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Death in Venice (1971)

Morte a Venezia (original title)
GP | | Drama | 5 March 1971 (Italy)
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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(novel), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 18 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Mark Burns ...
Alfred
Nora Ricci ...
...
Frau von Aschenbach
...
Esmeralda
Björn Andrésen ...
Tadzio (as Björn Andresen)
...
Leslie French ...
Travel Agent
...
Antonio Appicella ...
Vagrant
Sergio Garfagnoli ...
Jaschu, Polish youth
Ciro Cristofoletti ...
Luigi Battaglia ...
Scapegrace
Dominique Darel ...
English tourist
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Storyline

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 of artistic and personal stress. But he finds no peace there, for he soon develops a troubling attraction to an adolescent boy, Tadzio, on vacation with his family. The boy embodies an ideal of beauty that Aschenbach has long sought and he becomes infatuated. However, the onset of a deadly pestilence threatens them both physically and represents the corruption that compromises and threatens all ideals. Written by Eric Wees <eric_wees@ccmail.chin.doc.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The celebrated story of a man obsessed with ideal beauty.

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

GP | See all certifications »
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Details

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Language:

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Release Date:

5 March 1971 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

Death in Venice  »

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

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Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.40 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The wage difference between main and co-star was vast, while Bjorn Andresen earned just $5000, Dirk Bogarde's salary for his role was one hundred times that. See more »

Goofs

As Aschenbach watches the departing Tadzio just after he twirls on the canopy posts, two young boys are walking hand in hand toward the camera. In the next shot, only one of the boys is seen walking in front of Aschenbach. See more »

Quotes

Alfred: Do you know what lies at the bottom of the mainstream? Mediocrity.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Cracker: Best Boys: Part 1 (1995) See more »

Soundtracks

Sehr Langsam Misterioso From Symphony No.3
Written by Gustav Mahler
Conducted by Franco Mannino
Performed by Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia (as The Orchestra of the Academy of Saint Cecilia)
Courtesy of Varèse Sarabande
See more »

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User Reviews

A visionary masterpiece (but not for those with short attention spans)!
13 April 1999 | by (USA) – See all my reviews

Turn-of-the-century Venice is depicted in all its elegance and decay through the eyes of a composer who knows he has little time left to live. The composer is obsessed not just with beauty, but with the ideas behind beauty, and his theories are slowly proved wrong when he finds himself infatuated with a beautiful teenage boy. He becomes obsessed with the boy and amidst the backdrop of a city quietly dying with a plague, he simply observes and ponders, trying his best to keep his desires at bay.

The core of the film is in Dirk Bogarde's performance. As there is little dialogue in the film, he must act with his eyes and through his mannerisms, and he never falters. In the reflection of his eyes we see beauty as it is distinguished in the depths of all of our souls (well, those of us who have souls!). We see the awe, the pain, the fever, the fear, the desire and the ultimate surrender all in that forlorn face.

The music (most of it by Gustave Mahler) also reflects all this, and Visconti's incredible photography of the decaying Venice pinpoints the end of an era in a way that is both dreamlike and unsentimental (despite the romantic quality of the film).

The film is slow and langorous, like the hush of the ocean sweeping the shore. For those who like the visual quality of dreams and the somber romanticism of adagios, this film will be something to cherish forever.


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