3 Reviews
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"Death in Venice" is Luchino Visconti's mood masterpiece
11 February 2005
From the time I first saw this film in East Berlin in the 1970's with my lover, Lutz, till now-the magic of this film never fades. It is a dream, a mood , a beautiful image. Dirk Bogarde is well suited as the repressed artist Aschenbach who visits Venice and finds ideal beauty in the young boy, Tadzio. Luchino Visconti took Thomas Mann's famous novel and brought it to life. Silvana Mangano is more enchanting than ever as the boy's mother. The haunting musical score of Gustav Mahler is a feast. This film is a superb delight. To those who complain that it is slow moving, I feel that it is a film to be enjoyed in that way. One can only praise such a beautiful work of art in Italian film and shudder at the vile crap being produced by Hollywood.
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Zarah Leander in the desert
8 February 2005
Although Ms. Leander herself found this film to be "so bad", it has its moments for her loyal fans. She enters in an airplane that she pilots as her deep, rich voice is played on a record in the cockpit! And her songs can not be faulted, with the help of Bruno Balz. Most alluring is "Sagt dir eine schone Frau vielleicht" sung in an elegant atmosphere at the "Hotel Royal" as she is watched by various sinister types ( A reflection of a scene from La Habanera? ). The exotic setting of the film seems to work against its star in some ways: it is not the place for her to wear her trademark furs and jewels, although there is some glamour in spite of being at an outpost in the middle of nowhere. The plot contains some anti-British propaganda. Hitler attended opening night, but his opinion of the film remains unrecorded. It is easy to focus on Zarah Leander and forget the other, rather poor, aspects in this film. All in all, this is strictly for the fans of Ms. Leander.
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Zarah Leander is wonderful
3 February 2005
Perhaps the party who wrote the review saying that the lyrics of the songs are smarter than the writer of them didn't know the history of them. The great Bruno Balz (of the team Bruno Balz-Michael Jary) wrote the lyrics from prison in Berlin. He was arrested for homosexual acts with a Hitler youth. Micheal Jary (and some say Balz' friend Zarah Leander) pleaded his case before Goebbels and Mr. Balz was released on the grounds that he was needed to write inspiring songs. He is not credited in the film. As for the film itself, there is a strong sense of camp. Just watching Leander in her furs is a thrill. And, yes, the songs live on. It is the story of an affair between a famous singer and an Airforce pilot (who must leave for the war) No one can suffer the way Zarah Leander does! And Grete Weiser as the maid brings howls of laughter as she often does. While the film isn't devoid of politics , those of us who hate the crimes of the Nazis can look to other aspects of this film and enjoy it.
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