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1. La Dolce Vita (2-Disc Collector's
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2. Boccaccio '70 (Remastered Edition)
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3. 8 1/2 - Criterion Collection
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4. La Strada - Criterion Collection
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5. Amarcord - Criterion Collection
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6. Nights of Cabiria - Criterion
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7. I Vitelloni - Criterion Collection
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8. Juliet Of The Spirits - Criterion
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9. Fellini - Satyricon
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10. 8 1/2 (Single Disc Edition)
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11. Fellini's Roma
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12. City of Women
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13. The White Sheik - Criterion Collection
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14. Orchestra Rehearsal
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15. Spirits of the Dead
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16. And the Ship Sails On - Criterion
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17. Il Bidone
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18. Variety Lights - Criterion collection
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19. Intervista
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20. Spirits of the Dead

1. La Dolce Vita (2-Disc Collector's Edition)
Director: Federico Fellini
list price: $34.98
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Asin: B00005JKGO
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 658
Average Customer Review: 4.48 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (27)

5-0 out of 5 stars An Existential Masterpiece
Although "8 1/2" is often touted as Fellini's greatest work, this other, equal masterpiece from roughly the same period grows more and more profound over time. An amazingly photographed and energetic survey of ennui and despair, "La Dolce Vita" is Fellini's rumination on the intellectual and moral death of an aspiring artist, who is equally a Fellini surrogate and a stand-in for the director's perception of modern man.

Though it began life as a sequel to "Il Bidone," "La Dolce Vita" ended up an autobiographical precursor to "8 1/2" by fictionalizing Fellini's earlier life as a journalist and newspaper caricaturist rather than his career as one of the great filmmakers of the 50s and 60s. As the celebrity journalist in crisis, Marcello is fantastic -- as graceful and intelligent and sexy a performance as the screen has ever seen -- and his romp with the unbelievably pneumatic Anita Ekberg in the Trevi fountain is one of the great iconic moments of world cinema. There's a haunted, despairing quality to Mastroianni's acting here that is so subtle and cumulative that by the end of the film his predicament of quiet despair overwhelms the viewer.

Bottom line: no thinking person's film collection should be without this movie, which is as beautiful and moving as any piece of art ever created, in any medium. Fellini and his fantastic cast are all at their peak as artists, and few films have ever approached their achievement.

5-0 out of 5 stars Get this onto DVD!
My favorite Fellini film, combining the brilliant kaleidescopic parading of faces that characterize his later films with the humanistic neorealism of his earlier work. Told in a series of all-night parties that each end with the recognition of dawn, the movie tells the story of a tabloid writer who has risen to the top of his profession only to be dragged down because he can't find any sustaining meaning in the glitz and glamour.

But the story line, although more important here than in later Fellini films, is really just a device to put actors on the screen, and nobody does this better. The cast is real reason to see this; Mastroianni in the role of his life, Anouk Aimee as a bored rich woman, and Anita Ekberg spilling out of her dress as an American actress are merely the most famous - every single performance, even by the most trivial of parts, is astounding and some of the best ever captured on film. My personal favorite is the clown trumpet player with the balloons at the Cha-Cha Club - in the middle of his performance he flashes one quick look at Mastroianni that speaks volumes.

Unfortunately, the only version I have ever seen is in a standard screen ratio that is obviously badly panned - in a film this full of images there is almost more panning than actual camera movement going on, and still too much is happening off-screen. This movie needs badly to be letterboxed and given a new subtitle translation - but in the meantime, even if you have to settle for the poor VHS version, just enjoy what we have, from the awesome set pieces like the chasing of the Madonna and the final party, to the amazing Nino Rota score and the haunting organ melody of "Patricia".

5-0 out of 5 stars 5 star FILM--0 stars for a DVD that isn't released!!
WHERE IS THE DVD of 'La Dolce Vita'?? This is far superior art and entertainment to that wonderful-but-ridiculous '8 1/2' I mean, we all love Fellini, but why is his most coherent and artistically mature film lying around in some distributor's vault while trash like 'Shanghai Surprise' and box-sets of Whoopi Goldberg movies get all these million-copy releases?? Fellini is more than '8 1/2'; FEEL FREE TO RELEASE THIS DVD ANYTIME!! Ugh, do I have to get a region-free DVD player to watch foreign films? Heck, there are some American classic films that do not have release here, but are being printed in UK and European codes. What is wrong with American distributors?? We want our Fellini, and we want it now!! Gimme the sweet life gimme the sweet life GIMME THE SWEET LIFE!!!!

P.S. To all sympathizers, Bergman's 'Persona' is FINALLY getting American release in February. Cross your fingers they don't back out at the last minute in favor of a straight-to-DVD sequel to 'Finding Nemo': 'Filet of Nemo: Almond Crusted with a Side of Rice Pilaf,' starring the voices of Keanu Reeves, Jennifer Aniston, and Dom Deluise.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fellini 's Vita
I am very fortunate to meet Guiletta Masini, the lovely wife of Federico Fellini. I several times wrote letters to Fellini himself and he answered back me. That had been going for a while till he died. If you doubt me, I can provide you copies.
I am only one Deaf authority on Fellini and his movies. I have a good collection of video, vhs or dvd. Many books about him and his movies.La Dolce Vita and 8 and half are my top favorites. I saw them in 35mm, 16mm, tv, vhs and dvd versions but the 35mm verisons are always the best!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thanks, F.R. Gomez

3-0 out of 5 stars So ... ?
I does lack a plot. I almost fell asleep during the first half. It picked up during the 2nd half when the main character ran into his father. That was interesting for me, for personal reasons. But, having just watched it, all I can say is that it left me with an emtpy, hollow feeling. If that was the point, then the movie is quite successful. Mind you, I'm not the usual "simplistic" movie watcher. But that was my feeling... ... Read more


2. Boccaccio '70 (Remastered Edition)
Director: Mario Monicelli, Federico Fellini, Luchino Visconti, Vittorio De Sica
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Asin: B00080OB9I
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 2775
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

A summit meeting of great Italian directors of the era, Boccaccio '70 is an antipasto platter of vintage sex symbols and naughty material. Cooked up and bankrolled by Carlo Ponti and American producer Joseph E. Levine, the four-part film was meant to tap the international smash of Federico Fellini's La Dolce Vita, which gave audiences some refreshingly, you know, "mature" subject matter. Four directors were hired to create segments ostensibly based on the tales of Boccaccio:Fellini himself (in the lull between La Dolce Vita and 8-1/2), Luchino Visconti, Vittorio De Sica, and Mario Monicelli.

Monicelli's story, Renzo and Luciana, is an agreeable tale, full of everyday Roman life:an office worker (Marisa Solinas) must marry her boyfriend when she gets pregnant--although marriage is against company rules. Fellini's segment, The Temptation of Dr. Antonio, is fantastical and big-scaled. It tells of a censorious bluenose (Peppino de Filippo) who becomes incensed at the presence of a billboardfeaturing a sexy portrait of Anita Ekberg (selling milk)--a portrait that comes to life. For this bizarre escapade, Nino Rota composed an advertising jingle that will stick in your mind whether you want it to or not.

Visconti's The Job is the best segment, tracking the emotional chess game between a playboy (Thomas Milian) and his wife (Romy Schneider at her most gorgeous) after he is publicly exposed in a sex scandal. Finally, the De Sica piece (The Raffle) is a fairly broad romp that uses Sophia Loren as the reward in a raffle. Sophia's delicious, needless to say.

The finished product weighed in at a whopping 208 minutes, and Monicelli's segment was lopped off before the film showed at the Cannes Film Festival. It has never been restored, until this DVD release. All the segments are frankly too long, and none qualifies as an essential gem, but they do give the flavor of Italy's best at an especially exciting cinematic moment. --Robert Horton ... Read more

Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars A must for fans of the directors
BOCCACCIO 70 is made up of four short films, each around 45 minutes long.The DVD set is broken up into two DVDS, with two of the shorts on each, and the second DVD containing a few extras.

The transfer for all the shorts is absolutely stunning.I don't think it could have looked this good when it played in theatres.

Disc 1

The first segment, directed by Mario Monicelli, had long been unseen, at least in the US.It was removed from the US release of the film.It is the least of the four, but still quite watchable, about a newly married couple, dealing with their family and work.Not much to it, but an interesting view of everyday life.

The second is probably the strongest, by Fellini.I would argue that this is one of Fellini's most focused works (although I would admit that I find him to be overrated to some extent).It is a very funny film about a moral crusader who objects to a large billboard for milk, with Anita Ekberg on it.

Disc 2

The third segment is directed by Visconti starring Romy Schneider.A wealthy man is caught in a scandal, having to do damage control with his business associates and his wife.It is one of Visconti's lightest works, and also quite fun.

The final segment is De Sica's THE RAFFLE.A group of men enter a raffle, the prize being Sophia Loren.

The extras on the disc include the original US credits, trailers, and some brief interviews made at the time of the films release, as well as a photo gallery.

The film is a must watch for all fans of the directors.

3-0 out of 5 stars Drink your meelk!
This film I picked up more out of curiousity and because Fellini directs one of the viginettes. I had never seen any of the 4 mini films before, nor did I know of the controversy surrounding its universal release. Each film deals with sexuality in different ways. All of the films have impressive looking anamorphic transfers for being almost 45yrs old. There is English dubbed audio tracks though my copy kept switching back to Italian on its own.. English subtitles looked fine.
All of the films looked great and are restored anamorphic transfers. The Fellini film was my favorite by far. This is his first feature using color as well as featuring dreams/fantasy in his films. I couldn't help think of Attack of the 50ft Woman seeing thecharming Anita come to life off a billboard. This is as close to comedy as Fellini got , too bad he didn't explore this more often. Fellini's segment is almost an hour.

The Visconti piece was lavishly produced and feautured a troubled wife trying to rekindle that spark. This takes place in a high class French styled mansion. Romy is nice to look at even if she is rather pathetic. This mini drama was the most serious of the 4 and rather depressing as it unfolded.

The last two were rather light and forgetful even if Sophia Loren looked fabulous, and was omni present in her role as a carnival spinster with a change of heart.

The extras are fun. Lots of on set pics and lobby cards , plus a large fold out booklet with press clippings and news reviews.The U.S. and Italian trailers are intresting to compare.

If your a Fellini fan, you would do well to see this for his giantess fantasy alone!





... Read more


3. 8 1/2 - Criterion Collection
Director: Federico Fellini
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Asin: B00005QAPH
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 1745
Average Customer Review: 4.62 out of 5 stars
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Description

One of the greatest films about film ever made, Federico Fellini's 8 1/2 (Otto e Mezzo) turns one man's artistic crisis into a grand epic of the cinema. Guido Anselmi (Marcello Mastroianni) is a director whose film-and life-is collapsing around him. An early working title for the film was La Bella Confusione (The Beautiful Confusion), and Fellini's masterpiece is exactly that: a shimmering dream, a circus, and a magic act. The Criterion Collection is proud to present the 1963 Academy Award® winner for Best Foreign-Language Film-one of the most written about, talked about, and imitated movies of all time-in a beautifully restored new digital transfer. Disc two features Fellini's rarely seen first film for television, Fellini: A Director's Notebook (1969). Produced by Peter Goldfarb, this imagined documentary of Fellini is a kaleidoscope of unfinished projects, all of which provide a fascinating and candid window into the director's unique and creative process. ... Read more

Reviews (78)

5-0 out of 5 stars We invent ourselves endlessly!
1. Federico Fellini. Sensitive, vulgar - il maestro.
2. Saraghina - beauty and repulsion just a few jiggles away.
3. Sandra Milo is dimples dangerous and blessed.
4. Marcello M. as Guido Enselmi, loveable hypocrite.
5. Guido's father moaning about his burial arrangements.
6. A little fantasy in reality or a little reality in fantasy.
7. Claudia Cardinale carrying mineral water.
8. Crappy musical inspired by film. How many movies claim that honor?
1/2. The spaceship - masculinity/identity in progress of going up or coming down?

The "close but no cigar" portion of the list:
Terry Gilliam carries on about how scenes in this movie have influenced his career (see no.2); Nino Rota's music, brilliant as always, probably should have been included in my top eight list; DVD extras - especially lost gem A DIRECTOR'S NOTEBOOK; boring commentary; when this picture first opened in Italy, the anticipation was compared to the excitement over a new Rossini work in his time; Fellini was like a fish in water when it comes to film design and invention - a true master; It moves at its own pace and logic, critics be damned; Fellini was brilliant because the people who worked on his films were equally brilliant - the best in their respective fields; the whip-master fantasy, I can actually agree with the impulse behind that one; it's an epic about one man's over-sized ego - what a wonderful subject to create a brilliant film about! The perfect movie for a century that has been incredibly affected/effected by the ideas purported by the science of psychology. Fellini had stated he was a great admirer of Carl Jung's work, and it is no surprise he would take up that banner.

If you can, check out CITY OF WOMEN - another film by Fellini that works on a similar logic, but takes it several steps beyond what he did with 8 1/2. Ciao!

5-0 out of 5 stars Life is our greatest invention!
1. Federico Fellini. Sensitive, vulgar - il maestro.
2. Saraghina - beauty and repulsion just a few jiggles away.
3. Sandra Milo is dimples dangerous and blessed.
4. Marcello M. as Guido Enselmi, loveable hypocrite.
5. Guido's father moaning about his burial arrangements.
6. A little fantasy in reality or a little reality in fantasy.
7. Claudia Cardinale carrying mineral water.
8. Crappy musical inspired by film. How many movies claim that honor?
1/2. The spaceship - masculinity/identity in progress of going up or coming down?

The "close but no cigar" portion of the list:
Terry Gilliam carries on about how scenes in this movie have influenced his career (see no.2); Nino Rota's music, brilliant as always, probably should have been included in my top eight list; DVD extras - especially lost gem A DIRECTOR'S NOTEBOOK; boring commentary; when this picture first opened in Italy, the anticipation was compared to the excitement over a new Rossini work in his time; Fellini was like a fish in water when it comes to film design and invention - a true master; It moves at its own pace and logic, critics be damned; Fellini was brilliant because the people who worked on his films were equally brilliant - the best in their respective fields; the whip-master fantasy, I can actually agree with the impulse behind that one; it's an epic about one man's over-sized ego - what a wonderful subject to create a brilliant film about! The perfect movie for a century that has been incredibly affected/effected by the ideas purported by the science of psychology. Fellini had stated he was a great admirer of Carl Jung's work, and it is no surprise he would take up that banner.

If you can, check out CITY OF WOMEN - another film by Fellini that works on a similar logic, but takes it several steps beyond what he did with 8 1/2. Ciao!

3-0 out of 5 stars A CONTROVERSIAL MOVIE.
Frequently, the name or label "Art film" is given to a movie that presents innovative techniques, an experimental narrative, abstract and ambiguous characters, complex dialogues...and slow pace, with complicated scenes, so complicated that the audience doesn't quite know what's happening, sure you can say a theory or what you think might be happening, but in the "Art films" sometimes even the director can't give an accurate explanation. Anyway, since "8 ½" presents all those elements, "8 ½" is an art film.

Federico Fellini's cinema is one of the most mysterious and influent styles at the same time, modern filmmakers such as David Lynch owe a lot to the italian director. With "8 ½" happens something very interesting, there are a lot of scenes that are almost incomprehensible, but they are very interesting to see, because since the movie offers few explanations, the audience must be thinking most of the time, trying to solve the puzzle, so "8 ½" requires an active audience.

