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.
Three directors, one clear winner. Federico Fellini's segment is miles beyond the other two both technically and creatively. Ironically, his segment was the only one shot primarily on sets rather than locations, yet comes off the least artificial of the bunch.
Vadim's segment opens the trilogy, and it's so bad it tempts one to stop watching. Just as he did in "And God Created Woman" with Bardot, his main focus seems to be showing off his trophy wife Fonda, who parades around in ridiculously scanty costumes that are as wrong for the period depicted as her mod era lipstick and ultralashes. The script is a meandering mess and the only interesting visual elements are the locations. Even the lovely Jane Fonda looks more laughable than alluring, displayed like a prize poodle.
Malle's is better directed but fairly anemic. Not much else to say about it.
Fellini's segment is wonderful, with the same outstanding qualities as his best feature films, including a hauntingly playful soundtrack by Nino Rota and the masterful cinematography of Giuseppe Rotunno.
While Vadim's segment was crude and flashy with hokey costumes and cheesy opticals, Fellini's is elegant and magical, a darkly surreal tapestry woven from realistic threads, rendered through his uniquely trippy perspective. Every image is lit and framed with care. Even the swirling mist from his fog machine seems to be obeying his direction.
His cast runs the gamut from subtly grotesque to enticing, with a fatally debauched Terence Stamp straddling the two. His psychological breakdown and descent into hell are beautifully written and superbly directed. He's also the only character in the entire movie you can feel for, someone who took a wrong turn in life and finally embraced the consequences.
Like others have said, skip to Fellini... or watch all three and judge for yourself.
DELON & BARDOT TOGETHER !!!!
Fellini, Malle... greats directors for an extraordinary movie based on the novel by Edgar Allan Poe. Magnificent stories where many giants like Alain Delon, Terence Stamp or Brigitte Bardot make the cinematographic dreams for us. An excellent film in technicolor!!!
Good horror movie!
This is the only movie with "Hanoi Jane" Fonda that I have in my movie library. One reason is that it's a damned good horror movie. The other reason is that Jane has a "happy ending" in this movie. See the movie and you will see what I mean! For some reason it is only on video in French language with English sub-titles. What happened to the English-dubbed version? All three stories are nice and creepy but "William Wilson" is my favorite. And Bridgett Bardot makes that story even better! "Hanoi Jane"'s story is pretty good too, though it's kinda weird to have her own brother, Peter, playing the man she wants! I won't even talk about the horse part! The last story is well done in Frederico Fellini's usual weird style. Sure worth watching if you like them scary!