Venezia, spring of 1866, in the last days of the Austrian occupation. A performance of Il Trovatore ends up in confusion due to an anti-Austrian demonstration, organised by Count Ussoni. His cousin Countess Serpieri falls in love with vile Austrian Lieutenant Franz Mahler, but the times are changing.Written by
Vincent Merlaud <email@example.com>
At the end of Robert Osborne's TCM introduction to the film (June 2005) he states: "By the way, what we're about to see is Visconti's original version of this film, not the abbreviated English-language version that originally played in America - so this is a big treat." See more »
Sweeping, operatic tragic love story scored to Bruckner
Whatever Anton Bruckner had in mind when writing his majestic Seventh Symphony, it probably wasn't as the score to a postwar Italian love story set during the Italian-Austrian conflicts of the Risorgiamento. Though the use of pre-existing classical music as backdrop for films is to be discouraged, here it works in surprising ways. Alida Valli is the Countess Livia Serpieri, in a loveless marriage to an older, collaborationist official. At the opera (Venice's La Fenice during Il Trovatore!) she meets up with a dashing young Austrian officer, Farley Granger. (Digression: After a handful of American films -- They Live by Night, Rope, Side Street, Strangers on a Train -- Granger journeyed to Italy to work with Visconti then fell off the screen for years, only to resurface in a few schlock films in the late 60s and early 70s. What happened to him?) They kindle up a clandestine and dangerous affair -- the wealthy older woman and the manipulative wastrel. After wheedling a small fortune out of her to bribe a doctor who declares him unfit to serve, he dumps her. But hell hath no fury....Luchino Visconti, assisted by the young Franco Zeffirelli -- both were opera directors, too -- pulls out all the stops, ending with a finale reminiscent of Tosca (but with a twist). Senso is a shameless and unforgettable wallow in Italianate passion -- unabashed verismo translated to the silver screen.
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