The cast is very good, the obvious mentions are Marcello Mastroianni and the gorgeous actress Claudia Cardinale. "8 ½" presents some of Fellini's trademarks: there are a lot of surreal scenes that look like a complicated Dream, or a Nightmare if you wish. The use of the camera is very artistic and groundbreaking. And the pace is slow.

The thing with the "Art cinema" is that for some, it's the only way of cinema that really counts, and for others the art cinema is just a pretentious way to call a slow and boring movie. I choose not to be in any of those extremes, I rather be in the middle because to me "8 ½" is a very, very interesting movie, worthy of study and analysis, but sincerely I think that Fellini did better movies, like "La Strada" or "La Dolce Vita".

Anyway, "8 ½" definitely is not for fans of the "American Pie" trilogy or the Adam Sandler's comedies. "8 ½" is for lovers of the cinema in its more artistic expression.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fellini's fragmented masterpiece of an internal crisis...
The prominent film director Guido (Marcello Mastroianni) finds himself overworked, harassed, and fatigued in all aspect of being. Guido is sent to a health spa where he is supposed to recover from his stressful life, but instead is continuously pursued by people around him, by his past, and by his conscious. The people around Guido are either dependent on him, desire his company, or merely try to advertise themselves in his presence. In order to cope with a large number of people Guido has developed a social dance where he is able to circumvent or approach the individuals of his choosing. This dance is also Guido's way of dealing with life and its complications, which affects him physically, psychologically, and socially.

8½ fragmentally displays Guido's life as he dances between reality, dreams, and memories in the developmental stage of a film production. This cerebral dance helps him to avoid what is deemed as uncomfortable as he escapes into his memories where he can find some joy and peace. However, Guido often reminds himself of how his past sometimes plagues him as he can recollect deep memories of discomfort and guilt. These negative emotions lead Guido into an internal crisis where he struggles with his decisions in the light of moral judgment that is heavily weighted by his Catholic upbringing. Despite the internal crisis, the dance continuous as Guido is compelled to flee his painful memories by seeking company outside of his marriage as he seeks self-affirmation when he is alone. The cheating provokes further guilt which urges Guido to remain dancing as he escapes into a dream world where he attempts to unify memories with the present where his consciousness sets the rules. But to Guido's dismay he finds the dreams forcing him back into reality as his dreams rebel against himself. This is due to his conflicting ideas that are simultaneously rejected and approved of in order to find temporary happiness and please those around him. In essence, it is Guido's denial of his own lies that is the root to his guilt and unhappiness.

Fellini's 8½ is a cinematic masterpiece, which encourages analytical and artistic thinking as it dives into a dense fabric of inventive imagery. Vividly Fellini paints Guido's moral crisis onto the silver screen, which offers a surreal cinematic experience as it drifts between reality and dreams. In addition, 8½ shows Fellini's profound understanding of human psychology, which possibly could have been based on himself. The fragmented story line enhances the visual feeling of the stress that Mastroianni's character experiences as well as developing a deep understanding for his mind. The opening shot where Guido dreams of being enclosed in a smoldering car stuck in traffic displays Fellini's true cinematic genius as he develops an image of panic, anxiety, and fear. This visualization is something that can be discovered in every film that Fellini has directed as well as his trademark of having a circus-like atmosphere. 8½ has everything of what makes it a Fellini film, which offers a unique experience that could only have been accomplished by a true cinematic artist.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best Movie About the Artist
I saw 8 ½ (1963) for the first time on South Street in Philadelphia at the old TLA theatre. I was in my mid-twenties and liked the big-breasted women. Saw the movie again yesterday at the Colonial in Phoenixville, PA, a wonderfully restored small town theatre, and reentered the world of the great director Federico Fellini. The cast consisted of Marcello Mastroianni (mid life crisis of the great director), Claudia Cardinale (the perfect woman), Sandra Milo (the chesty but dim lover) and Anouk Aimée (the ordinary wife he cheats on).For Fellini, 8 ½ continued a trend away from the realism of his early movies to a surrealistic view of his own life. The film has a simple premise. The great director has no idea what his next movie is about, while his producer and film company wait for Mastroianni to tell them what the movie is about. It does not help that Mastroianni falls in love with every woman in the cast and every woman he ever knew. The famous harem scene is near the end of the movie, where all the women in his life await his every whim. The older ones get banished upstairs. When the women revolt, he gets his whip and regains order. The women love him again. Oh, irony, but in Surrealism, Freud reigns supreme and dreams are a wish. I rate 8 ½ one of ten best movies ever made. ... Read more


4. La Strada - Criterion Collection
Director: Federico Fellini
list price: $39.95
our price: $31.96
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Asin: B00005JKGQ
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 2497
Average Customer Review: 4.39 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (49)

5-0 out of 5 stars Boys don't cry...or do they?
I vividly remember a summerday afternoon. I was a 4th grader boy. While I was watching this movie, I cried but didn't feel ashamed. I never cried while watching a movie until one of my freshman days. Then my favorite actor Robert De Niro's Mission was the one brought tears to my eyes (Remember the waterfall climbing scene he is dragging his armours?). La Strada is one of the most beautiful and powerful films in our history. It''s haunting! This is one of my top 20 if not top 5. But it's clearly one of TOP5 I'd feel like my life has a gigantic hole if I didn't watch it in my life. I'm glad watched this over and over again and I am glad we can own it now. How happy we are!

PS) My only complaint is (yes, there is one) at the end of movie, when Anthony Quinn hears a lady humming Gelsomina's song, it sounds too 'professional'. I always wish it had been recorded as if it's sung more casually.

3-0 out of 5 stars Is there a "glitch" in the "English" audio element?
I agree with almost all of my fellow reviewers, that this is probably one of the greatest films ever made. Since DVD's came about, I've been writing letters to Criterion (the company which restored it), asking that "La Strada" be released (especially by them). First of all, the picture quality is 10 out of 10, it's wonderful. The original "Italian" audio track is a joy to my ear, from beginning to end. BUT....the "English" audio track seems to be flawed (at least with this, the first release). In the beginning of the film, when Gelsomina is introduced to Zampano, about 3:30 min into the film, until 4:04 min into the film, there is a complete loss of sound. And once again from 4:20 min into the film, until 4:35 min into the film, there is another complete loss of sound. From then on, the audio is flawless. I contacted Criterion about this problem, and I was advised that it was probably a bad copy, and to contact AMAZON for a replacement. I did this, and AMAZON sent out a new copy within 2 days. Unfortunately, the replacement disk was flawed in EXACTLY the same places on the "English" track. Please check YOUR copy, and if it IS flawed, please contact Criterion about it. I tried BOTH of my copies on THREE DIFFERENT DVD players, and it was SAME problem on each machine, and at the same times that I mentioned. What are the odds of that? I'm a HUGE fan of Criterion and their work, and I think it's just a bug that needs to be worked out. Other than that, their restoration is a jewel in my collection.

4-0 out of 5 stars La Strada's English Soundtrack
In response to Stephen Lopez:I,too,contacted
Criterion regarding the English track.I received
the same reply.However,I can't accept their
answer because some years back,Criterion released
La Strada on laserdisc (a now-defunct video medium
used mainly by videophiles before the advent of DVDs)
which I've owned since its release.

The English soundtrack on this LD is flawless...not
a single "dropoff" from start to finish.

So...my hunch is that somebody at Criterion fouled

up somehow and the result is several minutes of
missing audio.

I'm still happy,however,that I purchased the DVD
because the video quality is outstanding!

1-0 out of 5 stars Dreary
Okay, so it's a famous movie by a famous director. So what? The acting is not especially good. (Yes, I realize part of the problem may be that the original dialogue had to be dubbed in Italian. But it is what it is.) The Gelsomina character is particularly annoying, so obviously trying much too hard to be cute and appealing, and coming off mostly as artificial and rather stupid. The plot barely exists, the cinematography is ordinary, and there isn't a single character whose fate I cared about.

1-0 out of 5 stars Overrated, Unimportant, and Poorly Produced
There, I said it. This film just doesn't have much going for it, other than positive word of mouth. I challenge you to find some substantive reasoning in the 5-star reviews... can't find it? That's because they're full of hot air.

Giulietta Masina is unattractive and a most unenjoyable screen presence. There, I said it again. Call me shallow, but I want my movie stars to be visually pleasing. Fellini reminds me of Citizen Kane demanding that his wife be a star. The original voice track production ruined the film: I wanted to hear the Italian voices but then couldn't hear Quinn's real voice (the whole film was dubbed, twice, it has no "original" sound). Also, Fellini's films are too long. If you are not telling the story of Gandhi or Lawrence of Arabia, then keep your drama to under 90 minutes. For a film with virtually no plot, La Strada takes a very long journey down such a short (and frankly, insignificant) road.

Regarding the Criterion DVD, the image is crisp. That's it. The special documentary is boring and could have fit on the first disc, I don't know why they used two. As usual, Criterion offers no subtitles beyond English. Marty Scorsese offers up a 120 second summary in which he doesn't really say anything complementary about the film. How much did he get paid for that interview, $10k, maybe $20? Don't worry, you're paying for it, as this disc is highly overpriced in the Criterion tradition. If you must, Enjoy! ... Read more


5. Amarcord - Criterion Collection
Director: Federico Fellini
list price: $39.95
our price: $35.96
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0780020693
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 4349
Average Customer Review: 4.38 out of 5 stars
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Description

In this carnivalesque portrait of provincial Italy during the Fascist period, Fellini satirizes his youth and turns daily life into a circus of rituals, sensations and emotions. Adolescent desires, male fantasies, and political repartee are set to Nina Rota's music in this beautiful transfer of Amarcord. ... Read more

Reviews (32)

5-0 out of 5 stars The magic of Fellini
Fellini's theme of coming of age memoir works as a beautiful nostalgic piece. The film resonates from an earlier film of his 8 1/2 showing the director's flashes to his seaside hometown. I've watched this film several times and on every occassion find something new. Here's a tip to enjoy watching a foreign film - Do NOT watch the English dubbed version if there is any - so much is lost in the film. Fellini's films work with subtitles because they make you forget you're reading them at all and as always, Fellini pleases both eye and ear and subsequently the heart. The musical score by Nino Rota is something one looks forward to in every scene. His music perfectly sets the tempo of each image, and I mean each and every one. What a duo of artistic genius these two men are! Watching the film on its excellent Criterion-restored DVD version, one can only wonder what the cinema world would be without Fellini.

5-0 out of 5 stars This work may be well Fellini's masterpiece
This collections of vignettes around his early youth, still remain as an outstanding triumph in the italian cinema.
The Fellini's style still influences in this age. Watch Ettore Scola (C'erovamo tanto amati) ,Giuseppe Tornatore (Cinema Paradiso and 1900)and Kusturica (Underground).
The irreverent moods created by this only surrealistic ambassador italian are a song to the freedom , a true 'ode to the joy' and a monumental rendition to the fertile imagination.
Amarcord in my view, is the peak of Fellini as dream maker, as story teller and above all as natural and organical sense of humor, in all of its possible and imaginable frequencies, since the virginal, poignant, irreverent, bitter and austere till the most no mercy satire.
Watch this unsurpassed film in its genre.
One of the glorious achievements not only of the cinema, but the art widely speaking.

5-0 out of 5 stars and i thought my uncle was nuts
this is a great cast of characters that intertwine with one another to tell the story of boys growing up. great anti-facist satire, and visual comedy. perhaps the best coming-of-age film ever, amarcord gets a standing ovation at precisely the 100:00 minute mark (check it yourself) as every young mans dream comes true, in this case, 100 times over.

fantastic transfer that shames my old VHS copy. check it out

5-0 out of 5 stars Fellini's greatest accomplishment
I can't believe how much I love this film. This is a film with splendid visuals: of course, there is the peacock in the snow, but how about the scene of Tio climbing the tree during his outing with the family, the motorcyclist racing through the walls of snow, or the fantasy marriage conducted by Mussolini. Fellini's imagination, and the visuals he produces to match these memories, makes this an unforgettable treat. He looks back fondly, perhaps too fondly, on the pre-World War II era in Italy. But we also see a memoir of a young man, coming of age during one highly eventful year of growing up.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fellini's Other Deeply Personal Extraordinary Film
Like 8 1/2 before it, Amarcord marks an extremely personal film for Fellini. Like his relationship to Guido in 8 1/2, the character of Titta serves as an extension of Fellini on film. Whereas Guido served as an extension of Fellini's state of mind, Titta serves as an extension of Fellini's childhood memories.

Through the retelling of emotional stories that deal with Titta and his family, Amarcord (which translates into "I Remember") presents a cyclical collage of wondrous nostalgia for the Italy of Fellini's childhood. Starting in the spring and ending their one year later with the return of the yearly "puffballs", we are presented with and touched by the many experiences that Titta comes face to face with.

At the same time, the film is much more than a mere visual presentation of Fellini's own nostalgia, for it also questions the true validity of one's own memories. This questioning of memory by Fellini is made apparent in the manner in which single scenes can go from "reality" based to fantasy-like parody back to "reality" based in a manner of moments.

One of the more noteworthy examples of this technique is the scene in which El Duce visits the local town square. In the scene the serious yet joyous procession of El Duce eventually turns into a comedic/fantasy experience in which schoolchildren are shown happily carrying guns in the imagined wedding of two schoolchildren in front of a giant talking Mussolini head. Moments later the film cuts to nightfall, in which the local Fascists soldiers wreak havoc on the town and afterwards interrogate and beat Titta's father. Depending on Fellini's own presentation of the Italian Fascists, (and just as importantly, the view in Italy towards the Fascists at that time) very different interpretations can be read of them. In using such a juxtaposition, Fellini (in his echoing of Arnheim's formalist theory) is purposely trying to express the impossibility of remembering and re-presenting a true account of the past as a result of the individual nature of memory itself.

Another scene that blurs the real and the imagined is Titta's late-night encounter with a large busty Tobacconist (she is given no true name within the film) just as she has closed up her shop. The woman, who Titta has fantasized about at an earlier point in the film, playfully flirts with Titta, a flirtation that eventually ends in a moment of extreme foreplay between the two. But the inexperienced Titta is unable to please the tobacconist, and she soon forces him to stop. At this time she acts as if nothing has happened, she gives him his tobacco and shows him out the store. How much of this was real, and how much of this was imagined both within the film and with regard to Fellini's own experiences? As is the case with many of the other sequences in the film, the answer is left up to the viewer.

Amarcord is thus not so much about reconstructing mirror images of the past, but rather more about how we would like to, and thus do, remember the past through our own distorted points of view. Andrei Tarkovsky deals with very similar themes in his film Mirror, albeit in a manner that is much less entertaining than Amarcord, which was released shortly after Amarcord.

