistic Austrian student with an exact double whom he later kills. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

the ultimate orgy of evil See more »

Genres:

Drama | Horror | Mystery

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

| |

Release Date:

23 July 1969 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Spirits of the Dead  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Electric)

Color:

| (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.75 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Louis Malle had originally wanted then -model Florinda Bolkan to play the Brigitte Bardot part. See more »

Goofs

When Countess Frederique ("Metzengerstein") is urging the black stallion into the sea, her ermine-trimmed cloak is suddenly gone. See more »

Quotes

University professor (segment "William Wilson"): I remind you that a doctor is also a sorcerer. We shall seek life in the depths of matter. And now I have the pleasure of dissecting before you a human body which has always been the dream of priests, poets or philosophers. To be precise, I shall open a human heart.
See more »


Soundtracks

Ruby
Sung by Ray Charles
Lyrics by Mitchell Parish
Music by Heinz Roemheld
See more »

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User Reviews

Cut out the first two segments and you've got a great Fellini film.
28 February 2003 | by See all my reviews

'Spirits of the Dead' (1968), a French-Italian production narrated by Vincent Price, features three Edgar Allan Poe stories adapted for the screen and directed by three of Europe's most fascinating filmmakers of the period (choke!).

Vadim's segment (‘Metzengerstein'), starring Jane and Peter Fonda, is a real stinker. Has Vadim ever made a truly good film? Not really, so at least he's being consistent here by turning Poe's tale into a dull, silly mess. Striving hard for art's sake, he misses the mark each time. Q: Who wants to see Jane Fonda falling in love with Peter Fonda? A: Not me.

Malle's segment (‘William Wilson') is solid but not worth repeated screenings. Of note: Brigitte Bardot gets naked, verbally abused and whipped. No comment as to the merits of these actions or her presence; nevertheless, the tale's ending doesn't quite work.

Fellini's 'Toby Dammit' is classic, freakshow Fellini. Terence Stamp stars as a wasted British film star (looking like an effeminate junkie) and gives an awesomely convincing performance. Ultimately, his character gets a bit out of hand and, uh, loses his head. Good stuff that. It's probably fortunate that Fellini's is the longest and last segment; it is easily the film's strength and highlight. Unlike the first two tales, ‘Toby Dammit' was also released theatrically on its own, yet it is not available separately on dvd.

The ‘Spirits of the Dead' dvd first hit the market as an Image release. This is not the version to purchase. Image used a less-than-satisfactory source print, and the transfer looks crummy. Also, the menu is poorly designed and doesn't work quite the way one wants it to. Later, Home Vision released a higher quality version with four additional minutes of footage, using much finer source material. --- david ross smith


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