Bright Lights Film Journal

What Are YOU Thankful For?


I’m thankful that the cult classic SPIRITS OF THE DEAD (1968), a trio of Edgar Allan Poe adaptations — “Metzengerstein” directed by Roger Vadim, “William Wilson” directed by Louis Malle, and “Toby Dammit” (above) directed by Federico Fellini — has finally been released in a reportedly gorgeous Region-free Blu-ray edition in which we get to hear Terence Stamp, the star of “Toby Dammit,” performing his role in his native English, a consummation for which I devoutly wished almost two years ago in this very blog.

“Metzengerstein,” starring Jane and Peter Fonda, is good; “William Wilson” starring Alain Delon and Brigitte Bardot, both in top form, is even better; but the real gem of the collection is Fellini’s “Toby Dammit” aka “Never Bet the Devil Your Head” – similar in many ways to his 8½ (like 8½, it’s a story about a movie personality caught in a media maelstrom) but more condensed (only 45 minutes long) and photographed in psychedelically intense color. Did I mention that it has a terrific Nino Rota score? And features a little girl who’s really the Devil? What more could anyone want?

[Blu-ray frame grabs courtesy of the invaluable DVD Beaver website.]