**** (10/10) ... Read more


6. Nights of Cabiria - Criterion Collection
Director: Federico Fellini
list price: $39.95
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Asin: B00000IOKV
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 4827
Average Customer Review: 4.88 out of 5 stars
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Description

Giulietta Masina won Best Actress at Cannes as the title character of one of Fellini's most haunting films. Oscar® winner for Best Foreign Language Film, Nights of Cabiria (Le Notti di Cabiria) is the tragic story of a naive prostitute searching for true love in the seediest sections of Rome. Criterion proudly presents the restored director's cut in a breathtaking new transfer. ... Read more

Reviews (48)

5-0 out of 5 stars Ah, Fellini, Masina!
A prostitute whose life is a veritable study in the resilience of the human spirit is the subject of "Nights of Cabiria," directed by Federico Fellini. Giulietta Masina stars as Cabiria, a gentle soul at heart who manages to maintain a positive outlook even in the face of adversity. Experiences that would leave those of lesser mettle jaded she is seemingly able to ward off and emerge from intact, with a guarded optimism that nevertheless leaves her open to whatever ills life may have in store for her next. But it is just that optimism and her sense of joy in the simple things that makes her so endearing. She is proud, for example, of the fact that she owns her own house, hovel though it may be. Though not one to be easily duped, she is vulnerable to sincere persistence, which has in the past rendered her victim to those who would take advantage of her, which is succinctly established in the opening scene of the film. Fellini's film is a study of how good may succumb to evil, and yet still triumph in the end (though open to subjective interpretation). It's something of an examination of endurance; how many times can one be knocked down before finally being unable to stand back up again. At the same time, however, it's an example of how purity can prevail against even the utmost cruelty. There is a humanity manifested in Cabiria that somehow gives absolution, not only to her lifestyle, but to those who would willingly do her harm. And it is in that very same absolution that we find a message of hope and redemption. As Cabiria, the diminutive Masina gives a performance that is nothing less than superlative, filled with nuance and expression. She has a face and a manner that convey an unbelievable depth of emotion, and Fellini captures every bit of it with his camera to perfection. It sometimes seems that she is a sprite merely masquerading as a woman; she has a light, almost ethereal presence, though at the same time she exhibits an earthy quality that gives her character such complexity, which removes any semblance of stereotype one may assign to her character as a "lady of the evening." It is a heartfelt, memorable portrayal that quite simply should have earned her an Oscar for Best Actress. Turning in a noteworthy performance, also, is Francois Perier, as Oscar D'Onofrio, the stranger who comes into Cabiria's life with an offer that ultimately seems too good to be true. The supporting cast includes Amedeo Nazzari (Alberto Lazzari), Aldo Silvani (The Hypnotist), Franca Marzi (Wanda), Dorian Gray (Jessy), Mario Passante (Cripple in the "Miracle" sequence), Pina Gualandri (Matilda), Leo Cattozzo (Man with the sack) and Polidor (The Monk). "Nights of Cabiria" is a film of extraordinary depth that is beautiful as well in it's humanity; Fellini has created images, both visually and emotionally, that are stunning and indelibly realized. Highlighted by the performance of Giulietta Masina, this is a film that begs to be embraced, one that will stay with you long after the last shadow has passed from the screen into darkness. In Cabiria, Fellini somehow touches something eternal, for there is a lasting sense of innate goodness about her that simply cannot be forgotten. For seekers after wisdom and truth, this is definitely a film that must not be missed.

4-0 out of 5 stars a pretty nice film
This review is for the Criterion Collection DVD edition of the film.

The film's original title is "Le Notti di Cabiria" and was later remade as the film Sweet Charity with Shirley MacClaine.

This film is the story of a prostitute trying unsucessfully to find true love. This edition includes a famous "man with a sack" scene that was cut from from the film and is shown for the first time on home video. The film has good acting and some scenes with great humor.

the special features on the DVD include the original trailer, an audio interview with producer Dino DeLaurentiis, a video interview with Fellini's assistant, Dominique Delouche (conducted at his apartment in Paris) A scene from the film "The White Sheik" which was later released by Criterion, and a demo of the restoration.

The restoration is very impressive and shows how they were able to take a film that had faded severly and make it look almost brand new. The demonstration alone, is worth renting the DVD. If you like Fellini's movies, Buy it.

3-0 out of 5 stars Another classic that has left me COLD-but I warm easily
"La Notti Di Cabriria" is a fine showcase for the goofball charm of Giulietta Masina. I have no doubt that it has reduced many a mighty soul to tears and trembling. The story is tight and conveyed with authority and conviction. I am certain that this is a "good" movie that most people enjoy thoroughly. I'm going to back and watch it again, but as it stands, it just didn't move me like I expected it to. I can't very well give it a higher rating until it impacts me emotionally.

Still, I recognize that the film has an exceedingly dirty feel to it. Everything from Cabriria's occupation to the filthy beggars crying out for Grace from Maria --reek with a pestilence that cannot be washed off. The film is ugly--and Cabriria is presented like a little beacon of light to guide the viewer through the stinking pit of civilization. Masina does a fine job conveying the sufferings and triumphs of her character. I'm just not a big fan of these types of stories--I watched it because it is a Fellini film and I am trying to work my way through all his work. I will watch this again after I've made more of a dent in his output. I'll probably see it in an entirely different way and perhaps may even like it more.

Ultimately, if you love rooting for the little gal, this film is for you. She is very much like Chaplin's "little tramp" and you will enjoy observing her gritty determination to climb every mountain with a song in her heart. Watch it when you are not cynical, open to sweetness, and not afraid of the tyranny of the sun.

5-0 out of 5 stars Collector's Gem
Quality counts with the folks at The Criterion Collection, not just technically but in content too. This is one of Fellini's most fully realized films and the nostalgia and unflinching gaze that pervades all his best work is present in every frame. Everyone mentions Giulietta Masina's performance and there's a reason for that. She is brilliant. One of the most heart wrenching performances ever put on film. The DVD includes the "Man with the Sack" sequence that producer Dino de Laurentiis (more recently the production powerhouse behind the Hannibal Lecter franchise) excised from the original release. One can understand why a producer would want to trim it out - but its inclusion here makes the film seem larger somehow and Criterion should be applauded for putting it back in. This DVD is a vital part of your Fellini DVD Collection should you be assembling one. And you are, aren't you?

5-0 out of 5 stars poignant
I had never seen anything by Fellini when I picked up this movie. Not expecting much, I was astounded by the amazing performance of Cabiria by Masina. Masina gives the Cabiria character tenderness, vulnerability and comedy. I have never before or since seen an actress with the expressions of Masina, she was truly something special and a delight to watch. The transformation of the Cabiria character from beginning to end is fascinating to watch. The movie leaves the viewer with a lot to think about in regards to humanity, grace and kindness. ... Read more


7. I Vitelloni - Criterion Collection
Director: Federico Fellini
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Asin: B0002DB4YQ
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Federico Fellini's breakthrough film, the 1953 I Vitelloni, is one of the cinema's seminal stories about slacker males, and a highly entertaining one at that. Following the unfortunate failure of his comedy The White Sheik, Fellini prepared to shoot La Strada (he would release that early masterpiece in 1954), but decided at the last minute to make an autobiographical feature about mischievous, drifting, 30-ish losers in a small, seaside town. I Vitelloni clicked with international audiences and remains an obvious influence on such later classics as Breaking Away and Diner. But there's nothing like Fellini's almost self-mocking fusion of gritty neo-realism with the audacious, illusionary style he would later be entirely linked. The ensemble comedy follows the ever-diminishing fortunes of five young men who can't define, let alone jump-start, their dreams, particularly the caddish Fausto (Franco Fabrizi), who thinks nothing of molesting the wife of his father-in-law's best friend. --Tom Keogh ... Read more


8. Juliet Of The Spirits - Criterion Collection
Director: Federico Fellini
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Asin: B00005V6N6
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 4376
Average Customer Review: 3.97 out of 5 stars
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Description

Cinematographer Gianni di Venanzo's masterful use of Technicolor transforms Juliet of the Spirits, Fellini's first color feature, into a kaleidoscope of dreams, spirits, and memories. Giulietta Masina plays a betrayed wife whose inability to come to terms with reality leads her along a hallucinatory journey of self-discovery. The Criterion Collection is proud to present the fully restored version of one of Fellini's most dazzling dreams. ... Read more

Reviews (31)

5-0 out of 5 stars "C'mon Guilietta! We're all waiting!" (for you to come out)
This is a film about a woman in her 30s--a well-to-do Italian housewife--and the inner changes she experiences through several events in her life including, most prominently, the infidelity of the husband she loves. But it's much more too.

Fellini's stunning visuals--the colors and settings, the outrageous dress, and the fantastic score of Nino Rota, makes it seem as if Italy is the most exotic place on earth.

The first time I watched this film I was a bit put off by some of the events that didn't always make sense, as well as the annoying white subtitles that are difficult to read. But there was something about it that compelled me to watch again. I'm still not sure I understand the ending, or the role of the tall Spaniard, but there are many subtle and wonderful things happening.

The music of Rota is simply captivating. Most of it is carried by a lilting, swinging clarinet and a quirky organ in an unlikely but very rich marriage. I'm disappointed to find there is apparently no film score available on CD.

The viewer is treated to the whole litany and range of emotions of a woman suspecting her husband of cheating--and Guilietta Masina, in a great performance, tells it all in her face.

Guilietta also has visions. Her penchant for the spirts, along with the urging of her kooky friends, ("S/he only comes every seven years!") leads her to visit a spiritual charlatan, a phony guru, in a memorable and hilarious scene. "
"Isn't it an apple?"
"No dear, you must see beyond material form."

Guilietta's friends also try to persuade her to experience love beyond her marriage. I shan't tell the result but, again, Fellini treats the viewer to many, many exotic and unexpected scenes.

Finally, this film also explores the relationships of Guilietta to her husband, her mother and sisters, her friends, her husband's friends and her maids. In a sense, this is very much a woman's film. But it's more; it's surreal; it's certainly one for those tired of boring, contemporary films.

4-0 out of 5 stars FELLINI'S BEST FILM?
Federico Fellini's films often reflected an enticing and disturbing dreamworld. "JULIET OF THE SPIRITS" is his first color film and it is a delight to see the bright, vivid colors again. All previous existing prints on tape were deplorable transfers.

Simply put, the story focuses on a wealthy Italian housewife in her 30s and the interior metamorphosis she undergoes as she experiences the passages, events and changes in her life, most notably her husband's unfaithfulness. A husband she loves. No words can do justice to the stunning visuals -- cinematography, costumes and production design.

Many film buffs consider this Fellini's best film -- even better than his autobiographical "81/2" -- a film that is in many ways the psychological flip side of "Juliet."

Fellini was one of only a handful of world class filmmakers that was fully actualized as an artist. He could not only break the rules, but make new ones. And no one excelled better than he in visualizing an elliptical, ephemeral dreamstate that still speaks to our deepest feelings in a unique and fresh style.

Nina Rota's fantastical score raises the intensity of the images and nuances the fleeting emotions. See this great movie for the first time and discover a genius and humanist who painted with light.

Thanks to Criterion for continuing the tradition of gathering the greatest films from the finest filmmakers around the world and publishing them in editions that offer the highest technical quality and award-winning, original supplements.

4-0 out of 5 stars Who Doesn't Daydream...?
....It's a Fellini Cine, babes!

I was--like I have been while watching other foriegn films--put off initially by the seemingly incongruous little snippets of music and visuals. I mean, couldn't those Europeans make a movie that flowed better? Jeez! I open my mind, watched it a few times and came to these conclusions. First, Giulietta, the actress, must have been a bit off to have done this apparently semi-real story abouat a middle aged woman married to a famous director who she suspects is having an affair. I mean, she was married to Fellini when this was produced. Second, albeit the digital reprocessing has made the cinema more vivid and the costuming more striking, the women more sexier, it showed it's date. When Juliet goes to confront the lady about l'affair, she should have kick the B*'s tail. That probably would have been the response for a character in a current day movie. Third, in an odd sort of way, it all but helps a more modern Eyes Wide Open to make some kind of sense. I mean, who can say how we will respond when a whiff of infidelity comes into our relationships, our lives? Juliet's response were these visions. Some of these were from her far away youth. Some just were pure Fellini bacchanalia. Tom Cruise in Eyes was thinking well, if my wife can *think* it, well, I can just *do* it and be one up on her. It starts for Tom as 'getting even', but it corrodes into something else that he had no control over. (I always say we are forever one step from a huge disaster and we don't know it....) We see Juliet almost giving into her urges with the pretty Latin kid who she meets at her neighbor's...but something just doesn't feel right.

And so, that's what this film is about. What we go thru when we suspect something or hear some painful news. We have the brilliant Guilietta Masina and the surreal Fellini to thank for giving these emotions some sort of form..

5-0 out of 5 stars One of Fellini's best films
I started watching Fellini films as a young teen, seeing the older ones in the revival theatres, and eagerly anticipating his newest films. Juliet of the Spirits is truly my favorite Fellini film. The camera visuals and color are stunning. The wide screen format is imperative. I only wish that Criterion had also added the (bad) English language soundtrack. It's better for first time viewers. Some of Fellini's imagery is easily missed by reading too many subtitles.

3-0 out of 5 stars Beautifully Filmed Nonsense
While I admire the cinematic beauty of "Nights of Cabiria" and even its plot (as threadbare as it is, it's still good fun), by the time Fellini got to Juliet of the Spirits, he had really run out of things to say. Early on in the movie, there are harbingers of a plot, some suspense and even something verging on high drama, but none of these pan out, and instead we are left with.......a mess.

Giulietta Masina is a very great actress, it is just that there wasn't much material for her to work with. It is too bad she hitched her wagon to husband Fellini's star her entire career, because if she were just in a few movies with plots, character development and finely crafted dialogue, we could have discovered the full range of her talent.

In 1965, when this movie came out, there weren't so many movies about a woman's "midlife crisis" and her quest for "fulfillment"; By now this plot has become a cliche. As far as the story line goes, "Juliet of the Spirits" has got to rank among the worst, even losing out to the B-movies and straight-to-video films that are grist for the mill on Lifetime and The Oprah Channel.

And that is really a shame, because this is one of the most gorgeously filmed movies I've ever seen. Director of Photography Gianni di Venanzo's use of Technicolor is breathtakingly fascinating for its sumptuous use of warmth and its balance of colors and use of shocking hues. It rivals movies such as "Fantasia" and "Vertigo" for its artistic *visual* excellence.

Yet, this movie taken as a whole is rambling, unfocused and pretentious in a genre that is not too difficult to master. Some call Fellini's movies "surrealistic," and I have no argument with that. Perhaps my bourgeoise temperament lacks the patience to put up with it in two-hour-long doses. I prefer my surrealism in visual stills from Dali, Man Ray, Magritte.

The irony of it is that the best movie of the "woman finding herself" genre -- "Shirley Valentine", directed by Lewis Gilbert -- is filmed so dryly that it borders on incompetence. Imagine what a movie that would have made were the script put into the hands of di Venanzo and Fellini with a soundtrack by the great Nino Rota.

Altogether, viewing "Juliet of the Spirits" can be a pleasant experience, so long as one is concerned with camera work, editing, color timing and music. ... Read more


9. Fellini - Satyricon
Director: Federico Fellini
list price: $14.95
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Asin: B000059H9C
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 5508
Average Customer Review: 3.66 out of 5 stars
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Description

Encolpius is a Roman student who begins by arguing with his friend Ascyltus over the affections of androgynous youth Giton. Ascyltus wins, whereupon Encolpius embarks upon an odyssey, partaking in a drunken orgy and being kidnapped by a bisexual sea captain and his concubine.Encolpius eventually rejoins Ascyltus to visit a suicidal Roman couple, join in a plot to kidnap a "sacred" hermaphrodite, and much more. Loosely based on the book "Satyricon" by Gaius Petronius, the "Arbiter of Elegance" in the court of Nero, Federico Fellini wrote and directed this tongue-in-cheek hymn to the "glories" of pagan times via a bizarre journey through the decadence and debauchery of Nero's Rome. ... Read more

Reviews (53)

5-0 out of 5 stars It's About Time
For extended criticism of the film itself see my review of the VHS below.

