I racconti fantastici di Edgar Allan Poe (TV Mini-Series 1979)

TV Mini-Series   |    |  Fantasy, Horror, Mystery

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24 October 2013 | Bunuel1976
| RACCONTI FANTASTICI {TV Mini-Series} (Daniele D'Anza, 1979) ***
I had never heard of this 4-part Italian TV mini-series inspired by the works of Edgar Allan Poe; recently, however, I have been acquiring many such efforts from the same era (including a number of adaptations of literary classics), so when I stumbled upon this one, I did not think twice about adding it to my collection. An added treat was the fact that the cast was peppered with "Euro-Cult" presences: Philippe Leroy (as Roderick Usher), Gastone Moschin, Erika Blanc, Umberto Orsini, Dagmar Lassander (as Ligeia), Silvia Dionisio, Nino Castelnuovo (as William Wilson) and Janet Agren; for pop music fans, then, it is to be noted that the famous Italian band "I Pooh" supplied the haunting electronic score. The premise is an interesting one, in that it utilizes the framework of "The Fall Of The House Of Usher" but transposes this to a modern setting and filtering it through many another instantly-recognizable horror tale penned by the influential but tortured author. For instance, the first episode incorporates a recounting of "Message In A Bottle", an incident revolving around "The Oval Portrait", while the climax is borrowed from "The Tell-Tale Heart". The second tells the story of "Ligeia" – played as a Jean Harlow-type star (albeit one destroyed by the transition to Talkies) and, interestingly, the actress' film posters shown hanging around the mansion are genuine titles from that vintage (such as the Greta Garbo vehicle ROMANCE {1930}, Gloria Swanson's INDISCREET {1931}, Irene Dunne's BACK STREET {1932} and Harlow's own RIFFRAFF {1935})!; as for the character of the woman whom she possesses after being hitched to her ex-husband, it is named after the heroine of "Morella". "William Wilson" updates the protagonist's lifestyle from that of a career officer to a racing-car driver, with the game of pool added to card-playing as his pastime; his doppelganger, however, is not played by the same actor but rather by the series' own assistant director! The final episode is a direct adaptation of the "Usher" plot, but the proverbial fall is not a literal one in this case – instead we get the place riddled by the plague at the core of "The Masque Of The Red Death", with the host himself diverting his trapped costumed guests with vivid narrations of both "The Pit And The Pendulum" and "A Descent Into The Maelstrom"! Quite a nice effort overall: confident in its structure and acted with conviction yet, admittedly, somewhat glum and heavy-going if one is simply looking for an evening (or four)'s entertainment...

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Fantasy | Horror | Mystery


Release Date:

11 March 1979



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