Historical evocation of Ludwig, king of Bavaria, from his crowning in 1864 until his death in 1886, as a romantic hero. Fan of Richard Wagner, betrayed by him, in love with his cousin ... See full summary »
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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 »
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The power and fortune of the Von Essenbeck family remained intact even when Germany lost the great war and during the depression that followed. Now it's 1934 and the baron has summoned his family to a dinner that also brings a cousin rising in the Nazi party to the great house accompanied by a rising manager at the baron's company. Two little girls recite poetry in the parlor and then play hide-and-seek with their cousin Martin. Suddenly there is a scream. The baron has been shot with their father's gun and the father flees the country. Written by
Dale O'Connor <email@example.com>
Rainer Werner Fassbinder's favorite film. He called it "perhaps the greatest film, the film that I think means as much to the history of film as Shakespeare to the history of theater." See more »
Throughout the film, SS-Captain Aschenbach is referred to as a "Hauptsturmfuhrer". However, prior to 1934 (when the film is set) the SS referred to the rank of Captain as "Sturmhauptfuhrer". See more »
You must realize that today in Germany anything can happen, even the improbable, and it's just the beginning, Frederick. Personal morals are dead. We are an elite society where everything is permissible. These are Hitler's words. My dear Frederick, even you should give them some thought.
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Visconti's bizarre examination of a powerful and wealthy family whose downfall both parallels the rise and foreshadows the fall of the Third Reich is never less than entertaining, it has to be said. Certainly not to the tastes of all, it seems to revel in the decadence and debauchery it portrays in much the same way a tabloid paper feels it has to publish dozens of photographs of the pornography it pretends to condemn. Look how depraved these incestuous cross-dressing Nazis were; apart from one pious voice the whole nation, it seems, is condemned with one broad stroke and we are given no contrast against which to compare such depravity.
The characters of the Von Essenbach family are each representative of a facet of 30s German character, all joined in a desire for power or the need to be protected beneath its wing, prone to making strident and unyielding demands and dismissing the rights of those who stand in their way. This leaves us with a morally repugnant lot, none of whom we can empathise with, and also tempts the cast to overact at times. Ingrid Thulin is particularly guilty, and even the usually laconic Dirk Bogarde becomes overwrought at times.
For all these faults, the film is shamelessly entertaining and fascinating to watch. It plays like a Shakespearian tragedy at times, and you feel compelled to see it through to the end just to find out the fate of each character.
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