The DVD of 'Satyricon' has been available overseas for some time, and I've been waiting impatiently for it to be released here in the US. The producers have done a good job with it. The picture is amazingly clear, and the colors are saturated, so that the sets are even more eerie than before. For a film with such highly designed sets, it's pleasant to be able to stop the film and get a good look at things that appear for only a fraction of a second at normal speed. I watched this on my computer, and I was pausing every few frames to get a good look.

An English soundtrack is provided. The lip-sync there is no worse than the Italian since the film was recorded in several languages. Supposedly the three main characters - Encolpio, Ascylto, and Gitone - were English hippies who Fellini picked up in Trafalgar square, and they spoke the dialogue in English. But I prefer the Italian; it justs sounds better. I wish they had provided Italian subtitles too. There's very little in the way of other extras. I would have liked some commentary, but I can't complain too much about this DVD.

1-0 out of 5 stars This movie is terrible
This was the first and the last Fellini movie I will ever purchase. The movie is totally incoherant. I do not see what is so compelling about this movie. It was a waste of my time.

5-0 out of 5 stars You don't get it? You may be the one being taunted,friend.
I firmly believe that if one does not "get" this film, then they are the type of person this film is satirizing. Something tells me that Fellini, with this film, came closer to illustrating the atmosphere of ancient Rome than anybody. It shows the pitfalls of superstition, how drugs and illusion play a role in what people have called "witchcraft","voodoo","macumba" and such. It shows the unmasked view of the delight that some people take in others' misery, in watching them suffer, and in confusing and bewildering them with smoke and mirrors. I enjoyed the scenes that depicted the morally reprehensible theatre of ancient Rome, especially in using period sound effects to illustrate how what we today see and hear in film and theatre is not so far advanced from the illusions that the ancient Romans used to propagandize and marginalize the lives of it's people. The parallel to modern society is so great that those who fit that materialistic mold won't get it, because their minds will protect them from the truth. However, we see over-indulgent despotic emperors using their wealth and power to seduce the minds of the populace. We see the same social elite engaging in disgusting orgies of food and sex. The main character, Encolpius, believing himself to be on a path of discovery is actually being lead through a maze of snares and traps at the delight of his so-called mentor. Soon one might be asking themselves if this man is mentor or tor-mentor to poor Encolpius. This film is a such a startling comparison to modern life that it could stop all temporal arrogance. How dare we think we're so advanced when our society behaves the same as they do, only the names and methods have changed. This is Rome, we live in Rome, it's only been transplanted over here and updated to "modern sensibilities" but Rome is still as decadent and wasteful as ever, as if we think we're rising above nature by destroying it. Well, isn't that how "civilization" works? Destroy one people's way of life and force them to conform to yours. This is Satyricon.

5-0 out of 5 stars Satire of the Satyr
Some movies you just have to see -- forget about plot synopses or snippets of dialogue, you just have to see it to understand. For these movies, there's no way to answer that most natural and inevitable of questions: What's it about? Satyricon is one of these movies.

I've been a fan of Satyricon for about four years, when I first took it out of the public library. I'd heard it was weird and had also seem some stills in movie books like LIFE Goes to the Movies. Something about freaks, absurdity, ancient Rome, I gathered. Maybe that was actually as much as I needed to know since that's what it all boils down to, at its essence.

I probably would have had more of an idea what to expect that first if I'd simply known about the director, Federico Fellini. At that time, I didn't, and so when I first sat down with Satyricon it struck me not just as an anomaly but as a major shock. Sure, I'd heard of Fellini, but this? This was Fellini? Why hadn't anyone told me? They should have shown this movie to me while I was in the crib, it was so cool.

Later on, through watching another great and bizarre film of his, Roma, I figured out what some of the Fellini motifs were and how strongly his personality and taste come through, but at the time, it was a bit of a mind-blower. This guy had survived making this film? Nobody put him in an insane asylum? He was considered great? Certainly I thought he was great, watching the movie, but I tend not to give fellow humans that much credit.

Knowing a bit more about Fellini at this point, I can say that while Satyricon isn't the anomaly I once thought -- Roma is pretty similar and I've heard other of his films also follow along in a similar style -- it is certainly in a class of its own. What's it about? Again, I can't say really, but pressed to the wall with a gun to my head, I'd squeal and saying it's a crazy experience, a vicarious exploration of insanity, of dreams, of an absurd adventure by a blond-haired poet who just wants to get his boy lover back and be done with it all. That summary doesn't really express any of it, but it's the best I can do and there it is.

Perhaps giving a little background would help. First of all, Fellini didn't make the story up, although the film is certainly a product of his imagination and he did make up a few scenes. The plot, such as it is, springs from that most bizarre and unprecedented of ancient works, Satyricon by Petronius. Nobody actually knows much about the author and this is his only work, but what can be said is that it's a book very different from what most people would expect of an ancient book. You can actually get a hint of this by its very title, which is a pun on satyr (from the Greek saturos) and satire (from the Latin satira), meaning that it's an attack on human vice or folly and a depiction of some serious depravity. Did I mention that this was written around the time of the reign of Nero?

Again, having read the original book -- had to having seen the movie -- I can say that it's nothing like any ancient work I've ever run into except possibly the poetry of Catullus, which is hysterically coarse at times. It's simply not ponderous. It doesn't dwell on gods or philosophy or sublime human comedy. No, instead, the book just creates its own territories and definitions. People have tried to analyze it -- the fragments that are left, now that several sections have been missing for ages -- and the general conclusion, so I've read, is that the novel, like the movie, is something far afield from the norm, a twisted tale of such originality as to make analysis within normal frames of reference irrelevant.

The question resurfaces: What's it about? A few scenes may help to convey a sense of its atmosphere at least, if not the plot, since the plot is rather secondary. Picture this: Our hero (well, anti-hero really) Encolpio ends up on a mission to collect a hermaphroditic god(ess) from a hidden temple. He and his companions show up in a cave where they find the god(ess) pale and weak, lying in a pool surrounded by worshippers seeking to be healed. They steal the god(ess), throwing the deity into a cart and fleeing across the desert. Unfortunately the god(ess) is weak and needs water. The god(ess) dies and for that, there is a punishment.

Encolpio and friends end up in another town (where he ends up in a battle with a man wearing a bull mask... don't ask) and although Encolpio is basically rewarded by getting to bed an insatiable woman, he is embarrassed before a crowd of hundreds when he can't get it up. He's been made impotent! To make things better, he's sent to a special treatment facility where he's put in a room filled with dozens of extremely exotic prostitutes who proceed to try just about everything to get a rise out of him. They pin him down and flog him. There's something about a giant swinging canopy with bevies of girls on it but even thought I've seen the film a half dozen times, I can't remember the specifics, nor do I remember if the "cure" was successful. It's besides the point.

I do remember more, though. I know an Roman couple lives in home built into the base of a cliff. They end up committing suicide by slitting their wrists. Later Encolpio and friends run around inside their house and find an African slave girl who speaks in clicks and squawks. There's another big section with a huge ship on rough seas; they capture a giant creature that looks like an ancient depiction of a whale. There's a theater of the absurd, a gallery of freaks, a hysterically fake earthquake, a massively disgusting feast, and oh, it's all in dubbed Italian (at the time, the Italians dubbed over everything, even Italian) with the subtitles making some sense but not all that much since really you use your eyes to understand. Ah, why do I bother trying to explain? What does it add up to? What does it mean? What's it about? Go and see it -- that way you'll find out.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the Greatest Movies
Occasionally a movie comes along in which a simplistic, mono-dimensional meaning isn't laid out in such a way that even the laziest minds just couldn't miss it. I remember as a teenager seeing this movie for the first time, and being astounded that all that people seemed to see were shocking depictions of Roman decadence. I had sat through the movie amazed at its extraordinary cinematography, and overwhelmed by a moral story of epic proportions. Like most great art, the meaning of Satyricon is multi-layered, and reflects against itself enough to hold a richness of ambiguity that unfolds more for me each time I see it. I was also incredulous to read reviews accusing the movie of being formless. On the contrary, Fellini had created a beautifully structured work out Petronius' rather episodic tales.
Satyricon is a powerful portrayal of a young man's quest to rediscover the potency he has lost in a corrupt world (our world being no less corrupt than that of Fellini's Rome), both sexually and aesthetically. The events and characters in the movie resonate deeply with mythic archetypes, all playing a part in Encolpio's quest.
If you want a key for delving into the structural and metaphysical meaning of this movie, consider the two legacies of Eumolpus: the first he offers to Encolpius as they lie in the fallow fields after being evicted from Trimalchio's Feast, just as the dawning sun begins to lighten the sky. The second he leaves at the end of the movie to those who will consume his body. The first is the wealth of poetry, of the heavens, the earth, the air, of life itself. The second is worldly wealth and its corruptions. How beautiful is the moment when Encolpius joins the ecstatic, dancing, laughing servants of Eumolpus to sail away from the bizarre funeral feast to the true legacy of the great artist. So with us: what are we able to take from the legacy of Satyricon - does Fellini offer us merely a superficial indulgence in the perversity of Roman decadence .... or rather, are we able to comprehend his true gift, a profound vision of the potency of life itself? ... Read more


10. 8 1/2 (Single Disc Edition)
Director: Federico Fellini
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Asin: B00006IUIG
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 6174
Average Customer Review: 4.62 out of 5 stars
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Description

Federico Fellini's towering masterpiece follows burned-out celebrity director Marcello Mastroianni through a series of bizarre encounters and wild daydreams, the first of which finds him ascending into the clouds during a traffic jam. Seeking solace and rejuvenation at a remote health spa, he finds himself plagued by journalists, his producer, his mistress, and most inconvenient of all, his wife ("A Man and a Woman's" Anouk Aimee). Caught between past, present, and fantasy, he longs to make a pure and honest film while his producer goads him into shooting a big budget science fiction spectacle. Widely regarded as one of the greatest films ever made, this visually dazzling feast also stars Claudia Cardinale (The Pink Panther), Barbara Steele (Black Sunday), and Rossella Falk (Modesty Blaise). Outrageous and unforgettable! 1963 Academy Award winner for Best Foreign-Language Film. ... Read more

Reviews (78)

5-0 out of 5 stars We invent ourselves endlessly!
1. Federico Fellini. Sensitive, vulgar - il maestro.
2. Saraghina - beauty and repulsion just a few jiggles away.
3. Sandra Milo is dimples dangerous and blessed.
4. Marcello M. as Guido Enselmi, loveable hypocrite.
5. Guido's father moaning about his burial arrangements.
6. A little fantasy in reality or a little reality in fantasy.
7. Claudia Cardinale carrying mineral water.
8. Crappy musical inspired by film. How many movies claim that honor?
1/2. The spaceship - masculinity/identity in progress of going up or coming down?

The "close but no cigar" portion of the list:
Terry Gilliam carries on about how scenes in this movie have influenced his career (see no.2); Nino Rota's music, brilliant as always, probably should have been included in my top eight list; DVD extras - especially lost gem A DIRECTOR'S NOTEBOOK; boring commentary; when this picture first opened in Italy, the anticipation was compared to the excitement over a new Rossini work in his time; Fellini was like a fish in water when it comes to film design and invention - a true master; It moves at its own pace and logic, critics be damned; Fellini was brilliant because the people who worked on his films were equally brilliant - the best in their respective fields; the whip-master fantasy, I can actually agree with the impulse behind that one; it's an epic about one man's over-sized ego - what a wonderful subject to create a brilliant film about! The perfect movie for a century that has been incredibly affected/effected by the ideas purported by the science of psychology. Fellini had stated he was a great admirer of Carl Jung's work, and it is no surprise he would take up that banner.

If you can, check out CITY OF WOMEN - another film by Fellini that works on a similar logic, but takes it several steps beyond what he did with 8 1/2. Ciao!

5-0 out of 5 stars Life is our greatest invention!
1. Federico Fellini. Sensitive, vulgar - il maestro.
2. Saraghina - beauty and repulsion just a few jiggles away.
3. Sandra Milo is dimples dangerous and blessed.
4. Marcello M. as Guido Enselmi, loveable hypocrite.
5. Guido's father moaning about his burial arrangements.
6. A little fantasy in reality or a little reality in fantasy.
7. Claudia Cardinale carrying mineral water.
8. Crappy musical inspired by film. How many movies claim that honor?
1/2. The spaceship - masculinity/identity in progress of going up or coming down?

The "close but no cigar" portion of the list:
Terry Gilliam carries on about how scenes in this movie have influenced his career (see no.2); Nino Rota's music, brilliant as always, probably should have been included in my top eight list; DVD extras - especially lost gem A DIRECTOR'S NOTEBOOK; boring commentary; when this picture first opened in Italy, the anticipation was compared to the excitement over a new Rossini work in his time; Fellini was like a fish in water when it comes to film design and invention - a true master; It moves at its own pace and logic, critics be damned; Fellini was brilliant because the people who worked on his films were equally brilliant - the best in their respective fields; the whip-master fantasy, I can actually agree with the impulse behind that one; it's an epic about one man's over-sized ego - what a wonderful subject to create a brilliant film about! The perfect movie for a century that has been incredibly affected/effected by the ideas purported by the science of psychology. Fellini had stated he was a great admirer of Carl Jung's work, and it is no surprise he would take up that banner.

If you can, check out CITY OF WOMEN - another film by Fellini that works on a similar logic, but takes it several steps beyond what he did with 8 1/2. Ciao!

3-0 out of 5 stars A CONTROVERSIAL MOVIE.
Frequently, the name or label "Art film" is given to a movie that presents innovative techniques, an experimental narrative, abstract and ambiguous characters, complex dialogues...and slow pace, with complicated scenes, so complicated that the audience doesn't quite know what's happening, sure you can say a theory or what you think might be happening, but in the "Art films" sometimes even the director can't give an accurate explanation. Anyway, since "8 ½" presents all those elements, "8 ½" is an art film.

Federico Fellini's cinema is one of the most mysterious and influent styles at the same time, modern filmmakers such as David Lynch owe a lot to the italian director. With "8 ½" happens something very interesting, there are a lot of scenes that are almost incomprehensible, but they are very interesting to see, because since the movie offers few explanations, the audience must be thinking most of the time, trying to solve the puzzle, so "8 ½" requires an active audience.

The cast is very good, the obvious mentions are Marcello Mastroianni and the gorgeous actress Claudia Cardinale. "8 ½" presents some of Fellini's trademarks: there are a lot of surreal scenes that look like a complicated Dream, or a Nightmare if you wish. The use of the camera is very artistic and groundbreaking. And the pace is slow.

The thing with the "Art cinema" is that for some, it's the only way of cinema that really counts, and for others the art cinema is just a pretentious way to call a slow and boring movie. I choose not to be in any of those extremes, I rather be in the middle because to me "8 ½" is a very, very interesting movie, worthy of study and analysis, but sincerely I think that Fellini did better movies, like "La Strada" or "La Dolce Vita".

