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Histoires Extraordinaires (1968)

the ultimate orgy of evil

Original Title : Histoires extraordinaires
Director : Federico Fellini
Louis Malle
Writer : Edgar Allan Poe
Roger Vadim
Pascal Cousin
Edgar Allan Poe
Louis Malle
Clement Biddle Wood
Daniel Boulanger
Edgar Allan Poe
Federico Fellini
Bernardino Zapponi
Genre : Horror
Mystery
Country : France
Language : French
Producer : Raymond Eger, Alberto Grimaldi
Music : Diego Masson
Jean Prodromidès
Nino Rota
Photography : Tonino Delli Colli
Claude Renoir
Giuseppe Rotunno
Distributor : Cocinor, American International Pictures (AIP), Cinemagia, Home Vision Entertainment (HVE), Image Entertainment, Umbrella Entertainment
IMDB ID : 0063715
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poster for "Histoires Extraordinaires" by Federico Fellini|Louis Malle (1968)
Histoires Extraordinaires (1968) - Federico Fellini|Louis Malle
 

Starring

Brigitte Bardot Giuseppina (segment "William Wilson")
Alain Delon William Wilson (segment "William Wilson")
Jane Fonda Contessa Frederica (segment "Metzengerstein")
Terence Stamp Toby Dammit (segment "Toby Dammit")
James Robertson Justice Countess' Advisor (segment "Metzengerstein")
Salvo Randone Priest (segment "Toby Dammit")
Françoise Prévost Friend of Countess (segment "Metzengerstein") (as Francoise Prevost)
Peter Fonda Baron Wilhelm (segment "Metzengerstein")
Marlène Alexandre  (as Marlene Alexandre)
Marie-Ange Aniès  (as Marie-Ange Anies)
David Bresson 
Katia Christine Young Girl (segment "William Wilson") (as Katia Christina)
Peter Dane 
Georges Douking Du Lissier (segment "Metzengerstein")
Philippe Lemaire Philippe (segment "Metzengerstein")
Carla Marlier Claude (segment "Metzengerstein")
Serge Marquand Hugues (segment "Metzengerstein")
Umberto D'Orsi Hans (segment "William Wilson")
Renzo Palmer Priest (segment "William Wilson")
Monica Pardo 
Marco Stefanelli Wilson as a child (segment "William Wilson")
Anne Tonietti TV Commentator (segment "Toby Dammit")
Daniele Vargas Professor (segment "William Wilson")
 

Plot

Three renowned European directors (Federico Fellini, Roger Vadim and Louis Malle) each adapt a Poe short story to the screen: "Toby Dammit," (Fellini) featuring Terence Stamp as a disheveled drugged and drunk English movie star who nods acceptance in the Italian press and his producers fawn over him. "Metzengerstein" (Vadim) with Jane Fonda (Mrs. Vadim at the time) as a Mediveal countess who has a love-hate relationship with a black stallion - who, it turns out is really her dead lover (Peter Fonda). "William Wilson" (Malle) is a haunting story of a sadistic Austrian student (Alain Delon) with an exact double whom he later kills. Brigitte Bardot is whipped after losing a card game. Vincent Price narrates the English version.
 

Comments

While the most spectacular is Fellini's incredible and banal finale to this tryptich, all three of these short films are outstanding in their own way, and not a single one of them would be worth much at all without the others. In the first, directed by Vadim, one sees a spoiled brat princess (who knew that Jane Fonda was so beautiful??) who occupies her time bullying her pretty court around, until her cousin (who she scorns as lowborn until he frees her from a trap he has set) is the first to refuse her every whim. The first part of the tryptich is slow slow slow, dramatic tension is built masterfully in this segment however as three themes intersect in a fatal tapestry of images.Louis Malle's second section is a much more compelling story. The student of French lit. may recognize the many gambling scenes from the 18th C. (Diderot's Bijoux Indiscrets) and the 19th C. (from Baudelaire's Tableaux Parisiens). Moreover, the tight scripting is reminiscent of Belle de Jour (in form if not in content) and poof! the second eerie story (which Poe may well owe to Dostoevsky's short story/novella The Double) is over and despite a slightly weak ending, you are shaken!Which is as anyone approaching the final story should be. This is dystopic, nihilist theatre at its best. While certainly some of Fellini's traditional themes/images are evident (paparazzi, tragically and _almost_ unbelievably unfulfilled people, and gaudy overpainted women) this segment is an orgiastic zero which filled me with disgust and awe. In some ways, this is the section that is both the most cinematically impressive and the most repugnantly ego-centric. Poe did not live in the time of Ferrari's, airports, televisions and escalators, and yet this 'videodromesque' segment is squarely set in the 1970s. On the other hand, the Ferrari substitutes nicely for a horse, and melting TV screens will work as substitutes for Poe's affected prose. Since Poe was, after all, a drunk who was received much better in Europe than in the U.S. (believe it or not), I think Fellini remains largely on target.Together, the three combine to make a very good psychological horror film with virtually no blood. (Only Malle sheds blood on screen in his story, if you except the possible corpse at the beginning of Vadim's segment) Check this one out. I doubt it will make you fear your neighbor, but it might make you fear Fellini!