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Death in Venice (1971)
"Morte a Venezia" (original title)

GP  -  Drama  -  5 March 1971 (Italy)
7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 11,189 users  
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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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Title: Death in Venice (1971)

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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:
...
Romolo Valli ...
Mark Burns ...
Alfred
Nora Ricci ...
...
Frau von Aschenbach
...
Esmeralda (as Carole Andre)
Björn Andrésen ...
Tadzio (as Björn Andresen)
...
Leslie French ...
Travel Agent
Franco Fabrizi ...
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

Country:

|

Language:

| | |

Release Date:

5 March 1971 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

Death in Venice  »

Box Office

Gross:

SEK 630,202 (Sweden)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 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

When Aschenbach first asks the hotel manager about the situation in Venice, the manager finishes by saying, "There's nothing to worry about." His glasses are on his face. The scene cuts to a different angle, and the manager repeats, "Nothing to worry about", but he's holding his glasses in his hands. See more »

Quotes

Gustav von Aschenbach: You know sometimes I think that artists are rather like hunters aiming in the dark. They don't know what their target is, and they don't know if they've hit it. But you can't expect life to illuminate the target and steady your aim. The creation of beauty and purity is a spiritual act.
Alfred: Non Gustav, no. Beauty belongs to the senses. Only to the senses.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Death in Venice, CA (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

Sehr Langsam Misterioso From Symphony No.3
Written by Gustav Mahler
Conducted by Franco Mannino
Performed by The Orchestra of the Academy of Saint Cecilia
Courtesy of Varèse Sarabande
See more »

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User Reviews

 
ignores important aspects of the novella
11 June 2004 | by (uiuc) – See all my reviews

I'm not sure where to start with this. In short, it was a disappointing movie. Having taught the novella, I was aware that it would be a hard story to turn into a movie. The movie has a couple of interesting lines (mainly between Alfred and Aschenbach) but it doesn't represent the debate on art that basically shapes the novella.

For one, I was expecting an older Aschenbach and a younger Tadzio. In the book, Tadzio is fourteen, but he is described as pure, ideal, innocent, whereas in the movie he reeks of sexuality and is a tease. He is an accomplice to Aschenbach, he always looks back at him, almost provokingly. In the book, it is Aschenbach who steals glances at the boy. As for Aschenbach, I imagined something closer to the professor-turned-clown in The Blue Angel (based on a story by Thomas Mann's brother Heinrich) than this forty-year old with hardly any gray hair. In all fairness, I do think that Dirk Bogarde did a good job, but either someone else should have done that, or he should have made to look older at the beginning.

I know that the discovery of homosexuality is important to the story, but the movie minimizes the talk about art and the duality between the Apollonian and Dyonisian inspirations and focuses instead on Aschenbach's obsession of Tadzio and does not justify it. I liked the fact that Mahler's music was used, because ultimately he did inspire Mann to write his story. I'm not sure turning Aschenbach into a musician was a particularly good move. Or the creation of Alfred who I don't remember in the book.

And one thing that really got to me was the sound and how it did not match the actors' lips. I was wondering if it was dubbed because I expected it to be in Italian. But then I remembered that each Italian movie I have watched has this problem. It just bothers me because these directors (Fellini is the other person I'm thinking of) are supposed to epitomize perfection in Italian cinema, and here are their characters laughing without sound, then you hear a noise that doesn't correspond to their faces (I'm thinking of the scenes when Aschenbach almost collapses and starts laughing. This scene could/should have been the strongest, but it was annoying instead).


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