Anyway, "8 ½" definitely is not for fans of the "American Pie" trilogy or the Adam Sandler's comedies. "8 ½" is for lovers of the cinema in its more artistic expression.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fellini's fragmented masterpiece of an internal crisis...
The prominent film director Guido (Marcello Mastroianni) finds himself overworked, harassed, and fatigued in all aspect of being. Guido is sent to a health spa where he is supposed to recover from his stressful life, but instead is continuously pursued by people around him, by his past, and by his conscious. The people around Guido are either dependent on him, desire his company, or merely try to advertise themselves in his presence. In order to cope with a large number of people Guido has developed a social dance where he is able to circumvent or approach the individuals of his choosing. This dance is also Guido's way of dealing with life and its complications, which affects him physically, psychologically, and socially.

8½ fragmentally displays Guido's life as he dances between reality, dreams, and memories in the developmental stage of a film production. This cerebral dance helps him to avoid what is deemed as uncomfortable as he escapes into his memories where he can find some joy and peace. However, Guido often reminds himself of how his past sometimes plagues him as he can recollect deep memories of discomfort and guilt. These negative emotions lead Guido into an internal crisis where he struggles with his decisions in the light of moral judgment that is heavily weighted by his Catholic upbringing. Despite the internal crisis, the dance continuous as Guido is compelled to flee his painful memories by seeking company outside of his marriage as he seeks self-affirmation when he is alone. The cheating provokes further guilt which urges Guido to remain dancing as he escapes into a dream world where he attempts to unify memories with the present where his consciousness sets the rules. But to Guido's dismay he finds the dreams forcing him back into reality as his dreams rebel against himself. This is due to his conflicting ideas that are simultaneously rejected and approved of in order to find temporary happiness and please those around him. In essence, it is Guido's denial of his own lies that is the root to his guilt and unhappiness.

Fellini's 8½ is a cinematic masterpiece, which encourages analytical and artistic thinking as it dives into a dense fabric of inventive imagery. Vividly Fellini paints Guido's moral crisis onto the silver screen, which offers a surreal cinematic experience as it drifts between reality and dreams. In addition, 8½ shows Fellini's profound understanding of human psychology, which possibly could have been based on himself. The fragmented story line enhances the visual feeling of the stress that Mastroianni's character experiences as well as developing a deep understanding for his mind. The opening shot where Guido dreams of being enclosed in a smoldering car stuck in traffic displays Fellini's true cinematic genius as he develops an image of panic, anxiety, and fear. This visualization is something that can be discovered in every film that Fellini has directed as well as his trademark of having a circus-like atmosphere. 8½ has everything of what makes it a Fellini film, which offers a unique experience that could only have been accomplished by a true cinematic artist.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best Movie About the Artist
I saw 8 ½ (1963) for the first time on South Street in Philadelphia at the old TLA theatre. I was in my mid-twenties and liked the big-breasted women. Saw the movie again yesterday at the Colonial in Phoenixville, PA, a wonderfully restored small town theatre, and reentered the world of the great director Federico Fellini. The cast consisted of Marcello Mastroianni (mid life crisis of the great director), Claudia Cardinale (the perfect woman), Sandra Milo (the chesty but dim lover) and Anouk Aimée (the ordinary wife he cheats on).For Fellini, 8 ½ continued a trend away from the realism of his early movies to a surrealistic view of his own life. The film has a simple premise. The great director has no idea what his next movie is about, while his producer and film company wait for Mastroianni to tell them what the movie is about. It does not help that Mastroianni falls in love with every woman in the cast and every woman he ever knew. The famous harem scene is near the end of the movie, where all the women in his life await his every whim. The older ones get banished upstairs. When the women revolt, he gets his whip and regains order. The women love him again. Oh, irony, but in Surrealism, Freud reigns supreme and dreams are a wish. I rate 8 ½ one of ten best movies ever made. ... Read more


11. Fellini's Roma
Director: Federico Fellini
list price: $14.95
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Asin: B000059H9B
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 4803
Average Customer Review: 4.18 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Federico Fellini's 1972 ode to the city of Rome is far from a coherent narrative, but as a selection of images and sounds celebrating the famed Italian capital, it's dazzling and hugely enjoyable. Stylistically, it's a perfect bridge between the excesses of Satyricon and the nostalgia of Amarcord, and it showcases the true love that Fellini had for the Eternal City. Mixing autobiographical flashbacks with the travails of a present-day movie company making a film about the city (headed up by Fellini himself), Roma is an impressionistic tour de force, delivered via Fellini's unique cinematic vision. If you can't tolerate Fellini's larger-than-life approach, the sometimes-garish colors, or the circus atmosphere, you'll probably find Roma insufferable. But fans of Fellini will be in seventh heaven, especially during some of the wonderful set pieces--a music dance hall performance that's interrupted by bombing during World War II; a papal fashion show that's so surreal it must be seen to be believed; and a breathtaking sequence in which the film crew, tagging along with an archaeological dig, happens upon an ancient Roman catacomb and watches as the beautiful murals disintegrate before their eyes. Through it all, Fellini's passion for Rome (and moviemaking) shines through, especially in the film's climax, a dialogue-free sequence of motorcycles roaring through the city at night, a tour that ends at the magnificent Colosseum. At that marriage of past and present, Roma is about as perfect as cinema can get. --Mark Englehart ... Read more

Reviews (17)

4-0 out of 5 stars Fellini's mixture of strange & contradicting images of Roma
Opening narration: "The film you are about to see does not have a story in the traditional sense with a neat plot and characterss that you can follow from the beginning to the end. This pictures tells another kind of story--the story of a city." And Fellini gives a loving, sometimes poking playful commentary, at times tragic portrait of Rome from his time as a boy in Fascist Italy to 1972, when this film was made.

Rome. As in Romulus and Remus, the river Tiber, Julius Caesar, the Colisseum, it's a city steeped in history as a great empire that rose and fell, and the film starts with Caesar and the crossing of the Rubicon, and how he is still revered in school. There is even a statue of Caesar in his town: "apart from his usefulness to the pigeons, he was a common meeting place for the town."

Speaking of common meeting places, there are two scenes where that aspect is emphasized. Fellini recalls of the apartment block where he stayed for a while, agog at the various characters, crying children, scolding mothers, etc. Eating was taken seriously, and who ate? Kids, mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, grandparents, great-grandparents, friends, friends of friends... there must have been at least a hundred or so people at the dinner feast. As one woman tells him, "They say eat alone, the devil cheers. Eat with friends, the devil jeers." The table is rife with complaints, insults, greetings, even a little girl who sings an obscene song, eliciting laughter and scandalized looks. Similarly, there is the Festa De Noantri, the Festival Of Ourselves, where the Romans celebrate themselves, and the celebrants are either long-time residents or people who thought they were passing by and stayed forever. The term "carnival-of-life" has been used to describe Fellini's movies, and this is very true here.

Fellini's film unit visually "describe[s] the entry into thecity via the ring of motorways that surrounds her [Rome] like a Saturn of rings." The scene of the modern super highway speaks of the tragic toll industrialization has taken, and the raining deluge adds to the misery. Hitchhikers, prostitutes, cement trucks, even a tank and a guy pushing a cart, highway patrol, communist student protesters, insane bumper to bumper traffic, and the most tragic scene, an overturned and burning truck-trailer, dead cows littering the road, firefighters fighting the blaze. Yet history does rear its head. Plans to make a Roman subway is halted and delayed because of the unpredictable Roman subsoil. "Every 100 yards, you come across something of historical importance." The workers have to learn speleology and archaeology as a result. And when will the subway be done? Who knows?

At a wartime variety show, an intellectual-looking member of the audience remarks, "We are seeing basic humanity here. Vaudeville is the arena of mass aggressiveness, a combination circus and brothel." Given the rowdiness of certain coarse members of the audience who heckle at comics or whistle at the girls, that's true enough. But might that not also be a commentary on Rome and maybe any large city?

There's also the pleasant enough handsome Peter Gonzalez portraying the young Fellini and we see the look of 1930's Rome through his eyes. Interesting images and characters underpoint any Fellini film and this is no different. The huge hulk of a man at the theatre who has a wet rag thrown at his face, a religious fashion show that becomes garish, and the various prostitutes at the brothel are just some of them. Interesting commentary on brothels and churches: "an invitation to sin, one that could be confessed to the next day."

So what is Rome, in the end? A city that has died and been resurrected so many times, that it's fitting to witness the coming end of civilization from there as Gore Vidal says? The vestal virgin and she-wolf, an aristocrat and tramp, a somber buffoon? The unflattering latter is given to actress Anna Magnani, whom Fellini calls the living symbol of Rome--(she died a year after this brief appearance). In the end, I'd say all these things and more.

5-0 out of 5 stars A magical film, the very best of Fellini!
ROMA is a total treat of a movie. Rather than a continuous, plotted narative, it provides vignettes of "typical" Roman life. For my mind, it provides some of the strongest images ever filmed. Highlights include a totally irreverent ecclesiastical fashion show that is not to be missed, and a journey into an archaeological treasure beneath the streets of Rome. It features traffic, life during World War II, apartment life, eating, and delightful visits to the red light district.

This isn't a film for children. It IS a film you simply must see!

5-0 out of 5 stars 2757 (Ab Urbe Condita)
Would "Caligula" or "Nero" be shocked at what their city, the Eternal City, the City to which all roads once led, has become so many years into the distant future? Or would they (probably more likely) find a way to fit right in somehow? This is one of the "notions" that I found myself pondering as I watched this movie. It really is a great movie, and it is certainly worth any true film fan's time. I may have even liked (some of it at least) better than (again, "some of") La Dolce Vita.
Having grown up in a very Italian family - with my father having been born in a "pagliarone" ( roughly, a slang dialect term meaning "stone hut") in an ancient and very rural village probably not much unlike the one Fellini's main character ventures out to Rome from - I myself was definitely "right at home" , so to speak, watching scenes like the famous "dinner on the piazza". (Personally I could watch that scene again and again and not get tired of it, but...maybe it is "an Italian thing", so to speak, and others would not find it so amusing). However there certainly is no dearth of general humor to be found in the antics of the wild cast of characters which Fellini always brings into his films. And Roma of course is no exception to this. For example, the bedridden obese old woman in a hairnet, who owns the building that he stays in in Rome when he first arrives there, who tells him, "now let's just live in peace and not bust each other's balls"! Or the bald old man who does a rather convincing Mussolini impersonation. My personal favorite though would probably be either the ultra-tanned would-be "Continental" kind of guy who approaches the female American tourist telling her, "You VERY bella" and offering to take her picture, OR the guy in the piazza scene (which is supposed to have taken place some thirty years prior to that) who was wearing one of those nylon "do-rags" that rap stars favor today, and yelling up to his dark, beautiful brooding girlfriend to get down to the piazza before he beats the hell out of her ... "again". Sure, these are walking stereotypes, these characters, and negative ones at that. But, as they say, there is a kernel of truth (at least) in all stereotypes is there not? For instance that "dinner on the piazza" scene that I mentioned before? It does perhaps resemble some sort of "prototypical" summer-night-in-Bensonhurst, or somewhere like that, with plenty of gold chains, "dago-t's", and "pane e vino" to go around.
On a more serious note however the most touching scene (and this is a point that is usually generally agreed upon, I think, by most of the movie's fans) is the scene of the sudden (and apparently accidental) destruction of the ancient Roman frescoes by the modern Roman work-crew. Obviously this is Fellini's artistic "condemnation" , if you will, of the massive industrialization of the City in modern times, and the (clearly potentially disastrous) effects of what we may call the "godless modern" encountering the ancient and sacred. Cruel and loud machinery encountering the long-buried, the "resting-in-peace", the, once again, "sacred". It is in a way akin to some of the imagery in the much newer film called Fahrenheit 9/11. There we see American tanks and fighter jets turning up the sand with shells and bombs, and setting fires and explosions, in the very "Cradle of Civilization", the land of the very first codified and written-out system of law and order. Such imagery, like Fellini's vision of the vanishing ancient frescoes, is so evocative it can truly make the viewer want to weep.
Athough Roma has improved much since Fellini filmed it back in 1972 ( I just left there myself a couple of months ago so I can say this is definitely so), in this film, during the time that he is showing it to us, the City appears to be delusional, vaguely delirious with fever perhaps, or in the throes of a restless night full of tossings-and-turnings and wild "half-waking" dreams. It is these dreams which are in fact the "images" and "vignettes" that Fellini shows to us throughout the film.
Overall, in comparison with the (mostly) worthless garbage that is cluttering the racks at your local neighborhood video rental store, this film (ANY of Fellini's films for that matter) would certainly be much more rewarding for the would-be connoisseur of truly good movies to pick up and take home tonight.

1-0 out of 5 stars Yes, it was weird
It is not only incoherent, but inconsistent. There is one scene, in which old frescoes, newly discovered, are destroyed by exposure to the fresh air, which does seem to convey some meaning or message. Everything else seems to be just weirdness for its own sake, or vulgarity for its own sake. There isn't anything in the film that actually reveals anything about Rome. If you tell me I "just don't get Fellini", I will happily agree with you.

5-0 out of 5 stars More real than real
In watching this film, especially the parts shot at 'home' in the apartment, one gets that alien feeling as if showing embarassing home movies to a stranger. There is an unapologetic "this is life, have some wine and pasta and shut up you mouth" feel to parts of this movie that I wouldn't change! Having been raised mostly by an Italian family, I noticed certain subtle things about the people depicted, especially in the big feast scene, that many wouldn't pick up on. The unruly child singing the song with naughty lyrics (cute and funny), the vicar walking around shaking his money bag hoping for donations, and the best part of that scene...
A dark handsome young man with a do-rag and pullover sweater is shouting to his lady that she stop her whining and come down and join the feast! It's a wonderful little scene the way he has to coax her down, then she's glad she came.
However, Fellini is not one to leave it up to the subtleties. The scene of the fashion show for Catholic clergy is unmatched in it's genius. NOTE THE OBVIOUS SWIRLING, SHINING SUN-DISK BEHIND THE POPE! The Pope comes out, resplendant in a shining golden garment, looking like the Sun King, and I must say...it took Fellini to figure that out!
Another highlite for me is the scene in the vaudeville style theatre. There is just something disturbing about the whole scene that I cannot put my finger on. At the same time it's wildly entertaining, especially the antics of one particular teenager with a certain big fella. Whack! What has always been the most disturbing for some reason is the act that comes from the back of the theatre. Three men dressed in black coats and tails, faces painted white, black derby hats, holding long white candles come out and do a few numbers. They are trippy, they are freaky, and I can't figure out why, but they are downright scary to behold. For the life of my I can't say why.
In writing this review I have jumped around, stopping my typing to insert something out of order, just like Fellini. Not just like Fellini, that's impossible. I must say though, he has warped my sense of perception in films for the better.
I'm not going to ruin it for you. You simply must see the movie. ... Read more


12. City of Women
Director: Federico Fellini
list price: $29.95
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Asin: B000056EWE
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 12473
Average Customer Review: 4.18 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars Finally the best of Fellini makes it to DVD!
Underrated by moviegoers at large, and underappreciated even by Fellini fans, "City of Women" is in my opinion the best movie Fellini has made. With its dream-like but devastatingly accurate script, Fellini has poured into this movie everything he has learned about women... Awesome!

