Anthology movies seldom work. There is always one weak story that drags the rest down. Occasionally there is one story that surpasses the rest making it worth while.
This 1968 horror anthology movie combines the efforts of Roger Vadim (Barbarella, And God Created Woman), Louis Malle (Murmur of the Heart, Au revoir, les enfants) and Federico Fellini (La Dolce Vita, 8½) and it’s pretty damn good, especially the Fellini segment. All the stories in the movie are adapted from Edgar Allen Poe stories.
Roger Vadim has the first and weakest segment Metzengerstein – like I said, there’s always one. It stars Jane Fonda as an evil countess whose advances on her own cousin (played by her brother Peter Fonda) are rejected so she sets fire to his stables. It isn’t bad but Roger Vadim just isn’t in the same league as Malle and Fellini.
Louis Malle has the second segment and adapts Poe’s William Wilson. It stars Alain Delon and Brigitte Bardot. Delon is an Austrian soldier who is plagued by his doppelganger. It’s pretty good. The final story is Federico Fellini’s Toby Dammit which was loosely based on Poe’s Never Bet the Devil Your Head and is an excellent film. It stars Terence Stamp as Toby Dammit – a drunken actor who agrees to work on a movie in exchange for a Ferrari.
Arrow Video has just released this movie on Blu-Ray in the UK but fortunately for those of us in North America, the disc is region free meaning it can play here just fine. The movie has been restored and contains the English track including the narration by Vincent Price. Cool stuff.