Spirits of the Dead (Histoires extraordinaires) [Blu-ray]
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Terence Stamp is English and he spoke his part in English.(and what an amazing bit of verbal it was) It just ain't the same thing in dubbed French by another actor. An earlier release of this film delivered the English soundtrack as an option but did not allow you to turn off the English subtitles! (Some of the people that put these things together are really lacking in simple, common sense.) Also the image quality on the previous release is faded and not real sharp. Image quality on this current DVD is excellent. Rich color and very sharp. So the horror of it all is you are left with a very well done restoration with a rather important detail inexplicably left out. The English soundtrack exists and isn't this the whole point of DVD's? I took a chance buying this DVD hoping for an improved version that fixed some of the problems on the earlier release.
The frustrating thing is that it is so close to being there, but a French speaking Terence Stamp is just absurd. Janus Films was also involed in the Criterion Collection new version of Amarcord and they did it perfectly. Everything is there. Wish they used as much care on this one.
Beyond Terrence Stamp's wonderful delivery, is the crucial element of the english actor being alone and isolated in Italy by his language, slowly pushing him deeper into surrender and madness. All of this is lost in the current French dubbed edition.
(On the other hand, it must be a plus to have the first two segments, overdubbed into English for US release, back to their original French. However, these segments are competent, or somewhat interesting at best, compared to fantastic finale.)
Please let Janus know that they have broken trust by butchering a great artist's masterwork.
I do not know of any other version available that has Stamp's English dialogue, but I remember seeing it on television in the 80s and onscreen at the American Cinematheque in Hollywood in 2004. Maybe if there is enough demand they will remaster it and put out an English version of this delightful foray into subtle, 1960's-style psychological horror? One can hope.
The other two segments are certainly solid, even if they might not top Fellini's work with sheer panache. Vadim's piece is the better of the remainder, and it features Jane and Peter Fonda as feuding cousins. This is the most overtly supernatural segment of the trio, and even it feels somewhat subdued when compared to modern ghost stories. Jane Fonda is excellent in her role, and she brings a combination of refinement and haughtiness to the part that vitalizes the character. Like all of the film, this bit of the film is well shot, but Vadim's captured some gorgeous outdoor scenery, whereas the others take place mostly indoors. The tale itself is spooky enough, and the running time feels sufficient.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Phenomenal Toby Dammit, one of Fellinis most magical..YES THIS DOES have Terence Stamp original voice on the multi-lingual audio trackPublished 21 days ago by sculptorphoenix
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Beautiful quality on this UK released Blu ray. Viewed on a big screen TV the film really lives and breathes.Published 5 months ago by Mark Martucci
Very uneven collection. Laughable at times and horrible at others. Calling it a Brigitte Bardot movie is utter nonsense. Jane Fonda, yes. Read morePublished 7 months ago by AlchemystAZ
I have Arrow Film's superb BD version, but I also wanted a DVD copy. Sadly, unlike the BD version, this DVD has no English dubbed soundtrack.
Sent it back.
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