Until now, fans of the movie had to make do with poor VHS tape transfers, since the film never made it into laserdisc. No more; happily, the new DVD anamorphic transfer is quite good! A must have for Fellini fans.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great movie, good transfer
City of Women is probably the most complete culmination of Fellini's dreamlike film-language aspirations. The DVD is slightly disappointing because the color saturation is slightly low. Also, I had problems with the dvd because I view on a computer screen. I believe this transfer was made from a tape master: scanline artifacting can be seen here and there and it's a bit distracting. But the image is pretty sharp, and what images...! Also, it's nice to be able to turn off the subtitles for once and watch just those potent, dreamlike, dancelike, painterly images play out before your eyes. They could have done a better job with the transfer, but if you love Fellini this is a must have DVD!

4-0 out of 5 stars Not Fellini's best, but not his worst
First, I have to say that I am a fan of late-period Fellini. If you prefer his earlier work (pre-Juliet of the Spirits), you may not like his later, more indulgent work.

City of Women is about women, specifically feminists. Women were always one of Fellini's favorite topics, and this film is his attempt to understand the various (often contradictory) aspects of the feminist movement (or movements). As such it's rambling, with no real center or plot to speak of. Marcello Mastroianni (Fellini's favorite alter-ego) plays womanizer Snaporaz, who, upon following a woman off of a train, winds up in the midst of a kind of feminist convention. After roller-skating down some stairs and bumming a ride with a nymphomaniac and some junkies young enough to be his granddaughters, he winds up in a kind of temple to womanizing. It's a strange film.

This film doesn't approach the experimental or lyrical depths of its successor, And The Ship Sails On, but in my opinion it's superior to its predecessor, Orchestra Rehearsal.

The DVD has a decent transfer and a few extras: a brief interview with Fellini (always a treat) and a featurette containing interviews with some Fellini associates and scholars. A decent DVD of a decent film.

2-0 out of 5 stars Late period Fellini
Starting as early as Juliet of the Spirits, Fellini began a trend toward opulence in his films, at the expense of meaningful ideas. I have no qualms with this decision, he was growing as a director, exploring color and production design more fully than screenwriting. We will always have his indisputable classics like La Strada, Nights of Cabiria and La Dolce Vita. Amarcord is perhaps his best color film. Fellini was probably seduced by the stylistic choices that color afforded, allowing his imagination to run rampant. That is exactly what happened with City of Women.
This film is much better by the end than you would have thought had you walked out at the beginning. I almost turned it off finding it lame, and it is rather thin. Marcello Mastroianni gets off at the wrong stop on a train and ends up in a nightmarish and yes, Felliniesque City of Women. The film sends up feminists, and there's even a lone "macho" man who lives in a huge castle.
The film has fantastic visuals, but they overpower any meaning that there might be in them. One memorable exception shows Mastroianni sliding down a huge slide as his sexual history flashes before his eyes.
I have yet to see a noble film featuring sex as its theme. City of Women is eye candy, and understanding that, you'll probably have a good time.

5-0 out of 5 stars WHAT CAN I SAY - FELLINI+MASTROIANNI
Fellini and Mastroianni... What an unbeatable combination of tallant. This is history. ... Read more


13. The White Sheik - Criterion Collection
Director: Federico Fellini
list price: $29.95
our price: $26.96
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Asin: B00008H2GS
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 6995
Average Customer Review: 4.33 out of 5 stars
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Description

Ivan Cavalli (Leopoldo Trieste) brings his new wife Wanda (Brunella Bovo) to Rome on the least romantic honeymoon in history—a rigid schedule of family meetings and audiences with the Pope. But Wanda, dreaming of the dashing hero of a photo-strip cartoon, drifts off in search of the White Sheik, thus setting off a slapstick comedy worthy of Chaplin. The style and themes which made Federico Fellini world famous are already apparent in this charming comedy (his first solo directorial effort), featuring such long-time collaborators as his wife, actress Giulietta Masina, and composer Nino Rota. ... Read more

Reviews (6)

4-0 out of 5 stars Early Fellini
This is a glorious trasfer of one of Fellini's earliest films. This film is much more simple and light than many of Fellini's subsequent films, but it has a charm all of its own. The fairly straightforward story holds very few surprises or twists, but it also a nice exploration of fantasy vs. reality. The introduction of the White Sheik sitting in his swing, high in the air is a wonderful moment. As the film goes on, the dashing sheik just becomes to us an overweight and vain man and our illusions, like the young wife's, are dashed. Variations of this story have been done many times, but this is one of the most pure and enjoyable.

The film is also notable for the introduction of Cabiria (Giulietta Masina) who would have her own Fellini film a few years after. It's not a very long scene, and it is included in its entirety on the "Nights of Cabiria" DVD by Criterion. Despite that, this is still a DVD worth owning to watch a master filmmaker get used to his craft.

4-0 out of 5 stars FELLINI'S FINE FIRST FEATURE
THE WHITE SHEIK is Federico Fellini's 1951 solo directorial debut. When I think of a Fellini movie, the first things that come to mind are: the image of someone in diaphanous material floating across the screen, people in antiquated circus-like costumes and a main character who escapes into a fantasy that turns out to have a poignant impact in his or her real life. All these elements are part of the texture of The White Sheik.

A provincial couple come to Rome on their honeymoon. Ivan the groom has made an unromantic schedule of appointments for them. Wanda the young bride, an avid fan of the widely read soap opera photo-comic strips called fumetti, sneaks out of the hotel for a few hours to meet her comic book idol, The White Sheik, and give him a drawing she made. It's all innocent but one thing leads to another and she inadvertently gets taken to a distant photo shoot where the sleazy actor playing the sheik comes on to the bride, now dressed as a harem girl. Meanwhile in Rome, her distraught husband seeks to keep his bride's disappearance a secret from visiting relatives and a scheduled visit with the pope. Look for Fellini's wife, actress Giulietta Masina in a small role as the prostitute Cabiria. A few years later, Masina starred in Fellini's masterpiece, the heartbreaking NIGHTS OF CABIRIA (Criterion). Nino Rota, who became a long term Fellini collaborator, composed the evocative score.

The White Shiek has suffered little over time. I think Fellini saw life as a bittersweet fantasy full of slapstick and hope. A pretty good definition.

Additional material includes a recent interview with the two stars who reminisce about their magical time with Fellini in Rome half a century ago. Recommended

4-0 out of 5 stars It's in the details...
Like Fitzgerald and his perfect Gatsby, Fellini learned early on how to set up a deeply satisfying ending. 8 1/2, La Dolce Vita. Cabiria. Wow! What wonderful endings.

On that note, this movie is political. It seriously questions the idea of marriage. But we only realize this in the final scene. And we know it because of a few clues.

First is the word play. The Taxi driver asks to be paid, and the uncle asks Ivan, "Are you done paying?" I'm guessing Ivan has just begun to pay for his decision - to get married.

Then there is the classic Fellini image of procession. The couple is reunited in the end, they have gotten away with their little embarrassment, unscathed, and they run to catch up with the rest of humanity on it's insanely habitual march to who-knows-where. This is an image which comes back many times with Fellini and is certainly intentional.

And finally is the obvious alignment up of the taunting flute-trill, at the end of the score, with the image of the statue looking down on man, creating a moment of laughter, or even mockery, from above. This moment is essential to understanding this movie, and is well intact in the VHS copy, but on the DVD the music has been shifted, so the music and image of the statue no longer line up! Seem trivial? Perhaps. God knows Criterion has made the world a much, much better place, so I don't blame them. But I believe the mistake is there.

All the same this is a great movie and the extra features are nice.

5-0 out of 5 stars Si! Si! Con la esposa!
A most comic and human film, "The White Sheik" was apparently Fellini's first and, for sheer enjoyment, beats anything he did after the great "Nights of Cabiria." It made me laugh almost non-stop from start to finish.

Ivan and Wanda are a young newlywed couple from a small town-- checking into a hotel in Rome. Ivan, rather nervous and ambitious, has their honeymoon planned to the minuto--most to be spent with his relatives, including Uncle who has connections to the Vatican. Wanda, a dreamer, is taken by stories and pictures in a certain periodical. She learns from the porter the location of the publisher is only 10 minutes away. She can't resist! When Ivan takes a nap she is off for a visit. Arriving, she soon finds the characters of her dream stories in the flesh and in costume, for they are preparing to make a film. Felga! Oscar! The Cruel Bedouin! Most of all Wanda wants to meet the White Sheik for she has made a drawing of him and wants him to have it.

In the meantime Ivan, thinking Wanda was in the bath, awakens to find her gone. The relatives (all of them) soon arrive. Ivan, so anxious to show off his new wife, is perplexed at her absence and doesn't know what to say to the family. One comic event after another follows.

In a memorable scene, Ivan meets Cabiria (yes, the one we know) although he does not initiate or even consummate an affair with her as another reviewer claims. To do so would be totally out of character.

Speaking of characters, there is a great supporting cast--from the hotel clerk ("Postcard?"); the respectable Uncle ("Man to man...tell me what's happening"); the film director (shouting: "Take out the concubines! Bring on the camel!"); and, of course, the White Sheik, a sort of 1950s Flavio with his square jawed good looks and rich mane of hair. This is a great film and is highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fellini makes his directorial debut, and with a bang!
While honeymooning in Rome, a young bride (Wanda),dazzled by glamour and illusion, escapes the security of her future by running off with a photo-novel actor who portrays a seductive "White Sheik", to whom she writes often signing herself as "the pasionate doll". Soon, she finds reality sneaking into her romantic fantasy. Disappointed by the average quality of her idol, she goes back to her husband (Trieste) who, meanwhile, has initiated an affair with a prostitute (Cabiria) and her friend. This is the first film for which Fellini has completely responsibility as a director: Through the vicissitude of little provincial persons who discover factory-dreams, Fellini inaugurates that autobiographic element and that fancy inclination which will be constant of his cinemas. Sordi (the "White Sheik") is an irresistible seductor to excess while at the same time enslaved by his wife. ... Read more


14. Orchestra Rehearsal
Director: Federico Fellini
list price: $19.98
our price: $17.98
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Asin: 157252216X
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 19679
Average Customer Review: 3 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (6)

4-0 out of 5 stars For Fellini fans and orchestra players only
A minor film by Fellini standards, Orchestra Rehearsal is a generally considered to be a thinly-veiled allegory about postwar Europe. While it lacks the joie de vivre of such later Fellini classics as Amarcord and And the Ship Sails On, it's still a thought-provoking and intelligent film. Which isn't to say that it doesn't have its share of Fellini's bizarre humor, as well. Orchestra Rehearsal captures the air of a real orchestra (each musician except for the contrabassoon player talks about how they're the most important section of the orchestra, and how the others are terrible).

The film does have its flaws, however. It begins to drag somewhere in the middle, before the uprising occurs. Also, the film is badly out of sync (which is a problem of the original, as Italian films were typically recorded silent and then dubbed over), and it is very obvious that at least some of the actors have no idea how to play their assigned instrument.

The sound is fairly tinny and the video (which is widescreen, despite what its Amazon.com listing says) doesn't look like it's undergone any kind of restoration whatsoever. There are virtually no extra features, so the current price tag is a bit puzzling. As this was a fairly early DVD release, we can always hope for a restored reissue.

For Fellini fans and people who play in orchestras, this film is a must-see. For casual viewers and Fellini newbies, I'd advise you to start elsewhere.

2-0 out of 5 stars Too Bad They Did No "Rehearsal" For The Film!
Sadly Federico Fellini's "Orchestra Rehearsal" is, to put very nicely, a bad film. What's even sadder is all of Fellini's later works were dismissed by critics and the public alike ("City of Women", "And the Ship Sails On", & Ginger and Fred"). Worst yet, some deserved to be criticized. What makes all of this so sad is the fact that Fellini was not a bad filmmaker. I like Fellini. He was one of the great filmmakers of all-time! But, with "Orchestra Rehearsal" Fellini misses something.
Would this film have been better if he made it back in the 50's, when he was working on films like "8 1\2", "La Strada" & "La Dolce Vita"? Its hard to say. Maybe the problem wasn't exactly Fellini but the subject matter. Is it possible to make a good film about a orchestra rehearsal and use that rehearsal as a metaphor into modern day society? My gut reaction tells me no. I'm not saying it's not possible for someone to use a sly metaphor and transform it into something of deeper meaning, of course it can be done. Watch the films of Bergman, Visconti, or Bunuel. But, you have to chose the right metaphor. Godard for example once tried it in his film "Week-end". He used traffic as the metaphor. While most people called the film a masterpiece, I think the result was rather pretentious. Now, is Fellini's film pretentious? No.
"Orchestra Rehearsal" seemed to have all the ingredients to make it a good film. Fellini's directing is fine, the music by Nino Rota (his long time partner) is enjoyable, the cinematography by Giuseppe Rotunno (again Fellini regular) is first rate and even some of the acting is good. Like the character of the "Conductor" played by Balduin Baas and the part of the "Piano player" by Elizabeth Labi (OK, maybe that's just a guilty pleasure lol). With all of these things, I wanted to like this film. I wanted to be able to say this was yet another masterpiece by the great Fellini but, he just doesn't pull it off.
Is this film worth a look? Yeah. Also, it wouldn't hurt to see this film if your already a Fellini fan. Here's a nice try by a guy we know could of done better. ** 1\2 out of *****

2-0 out of 5 stars Typical late Fellini.
'Orchestra Rehearsal' might be called Fellini's 'Spinal Tap': an unseen documentary crew film the daily routine of an orchestra, the cameraderie, the petty bickering, the partisan and philosophising defence of each player's own instruments, the vanities, the vices. A constant, disruptive presence is a trade union official, limiting the timespan of each rehearsal, calling arbitrary breaks, emasculating the power of the conductor; while earthquake tremors ominously rumble.

From the noise of traffic over the credits to the amiable chatter of the players, both simulating the tuning up of an orchestra, we are in familiar Fellini territory. The clutter is deceptive - the rhythm of the editing; the complementing and clashing of characters, sounds and moods; the lengthy periods focusing on one element or theme punctuated by variations or choral responses mean that the movement of 'Rehearsal' is itself structured as music. However, the ramshackle geniality doesn't last, and Fellini plays the old reality-blurring-into-fantasy trick, as all the resentments of the players and all the nightmares of the conductor are released in a dark, orgiastic frenzy of revolt and demoliton, with the players calling for the deposition of the conductor, of orchestral hierarchies, of reliance on the same old composers, as they spray revolutionary graffiti all over the 13th century monastary walls, vandalise portraits of Mozart, destroy their instruments, become violent and sexually hysterical.

Yes, it is another wild Felliniesque Dance of the Id intruding on the everyday, normal, ordered world. I was staggered to read that 'Rehearsal' is considered a political allegory; echoing all his self-regarding films, the orchestra is a microcosm of the film-making process: Fellini's famous nickname, 'Il Maestro', is the customary designation for a conductor. One can see the gripes of a Great Artist, faced with union bureaucracy, intransigent crews and stars, and humiliating memories of past glories. However, the dissolution and emasculation in the film are purely illusory - Fellini's auteur power ensures that this carnvial chaos has a centre, Fellini's own persona: these scenes are tiresomely recognisable from all his other films, and so assert continuity, identity and directorial vision and control.

The best things about this predictable ragbag of tired gags, misogyny and mob-fear are its uncharacteristic brevity, and Nino Rota's music, which, though too slight to carry its required symbolic weight, is delightful in its bouncy tunefulness.

