Spirits of the Dead (segment "Toby Dammit")

37 min
P.E.A. (Roma), Les Films Marceau (Paris), Cocinor (Paris)
Word sales: 
P.E.A. (Roma)
Viewed censorship: 

Toby Dammi, a former Shakespearean actor, and a drug-addict and an alcoholic at present, is in Rome. He’s going to be the main character of the first Catholic western film. After helping a young girl who has lost the ball she was playing with, Dammit starts having visions of the girl and her ball. After being given a Ferrari by the film producer Dammit drives his new car very fast. Some workers try to stop Dammit close to a fallen bridge across a ravine, but he speeds ahead. When his car reaches the other side, Dammit's head has been cut off by a cable running across the ravine. The young girl appears again, she picks Toby Dammit’s head up, as if it were a ball …


Director: Federico Fellini
Story: libera riduzione dal racconto "Non scommettere la testa con il diavolo" di Edgard Allan Poe
Screenplay: Federico Fellini, Bernardino Zapponi
Cinematography: Giuseppe Rotunno (Technicolor-Eastmancolor)
Music: Nino Rota
Production design: Pietro Tosi
Costume design: Pietro Tosi
Film editing: Ruggero Mastroianni
Camera operator: Giuseppe Maccari
Special effects: Joseph Natanzon
Songs: "Ruby" di Mitchell Parish (parole) e Heinz Roemheld (musica)
Singers: Ray Charles
Set decorator: Carlo Leva
Second assistant director: Eschilo Tarquini, Francesco Aluigi, Liliana Betti
Assistant editor: Adriana Olasio, Wanda Olasio
Production manager: Tommaso Sagone
General manager: Enzo Provenzale
Producer: Alberto Grimaldi, Raymond Eger


Terence Stamp : Toby Dammit
Salvo Randone : Padre Spagna
Antonia Pietrosi : l'attrice
Polidor : un vecchio attore
Anne Tonietti : commentatrice televisiva
Fabrizio Angeli : primo regista
Ernesto Colli : il secondo regista
Aleardo Ward : primo intervistatore
Paul Cooper : il secondo intervistatore
Marisa Traversi : partecipanti alla festa
Rick Boyd : partecipanti alla festa
Mimmo Poli : partecipanti alla festa
Marina Yaru : la bambina
Brigitte : la ragazza alta due metri


Mario Verdone
Toby Dammit’s story is quite weak. It is characterized by memories, nostalgia, Fellini’s beloved mirages, unreal actresses, and a weak Polidor. This film is focused on technique and how to go beyond them. Otto e mezzo’s fogs and Giulietta’s colours are replaced by lights problems. Rotunno solves them all: projectors, light bulbs, car headlights. Techniques, set decoration and lighting prevail. There is a formal showing-off and a technical virtuosity that are sometimes an end in themselves.
“Bianco e Nero”, a. XXIX, n. 11-12, November-December1968
Edoardo Bruno
Fellini views reality through his characters’ eyes: he is alternatively a priest, a Catholic writer, a cruel reporter (when he mocks Totò), a blind comedian with a huge blond and eccentric actress. Fellini-Poe’s Rome welcomes all these elements as if they were surrounded by smoke or taken from a nightmare (…).
“Filmcritica”, a. XIX, n. 193, December 1968
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