Juliet of the Spirits (1965): Fellini’s First Color Film, Oscar Nominee Starring Giuli­etta Masina

 Italian (Giulietta degli Spiriti) 

Juliet of the Spirits, Fellini’s first color feature, is also an exercise in psychoanalysis, this time around centering on the neuroses and anxieties, dreams, nightmares, and fantasies of a middle-aged woman (played by Giuli­etta Masina) who suspects her husband is cheating on her.

This was the last collaboration between Fellini and his longtime wife, who had earlier made together such masterpieces as “La Strada” and “Nights of Cabiria,”

It is a visually dazzling, nearly gaudy production with no coherent plot but many absorbing psychological and social observations. Giulietta was the last Fellini film to win nearly unanimous criti­cal approval or popular success until Amarcord in 1973, which won the Best Foreign Language Oscar.

Fellini’s musical collaborator, the genius Nino Rota, composed the soundtrack. Rota provided the soundtracks for every Fellini film except for his directorial debut.  The music in Juliet of the Spirits contains circus themes, using organ, piano, guitar, saxophones, and voices without words to convey Juliet’s frequent shifts in mood.


For the sake of accuracy: Fellini had used color in “The Temptation of Doctor Antonio,” a short that was part of the portmanteau film Boccaccio ’70 (1962).

Juliet of the Spirits won the Best Foreign Language Film from the New York Film Critics.

Running time: 137 Minutes.

Oscar Nominations: 2

Art Direction-Set Decoration (Color): Piero Gherardi

Costume Design (Color): Piero Gherardi

Oscar Awards: None

Oscar Context:

The Art Direction Oscar went to “Fantastic Voyage.”

Elizabeth Haffenden and Joan Bridge won the Costume Design Oscar for Fred Zinnemann’s drama, “A Man for All Seasons,” which swept most of the Oscar in 1966.