3-0 out of 5 stars Technical smoke screen
Take an amusing, almost-brilliant, very musical Fellini film; have it transferred to DVD in a staccato picture quality that keeps you worrying your machine is not multi-zone; add insolent, shabby, amateurish subtitles; cut the end credits abruptly; wrap it up with a "bonus" trailer that is sinful to the very essence of the film; and then - just to make the torture slightly less tolerable - have the trailer announcer pronounce the composer's name NITTO Rota. Now, do you believe that what you've got as a result is a happy customer? To quote Macaulay Culkin: I don't think so. Fellini, somehow, survives the onslaught, just barely.

2-0 out of 5 stars Synchronization Problems
On the DVD edition, the voices are obviously out of synch with the mouth movements of the performers. Even though I don't understand Italian and was using the subtitles, I still found the synchronization problem to be very distracting.

I first saw this film around 15 years ago and thought it was very pretentious. I decided to give it another chance, but didn't enjoy it any more this time. Although I realize it is a symbolic film, I still feel that Maltin's criticism, "heavy-handed", is very appropriate.

Still, fans of Fellini will find this disc to be of interest, and you will be happy with the good picture quality (much nicer than the worn theater print I saw originally), and the fact that contrary to Amazon's description of "full-screen" format, the film is actually in letterbox format. ... Read more


15. Spirits of the Dead
Director: Louis Malle, Federico Fellini, Roger Vadim
list price: $19.95
our price: $17.96
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Asin: B00005QAPK
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 7385
Average Customer Review: 3.85 out of 5 stars
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Description

Three giants of world cinema conspire to bring the dark prose of Edgar Allan Poe to the screen in Spirits of the Dead.Roger Vadim, Luis Malle, and Federico Fellini direct Jane and Peter Fonda, Brigitte Bardot, Alain Delon, and Terence Stamp in three separate stories of souls tormented by their own phantasmal visions of guilt, lust, and greed.In a stunning new transfer enhanced for 16X9 televisions, Home Vision Entertainment is pleased to present this marvelous volume of the macabre.

... Read more

Reviews (13)

4-0 out of 5 stars The best is last
Spirits of the dead is a mixed bag of cinematic delight. Of the 3 episodes, only the last one "Toby Dammit" sustains interest. Fellini is at his best in this segment & Terence Stamp puts in a self destructive performance that has to be seen to be believed! His character, a self destructing actor who has reached the end of all worldly hope & desire wants only to leap into the chasm of death & destruction & he does so in spectactular fashion. This segment alone is worth the price of admission & Fellini caries the weight of the entire film on his capable talents. Images to delight & dialogue to astound, Terence Stamp should have won some kind of award for this brilliant performance as he portrays a burnt out actor with a death wish. You can't help but sympathize with him as he jolts his way from one bizarre interlude to another. You know you're at deaths door when you can turn down that blonde in the awards segment! Yikes!!! Never bet the devil your head!! See it!

5-0 out of 5 stars Five Stars for "Toby Dammit".
There really is only one reason to watch this film and that is Fellini's "Toby Dammit". Terence Stamp takes the title role of an actor arriving in Italy to appear is some kind of weird religious western. He is at the end of his tether and all seems alien and disorentated to him. The Edgar Allen Poe story from which this segment is adapted from is called "Never wager your head to the Devil" and thats exactly what he does! All with the usual Fellini touch of class. Excellent.

4-0 out of 5 stars Fellini Makes Films Like My Dreams--Exquisite Bliss
These three short films, loosely adapted from stories by Poe, are all packed with stunning landscape and exquisite set design. However, only Fellini's film manages to create a story worth retelling in its own right.

The first film is Roger Vadim's "Metzengerstein". The best thing I can say about it is that the gorgeous horse was the most effective actor in it. He knew his lines, and nodded when appropriate. Jane Fonda plays Contessa Frederica, an occasionally sadistic libertine who develops a passionate romantic attachment to the aformentioned horse. She is wondefully cruel and gorgeous, making the most out of some truly inspired little outfits. The segment is filmed by Claude Renoir, who captures some stunning images breathtaking beauty. Again, the scenes with the horse galloping and cavorting with Frederica are rather intoxicating. The story itself, however, is sacrificed on the alters of atmosphere and aesthetics. The end result is a very empty film.

Louis Malle's "William Wilson" basically has two really excellent scenes that make this worth watching. The first is a simple send-up of an autopsy. Wilson is demonstrating for his fellow Medical School classmates, the proper introductory procedure for performing an autopsy. Except, where his instructor had used the corpse of an old man--Wilson had bound a lovely, living lass and is preparing to dissect her. The other great scene involves Brigitte Bardot. Throughout this film, Bardot is unflatteringly coiffed in a black wig that is pulled back in a rather schoomarmish fashion. Her eyes are seductive, but she doesn't demand the kind of camera worship she has so often received in other films. However, the hair comes down and Bardot is soon being subjected to Wilson's birch rod. Her face, hair, and the slashes on her back are aesthetically quite sublime. Alain Delon is fair in the title role, but he lacks any real charisma. Between him and his doppelganger, I think they both possessed nearly as much charisma as the horse in Vadim's film. Overall, this film also sacrifices its story to the look of the film. The end is rather intense and powerful in its own right, but it lacks significance because the story itself isn't carried forth with any conviction or authority.

Terence Stamp is Toby Dammitt in the final film, directed by Federico Fellini. He really does an outstanding job looking washed out, confused, sick, drunk, and completely at the end of his tether. The film itself is phenomenal. It is by far the most absurdist and melancholy of the three films. In this adaptation of Poe's story, "Never Bet the Devil Your Head", Toby is jaundiced with everything possibly gained by fame in this life. He seems to represent the insidious truth of fame. He is also haunted by a sweet little girl in white, bouncing a big white ball. The scenes relating to her are the best, in my opinion. She is a sylph with terrible symbolic power. What does the ball mean? Why is she so demonstrably joyful? She can be read as pure and active--a regenerative force that is the impetus for new life. She certainly is spooky and charged with energy. She is clearly something that Toby's psyche cannot accept. Ultimately, the viewer is made privy to a series of associations in Toby's mind that help us understand his relationship with the little girl. But we are not made aware of her exact role in his downward spiral. It is impossible to fully convey the magic that Fellini captures with this film. From start to finish, there is a typically "Felliniesque" hyper-surrealism that transports the viewer into another dimension. This is the only film of the three that manages the rather daunting feats of transcendence and cinematic art. Nino Rota's score is haunting and hypnotic throughout. An absolute masterpiece overall.

3-0 out of 5 stars The last on "Toby Dammit" is a short in itself
The first two in the detached trilogy are forgettable but the last one directed by Fellini is a classic, at first I thought it was Terrance Stamp and then I found out it was and I like him even more now. His performance is classic and the short is actually quite creepy rendition of Poe's "Don't lose you head" If I was a film student I would pay attention to this one. Hey Jane Fonda was pretty cute in her time, nevertheless the short with her was pretty bad and kind of dull, the second one was better though. Overall: good late night fright film with Fellini saving this film.

4-0 out of 5 stars Toby Dammit is great, despite overdubs
The best story here is Toby Dammit. At first I was very annoyed that they overdubbed Terence Stamp's voice with some french actor's voice. But I think that's only because I'm so used to hearing Stamp's distinctive voice when I see his face. That soon melted away and I couldn't have enjoyed the story more (although I still think they should have left Stamp's voice alone). This is actual art on screen. It's both surreal and intensely real at the same time.

The devil as a little blonde girl freaked me out... This is another great piece of work from Fellini. Worth my money. ... Read more


16. And the Ship Sails On - Criterion Collection
Director: Federico Fellini
list price: $29.95
our price: $26.96
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Asin: 0780022270
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 8974
Average Customer Review: 3.57 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Federico Fellini's 1984 And the Ship Sails On is one of the latemaster's most fanciful projects, while simultaneously striking one of themost somber notes in the director's filmography. The year is 1914, the eve ofWorld War I and the coming destruction of Europe's old, cultured aristocracy,an elite class mourned in many a film from Renoir's The Grand Illusionto Truffaut's The Green Room. A luxury liner sets sail from Italy,full of artists, a royal entourage, and one rhinoceros. The point of thevoyage is to scatter the ashes of a world-famous diva, but the exoticpassengers--blithely unaware of the imminent conflict--have many, more privateintrigues going on behind closed doors. Still, it is the self-containment andformality of these travelers, at once absurd and moving, that sticks with the viewer: the way the many singers, musicians, and conductors (and one plumparchduke) seem aware, in public, of embodying a privileged history. Fellini films all the action aboard an impressively lush and blatantly artificialset, with a painted sky, paper moon, and cellophane sea, all underscoring thedreamy, precious nature of this adventure. The camera itself becomes a kind of character via a determined journalist (Freddie Jones) who speaks to usdirectly, drawing the film into vaguely obscene disruptions of an otherwise serene formalism. --Tom Keogh ... Read more

Reviews (7)

3-0 out of 5 stars a though provoking film
This review is for the Criterion Collection DVD edition of the film.

The film's original title is "E la nave va"

It follows the story of an ocean liner going into the Mediterrainian Sea to scatter the ashes of a famous singer near the island she grew up on. The film takes place just before the start of World War I. The assassination of Ferdinand is mentioned as just having happened partway through the film. They later take on Serbian passengers and the crew suspect them of being spies.

Unfortunately, there are no special features on this DVD.

The film has some interesting scenes. The beginning scene reminded me of the first scene in the 1997 version of Titanic witht he black and white slow silent footage of the ship.

Later the film seuges from black and white into color in a manner similar to a scene in Andrei Tarkovsky's Solaris which was released by the Criterion Collection on DVD exactly 1 day before the release of Steven Soderbergh's remake of Solaris.

The film has some some humorous scenes one of which is a man singing in a bass tune, causing a chicken to fall asleep.

This is a must for anyone interested in Italian cinema.

1-0 out of 5 stars Not A La-Strada-Feeling. No Screen That Striked Me. Flat!
...I own this movie, and I have not watched it fully out. Every time I turn it on I feel that Fellini is trying to show us every detail, and for me they are not psychologically deep enough, no screen that captured my mind. This is totally not a La-Strada-like picture, please do not make the mistake as I buying this with the expectation from La Strada, you should watch it before you buy. And don't get me wrong, there are other good Fellini's films too like Satyricon.

5-0 out of 5 stars A typical Fellini - beautiful as usual
excellent film. be sure to pay close attention to the scene where two older guys make "great" music with their bare hands and wine glasses...

5-0 out of 5 stars Underrated Fellini film is a dazzler by all means
The problem with people who've watched past Fellini films expect the same cinematic effect from his later ones. There's a certain magic that exists in the first few Fellini films you've watched. He makes you create movies in your own mind through a flowing series of fantastic images. Fellini's films don't really say too much in contrast to Bergman or Bunuel or even his pupil Wertmuller save for his constant jabs with the aristocracy and organized religion. Most of his films are made to serve the purpose of essential cinema. One just has to watch and enjoy the scenery like does a painter's obra maestra. And that is where his genius in artistry lies. He's not like other colleagues of his who are burdened with social responsibility to weave images out of their moral consciousness. Such is the case of And The Ship Sails On. This is one movie that dazzles both the eye and ear. Sit back and relax and let yourself be glided through this experience in Felliniesque phantasmagoria. True enough, the Criterion version does not offer extras which may make one think twice about the price of the disk. But then, a Fellini DVD is worth more than a lot of others of the same price range. Enjoy!

5-0 out of 5 stars What a great film
I really loved this movie-it's funny, moving, and completely inventive. This is my first impression after just watching it at face value, and NOT reading into it (in response to the previous reviewer). Maybe to some it's slow moving, but I found it very enjoyable and constantly entertaining. I really found nothing wrong with this film-it is an engaging look at a variety of characters and stories, and is very touching. You should buy this movie (or at least see it!). ... Read more


17. Il Bidone
Director: Federico Fellini
list price: $24.99
our price: $22.49
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Asin: 6305908486
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 24750
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Description

In Fellini's sardonically humorous, yet powerfully dramatic "Il Bidone," three small-time crooks impersonate priests in Rome to con poor people out of their money. Academy Award winner Broderick Crawford is extraordinary as the group's world weary leader, whose chance meeting with his daughter opens his eyes to his wrongdoing. Too late, he suffers a crisis of conscience in this absorbing tale of hope, desperation and, finally, redemption. One of Fellini's most realistic films, "Il Bidone" begins as an Italian comedy of errors, its swindles reminiscent of "The Sting," yet there is true sting in its harsh portrayal of greed and squalor. The middle chapter in Fellini's "trilogy of loneliness" between "La Strada" and "Nights of Cabiria," this classic film will tug at your heart and astonish you with its aching sense of compassion. Music by Nino Rota (The Godfather, Rocco and His Brothers). ... Read more


18. Variety Lights - Criterion collection
Director: Alberto Lattuada, Federico Fellini
list price: $29.95
our price: $26.96
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Asin: 0780023331
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 13178
Average Customer Review: 3.83 out of 5 stars
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Federico Fellini codirected this film from his own story about aromance between an ambitious young dancer and the aging manager of a varietytheater in Rome. It's a sharply realized first effort, showing that Fellinicould work his magic even in 1950. The dancer--played with luscious,complicated innocence by Carla del Poggio--talks her way into Signor Checco'stroupe by showing him her legs. The others, including his girlfriend(Giulietta Masina), protest, but Checco takes her into the poverty-strickengroup anyway. Soon enough, he is justified: Their sparsely attended shows aresuddenly packed with men stomping their feet and whistling for "the Redhead."Checco not-so-secretly wants her himself, and she lets him think he might gether (even while looking for someone else with money.) The film's many livelyperformances include Giulietta Masina, whose eyes register pluck,resignation, and weariness in a moment as she watches her guy fall in love.Poggio is good, too: When she gets what she wants, her face slides into aquiver of doubt about its value. Self-delusion, arguably the main arrow inFellini's quiver of themes, gets a subtly layered treatment here, andFellini, so extravagant later in his career, shows an early talent for, ofall things, restraint. --Lyall Bush ... Read more

Reviews (6)

4-0 out of 5 stars Fellini's directorial debut
This review is for the Criterion Collection DVD edition of the film.

This movie, co-directed by Fellini, is his first film. The story follows a young woman who joins a vaudeville act and brings great popularity to it.

The film has good acting and the English title is a very close translation of the original title, "Luci del varietà" or "Lights of Variety"

The DVD has no special features which is a disappointment since this is a Criterion release.

4-0 out of 5 stars Green Fellini-- but still worth a look
Variety Lights is Fellini's debut film. The film consists of ideas and motifs that would succeedingly appear in movies like 8 1/2 and The Clowns. However, these traits are still undeveloped but we can see how they would be used as personal metaphors for the director. Running under an hour, the film is shown in black and white with legible subtitles and moving at a smooth pace. The story follows a variety show troupe and an female audience member who is so inspired by one of their performances that she asks to join their group. We are then presented with the rise of the performer's act and how mistakes like having her dress fall off soon attracts the attention of the audience. Soon the variety show begins displaying a more racy repertory all which is fronted by sexy novice. Some images in the film like large behinds and women in bikinis may have been provocative for its time in America --although Italy's standards tended to be more shocking. Nevertheless, as discussed in the documentary Rated X, Fellini's movies was generally restricted to Adult theaters due to subject matter, although much more provocation was soon to come. Variety Lights features Masina, Fellini's wife, in a supporting role as a dancer with few scenes, although she still gives a good performance nevertheless. Masina would soon gather more attention to her acting in succeeding Fellini films like Night of Cabaria and La Strata. However, the focus of this film is directed at De Filippo for his role as the impresario and Poggio as the desperate actress. Veriety Lights is not the best Fellini production but still worth a look.

