In this adaptation of the Thomas Mann novel, avant-garde composer Gustave Aschenbach (loosely based on Gustav Mahler) travels to a Venetian seaside resort in search of repose after a period... See full summary »
Retired professor of American origin lives solitary life in luxurious palazzo in Rome He is confronted by vulgar Italian marchesa and her companions: her lover, her daughter and daughter's ... See full summary »
In the 1860s, a dying aristocracy struggles to maintain itself against a harsh Sicilian landscape. The film traces with a slow and deliberate rhythm the waning of the noble home of Fabrizio Corbero, Prince of Salina (the Leopard) and the corresponding rise to eminence of the enormously wealthy ex-peasant Don Calogero Sedara. The prince himself refuses to take active steps to halt the decline of his personal fortunes or to help build a new Sicily but his nephew Tancredi, Prince of Falconeri swims with the tide and assures his own position by marrying Don Calogero's beautiful daughter Angelica. The climatic scene is the sumptuous forty-minute ball, where Tancredi introduces Angelica to society. Written by
Director Luchino Visconti was disappointed that the producers of the film insisted on casting Burt Lancaster in the lead role, because he felt he was not right for the part. This caused tension between the two during the first few weeks of filming. Visconti's harsh treatment toward Lancaster eventually led to the actor publicly confronting him on the set. Visconti was so impressed with the passion and sincerity that Lancaster displayed during his tirade that the two developed a close and amicable relationship for the rest of the filming process. See more »
There is much kissing of hands during the movie. According to the book "Histoire de la politesse de 1789 à nos jours (History of good manners from 1789 till today)" by F. Rouvillois, the kissing of hands only appeared at the turn of the XXth century when the story in the movie was supposed to take place in 1860-1862, more than 40 years before. See more »
Luchino Visconti directed this rich, emotional, and intellectually rewarding study of the aristocracy in 19th century Sicily. Starring Burt Lancaster (his voice well-dubbed in his very best role), this would qualify as a character study if its canvas weren't so large.
As Garibaldi burns his way to a possible worker's revolution, the upper class seems to circle in a different orbit, taking vacations while the situation is at its least stable. With mutton chops beard and careful bearing, Lancaster is very much the Leopard, slyly shifting alliances when it's to his advantage. That's why his protégé (Alain Delon) is so likable to him, a young leopard certain to earn his own place.
This is more a film of character and theme, taking its time to show the contrasts between rich and poor, young and old. The famous ballroom sequence at the end of the film ties it all together with sensitivity and sadness.
The Leopoard requires some patience, but there's much to like. Fans of classic Italian cinema would be advised to seek out the full-length version.
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