3-0 out of 5 stars Fellini's fascinating debut.
This is the '1/2' film alluded to in the title of Fellini's masterpiece '8 1/2', Il Maestro's debut, co-directed with the now-forgotten Alberto Lattuada. it tells the story of a troupe of small-time entertainers travelling through the provinces of Italy, playing in poky, leaking theatres to small, abusive audiences, their meagre fees impounded by hotel owners with long memories; they're usually forced to sneak train rides or walk miles between stops.

Against this lively backdrop is a tragicomic romance, part-'A Star is Born', part-'The Blue Angel', between a middle-aged performer and a budding starlet. The former deludes himself about his greatness and influence in order to hide the cruel realities of failure and aging, but when the latter takes him at his word, he throws up the very real security his shambling peripatetic life offers, to promote his ambitious charge, with tragedy lurking around the corner.

This tale has a nasty, misogynistic undertow, with Carla de Poggio's Lily portrayed as cold and almost homicidally calculating, and Peppino de Filippo's besotted loser Checco sentimentalised (although his is the one emotionally truthful performance in the film), but luckily it isn't the film's main interest. Although it's only half his work, many of Fellini's motifs, themes and stylistic trademarks are present - the uneasy co-existence of dusty, small-town Italy with the American-fuelled dreams of theatre and showbiz; the nocturnal, dream-like scenes on empty streets, where the lead meets strangers and has a kind of group epiphany in which reality is enchanted or suspended; the indulgent (though clear-eyed) portrait of flawed, family-like artist life against the soulless commericalism of the nouveau riche; the cinematic momentum in which plot is less important than set-pieces in which accumulated incidents and protracted character interaction achieve a kind of carnivalesque truth.

Fellini would refine these elements later - scenes that should be magical fall a little flat; the characters aren't interesting or comic enough; the blaring music definitely lacks the Nino Rota touch - but the film is fascinating to see Fellini struggling with the limitations of his neo-realist apprenticeship.

4-0 out of 5 stars Masina Steals The Show
A young woman pursuing her dream of being on the stage, aligns herself with a traveling variety show band of performers in "Variety Lights," directed by Federico Fellini (and assisted by Alberto Lattuada). Veteran comic actor Checco Dal Monte (Peppino De Filippo) and his troupe of performers are struggling to get by, living from hand to mouth and show to show, but it doesn't deter Liliana Antonelli (Carla Del Poggio), blinded perhaps by the stars in her eyes, from approaching Checco about joining his show. He turns her down-- they simply have no openings, and certainly no money-- but circumstances soon prevail on her behalf, and much to the chagrin of many of the other performers, she joins the troupe. The effect she will have on the show, and how it will influence her own life, remains to be seen at this point; but with Fellini at the helm, you know it's going to be an interesting ride. And it is.

Fellini, a true visionary, is known for filling the screen with vivid images born of his own imagination, especially in his later films. But beyond the sometimes bizarre appearances, there is always an engaging story to be found at the heart of his films, and this one (his first) is no exception. And, though devoid of the surrealism he would use later on, in Checco's company there is something of the carnival motif present that Fellini would return to time and again during the course of his career, and of course, there's the story, presented with that unique Fellini touch and laced with his insight into the human condition, which at it's core is the real strength of the film.

No matter what the subject matter, Fellini always had his finger on the emotional pulse of the material and had the innate ability to transfer what he felt to the screen. Very simply, he knew what worked and how to use it; within the images he presents, there can always be found a reflection of reality-- even amid the surreal-- and it's in his characters. Physically and emotionally, these are real people who run the entire gamut of human existence. Beyond his astounding visuals, it's his ability to cultivate that depth of his characters that makes Fellini special; the way they interact with, and relate to one another or the situations in which they find themselves. And by drawing out his actors, he always gives his audience someone with whom to identify on one level or another.

As Checco, Filippo successfully taps into the humanity of the character, this aging performer with hopes and aspirations beyond his means or capabilities. He's a character with whom you can sympathize, but only to a point-- for you soon recognize his flaws and transgressions. But even then, you are still able to at least understand him. Most importantly, his performance is believable, and his Checco comes across as a very real person.

Del Poggio gives a notable performance as well, as this young woman who makes the most of the opportunity with which she is presented. And as the story unfolds she develops her character extremely well; by the end of the film you know exactly who "Lily" is and what motivates her.

In a memorable supporting role, it's the young Giulietta Masina, however, who steals the show as Melina Amour, Checco's girlfriend. She creates the one character in the film with whom you can truly empathize, and she does it with style. Masina has such a radiant, charismatic screen presence, that whenever she appears the eye is instinctively drawn to her. A gifted actress, she is exceptionally adept at expressing her emotions-- often by merely shifting her eyes-- and communicating with the audience. Few actors can say more or convey as much with their eyes or with a simple expression as Masina. And, sparse as it is, her performance here is alone worth the price of admission.

The supporting cast includes Folco Lulli (Adelmo), John Kitzmiller (Johnny), Dante Maggio (Remo), Carlo Romano (Enzo) and Gina Mascetti (Valeria del Sole). Well crafted and delivered, "Variety Lights" is an engaging story, told in the same straightforward manner Fellini would later use in "La Strada" and "Nights of Cabiria." The basic elements of the story may be familiar, but it's an entertaining film, and worth seeing, as it prophesies the triumphs of an artist who would soon be recognized as one of the world's master filmmakers: Fellini.

4-0 out of 5 stars THE FIRST MOVIE OF A GIANT
Co-directed by Alberto Lattuada and Federico Fellini, VARIETY LIGHTS is without a doubt already in the library of those of you who long for quality titles available in the DVD standard. If you can find now almost the entire filmography of Jean-Claude Van Damme or Jackie Chan in DVD, only one Luis Bunuel movie for instance can be found amidst the thousands of titles you can buy.

With VARIETY LIGHTS, you are going to join, before LA STRADA, the peculiar world of the artists with no name, the world of the Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire look-alikes performing in the 1950 Italy. The camera of Federico Fellini is always tender with these artists and doesn't judge them. Even the ambitious girl who will cheat on the man who has discovered her is depicted as a naive girl blinded by the lights of show-business.

The copy presented by Criterion is far from being perfect but nonetheless is above-average. No bonus features except for a scene access, an interesting booklet, color bars and english subtitles.

A DVD for Giulietta Masina. ... Read more


19. Intervista
Director: Federico Fellini
list price: $29.98
our price: $26.98
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Asin: B00073K80C
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 29467
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Description

Federico Fellini welcomes us into his world of filmmaking with a mockumentary about his life in film, as a Japanese film crew follows him around. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

3-0 out of 5 stars A friendly chat
Federico Fellini broke through all the walls he could find in 1987's delightfully jumbled "Intervista." The maestro created a film about a film about a film.

There is, not surprisingly, a film about all those films, the Italian documentary "The Man From Rimini," included on the "Intervista" DVD. The leisurely docu runs an hour, subtitled.

"I don't really consider ('Intervista') a movie," Fellini tells the press as he hits the festival circuit. "It is a friendly chat among close friends."

Those friends are his collaborators at Rome's Cinecitta Studios, whose 50th anniversary inspired "Intervista." Fellini's film is a mockumentary of sorts, in which a Japanese TV crew arrives on the lot to interview the director, who tells them of his first visit to the studio as a young journalist. Fellini, meanwhile, is supposedly adapting Franz Kafka's "Amerika," rounding up the usual surreal suspects for his cast and riding out the production's craziness.

Fellini notes there is "no subject and no screenplay" -- "Intervista" is "a movie made in total freedom." That may explain the Native Americans on horseback who attack his Italian crew, wielding TV antennas as spears.

The movie is best known for its scene with Marcello Mastroianni and Anita Ekberg, sentimentally reunited to watch the Trevi Fountain scene from 1960's "La Dolce Vita." (Ekberg says Mastroianni didn't have much time for her on the "Intervista" set.)

Images are widescreen anamorphic (1.85:1), enhanced for 16x9 screens. The transfer looks good, with true flesh tones despite some grain. The "5.1 surround audio" stays front center in surround mode. There is a long annoying stretch in which the sound suffers from a persistent popping sound. ... Read more


20. Spirits of the Dead
Director: Louis Malle, Federico Fellini, Roger Vadim
list price: $24.99
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Asin: 6305079250
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 43881
Average Customer Review: 3.85 out of 5 stars
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An irresistible and guilty pleasure, this anthology based on stories by Edgar Allan Poe is a rare opportunity to see three of the biggest names in 1960s European film direction working in the short form. The results are uneven, but so what? They're also plain outrageous. Roger Vadim's Metzengerstein stars real-life siblings Jane and Peter Fonda perversely cast as lovers. When the latter dies, Jane's character turns to a mysterious black stallion for companionship, the suggestion being that the dead man's spirit is within the horse. Both corny and vaguely lurid, this ghost tale is Vadim all the way. Louis Malle's William Wilson is an in-your-face take on Poe's classic doppelgänger fable, starring Alain Delon as a blackguard who gets his comeuppance from a nicer variation of himself. More craftsman-like than cinematically bold, the film displays the kind of crisp wit Malle didn't display often enough. Finally, Federico Fellini's Toby Dammit proves to be the most interesting piece in the trio, featuring Terence Stamp in a terrific performance as an actor at the end of his rope (the equivalent of Mastroianni's burned-out director in Fellini's ), who has come to Rome to star as Christ in a New Testament Western. Dense with Fellini's dreamy textures and iconic clutter, Toby Dammit is a fun experience. --Tom Keogh ... Read more

Reviews (13)

4-0 out of 5 stars The best is last
Spirits of the dead is a mixed bag of cinematic delight. Of the 3 episodes, only the last one "Toby Dammit" sustains interest. Fellini is at his best in this segment & Terence Stamp puts in a self destructive performance that has to be seen to be believed! His character, a self destructing actor who has reached the end of all worldly hope & desire wants only to leap into the chasm of death & destruction & he does so in spectactular fashion. This segment alone is worth the price of admission & Fellini caries the weight of the entire film on his capable talents. Images to delight & dialogue to astound, Terence Stamp should have won some kind of award for this brilliant performance as he portrays a burnt out actor with a death wish. You can't help but sympathize with him as he jolts his way from one bizarre interlude to another. You know you're at deaths door when you can turn down that blonde in the awards segment! Yikes!!! Never bet the devil your head!! See it!

5-0 out of 5 stars Five Stars for "Toby Dammit".
There really is only one reason to watch this film and that is Fellini's "Toby Dammit". Terence Stamp takes the title role of an actor arriving in Italy to appear is some kind of weird religious western. He is at the end of his tether and all seems alien and disorentated to him. The Edgar Allen Poe story from which this segment is adapted from is called "Never wager your head to the Devil" and thats exactly what he does! All with the usual Fellini touch of class. Excellent.

4-0 out of 5 stars Fellini Makes Films Like My Dreams--Exquisite Bliss
These three short films, loosely adapted from stories by Poe, are all packed with stunning landscape and exquisite set design. However, only Fellini's film manages to create a story worth retelling in its own right.

The first film is Roger Vadim's "Metzengerstein". The best thing I can say about it is that the gorgeous horse was the most effective actor in it. He knew his lines, and nodded when appropriate. Jane Fonda plays Contessa Frederica, an occasionally sadistic libertine who develops a passionate romantic attachment to the aformentioned horse. She is wondefully cruel and gorgeous, making the most out of some truly inspired little outfits. The segment is filmed by Claude Renoir, who captures some stunning images breathtaking beauty. Again, the scenes with the horse galloping and cavorting with Frederica are rather intoxicating. The story itself, however, is sacrificed on the alters of atmosphere and aesthetics. The end result is a very empty film.

Louis Malle's "William Wilson" basically has two really excellent scenes that make this worth watching. The first is a simple send-up of an autopsy. Wilson is demonstrating for his fellow Medical School classmates, the proper introductory procedure for performing an autopsy. Except, where his instructor had used the corpse of an old man--Wilson had bound a lovely, living lass and is preparing to dissect her. The other great scene involves Brigitte Bardot. Throughout this film, Bardot is unflatteringly coiffed in a black wig that is pulled back in a rather schoomarmish fashion. Her eyes are seductive, but she doesn't demand the kind of camera worship she has so often received in other films. However, the hair comes down and Bardot is soon being subjected to Wilson's birch rod. Her face, hair, and the slashes on her back are aesthetically quite sublime. Alain Delon is fair in the title role, but he lacks any real charisma. Between him and his doppelganger, I think they both possessed nearly as much charisma as the horse in Vadim's film. Overall, this film also sacrifices its story to the look of the film. The end is rather intense and powerful in its own right, but it lacks significance because the story itself isn't carried forth with any conviction or authority.

Terence Stamp is Toby Dammitt in the final film, directed by Federico Fellini. He really does an outstanding job looking washed out, confused, sick, drunk, and completely at the end of his tether. The film itself is phenomenal. It is by far the most absurdist and melancholy of the three films. In this adaptation of Poe's story, "Never Bet the Devil Your Head", Toby is jaundiced with everything possibly gained by fame in this life. He seems to represent the insidious truth of fame. He is also haunted by a sweet little girl in white, bouncing a big white ball. The scenes relating to her are the best, in my opinion. She is a sylph with terrible symbolic power. What does the ball mean? Why is she so demonstrably joyful? She can be read as pure and active--a regenerative force that is the impetus for new life. She certainly is spooky and charged with energy. She is clearly something that Toby's psyche cannot accept. Ultimately, the viewer is made privy to a series of associations in Toby's mind that help us understand his relationship with the little girl. But we are not made aware of her exact role in his downward spiral. It is impossible to fully convey the magic that Fellini captures with this film. From start to finish, there is a typically "Felliniesque" hyper-surrealism that transports the viewer into another dimension. This is the only film of the three that manages the rather daunting feats of transcendence and cinematic art. Nino Rota's score is haunting and hypnotic throughout. An absolute masterpiece overall.

3-0 out of 5 stars The last on "Toby Dammit" is a short in itself
The first two in the detached trilogy are forgettable but the last one directed by Fellini is a classic, at first I thought it was Terrance Stamp and then I found out it was and I like him even more now. His performance is classic and the short is actually quite creepy rendition of Poe's "Don't lose you head" If I was a film student I would pay attention to this one. Hey Jane Fonda was pretty cute in her time, nevertheless the short with her was pretty bad and kind of dull, the second one was better though. Overall: good late night fright film with Fellini saving this film.

4-0 out of 5 stars Toby Dammit is great, despite overdubs
The best story here is Toby Dammit. At first I was very annoyed that they overdubbed Terence Stamp's voice with some french actor's voice. But I think that's only because I'm so used to hearing Stamp's distinctive voice when I see his face. That soon melted away and I couldn't have enjoyed the story more (although I still think they should have left Stamp's voice alone). This is actual art on screen. It's both surreal and intensely real at the same time.

The devil as a little blonde girl freaked me out... This is another great piece of work from Fellini. Worth my money. ... Read more


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