27 user 51 critic

Senso (1954)

Not Rated | | Drama, History, Romance | 8 July 1968 (USA)
3:28 | Trailer
A troubled and neurotic Italian Countess betrays her entire country for a self-destructive love affair with an Austrian Lieutenant.


Luchino Visconti


Luchino Visconti (story), Suso Cecchi D'Amico (story) | 8 more credits »
3 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

More Like This 

Obsession (1943)
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Gino, a drifter, begins an affair with inn-owner Giovanna as they plan to get rid of her older husband.

Director: Luchino Visconti
Stars: Clara Calamai, Massimo Girotti, Dhia Cristiani
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

In rural Sicily, the fishermen live at the mercy of the greedy wholesalers. One family risks everything to buy their own boat and operate independently.

Director: Luchino Visconti
Stars: Luchino Visconti, Antonio Pietrangeli, Antonio Arcidiacono
Beautiful (1951)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A woman from the low class desperately tries to get her daughter into the movies.

Director: Luchino Visconti
Stars: Anna Magnani, Walter Chiari, Tina Apicella
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A humble clerk courts a woman who night after night awaits for the return of her lover.

Director: Luchino Visconti
Stars: Maria Schell, Marcello Mastroianni, Jean Marais
Crime | Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

Having recently been uprooted to Milan, Rocco and his four brothers each look for a new way in life when a prostitute comes between Rocco and his brother Simone.

Director: Luchino Visconti
Stars: Alain Delon, Renato Salvatori, Annie Girardot
Sandra (1965)
Drama | Mystery | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Sandra returns to her childhood village to take care of family business, but her childhood memories and secrets soon overcome her.

Director: Luchino Visconti
Stars: Claudia Cardinale, Jean Sorel, Michael Craig
The Leopard (1963)
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

The Prince of Salina, a noble aristocrat of impeccable integrity, tries to preserve his family and class amid the tumultuous social upheavals of 1860's Sicily.

Director: Luchino Visconti
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Alain Delon, Claudia Cardinale
The Damned (1969)
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

The dramatic collapse of a wealthy, industrialist/Junker family during the reign of the Third Reich.

Director: Luchino Visconti
Stars: Dirk Bogarde, Ingrid Thulin, Helmut Griem
L'Innocente (1976)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Tullio Hermil is a chauvinist aristocrat who flaunts his mistress to his wife, but when he believes she has been unfaithful he becomes enamored of her again.

Director: Luchino Visconti
Stars: Giancarlo Giannini, Laura Antonelli, Jennifer O'Neill
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A reclusive, retired professor is faced with confronting modernity when a group of vulgar youths, led by an obnoxious marchesa, take up residence in his unused upper residence.

Director: Luchino Visconti
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Helmut Berger, Silvana Mangano
Ludwig (1973)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

The reign of the tormented Ludwig, king of Bavaria, from 1864 to 1886.

Director: Luchino Visconti
Stars: Helmut Berger, Romy Schneider, Trevor Howard
Certificate: GP Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

While recovering in Venice, sickly Composer Gustav von Aschenbach becomes dangerously fixated with teenager Tadzio.

Director: Luchino Visconti
Stars: Dirk Bogarde, Romolo Valli, Mark Burns


Complete credited cast:
Farley Granger ... Il tenente Franz Mahler
Alida Valli ... La contessa Livia Serpieri
Massimo Girotti ... Il marchese Roberto Ussoni
Heinz Moog Heinz Moog ... Il conte Serpieri
Rina Morelli ... Laura, la governante
Christian Marquand ... Un ufficiale boemo
Sergio Fantoni ... Luca
Tino Bianchi Tino Bianchi ... Il capitano Meucci
Ernst Nadherny ... Il comandante della piazza di Verona
Tonio Selwart Tonio Selwart ... Il colonello Kleist
Marcella Mariani Marcella Mariani ... Clara, la prostituta


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 <merlaud@studi.mathematik.hu-berlin.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

italy | love | venezia | betrayal | opera | See All (55) »


Drama | History | Romance | War


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »





Italian | German

Release Date:

8 July 1968 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Wanton Contessa See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,984, 28 October 2018

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Lux Film See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (edited/dubbed) | (director's cut)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Farley Granger had an irreparable falling-out with director Luchino Visconti towards the end of filming' he left the picture and went home to the US. Visconti handled this by using a "double" to stand in for Granger's character in the final sequences--the double was told to keep his hands in front of his face the whole time, and then was dispatched with his face to the wall. This anecdote is recounted by Francesco Maselli in his fascinating film of personal recollection, Frammenti di Novecento (2005). See more »


Il tenente Franz Mahler: It's too late! It's over! I'm not your romantic hero!
See more »

Alternate Versions

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 »


Edited into Histoire(s) du cinéma: La monnaie de l'absolu (1999) See more »


Di quella pira
(from "Il Trovatore; Act 3")
Music by Giuseppe Verdi
Performed by Gino Penno
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

For those who watch opera for the storyline
3 May 2008 | by federovskySee all my reviews

It's no coincidence that the film opens at the opera. In some fine deep shots we are introduced to our characters with the performance in the background - no doubt to establish the stylistic connection. So Visconti, and collaborator Franco Zefferelli, wanted to make an opera without the singing. This gives us grandeur, but rigidity, and even the mini riot that takes place in the opera house at the outset is aesthetically stylised. You need to buy into the approach at this point, and I simply didn't. It just seemed like a bad idea. Opera is a stage spectacle, all about grand gesture, posturing, formality; it cannot transmit subtleties, the format doesn't allow it. Take away the music and you are left with a banal story and a lot of fancy costumery. For Visconti, constantly wanting to remind us of his noble descent, that is enough - his main concern is showing us lavish interior decor, an obsession you'll find either stirring or stifling. For music we get Bruckner, whose indecisive, meandering drone is largely ignorable.

Cinematically, the result is half-baked. Valli walks into a room full of Austrian soldiers. David Lean (who I equate with Visconti to some extent) would have made a significant scene out of this but Visconti just gives us soldiers draped around the place in various unnatural postures, as you might expect. One of them moves and strikes up a different posture – as you might expect. It's all cut and pasted from the Manual of Things Seen and Done Before. The camera stays back, wide angle, and doesn't lend much of a hand with the narrative, leaving the players to communicate with exaggerated gesture.

A married Venetian countess falls for a young Austrian army officer - we know from the first scene that he is an utter cad, but she doesn't – or rather she does, but being a one dimensional clinging woman she is bound to hurl herself into disastrous folly. Hence the film mainly consists of Valli ringing the emotional changes over her illicit affair. Visconti indulged so much time in this that he must have thought he was dealing with an original topic. Along the way, there's the approaching end of Austrian rule of northern Italy and some slight comment on the collaboration of senior Venetian figures – but that point seems hardly worth making after all this time. There is a lengthy section where Valli's cousin (dashing hero figure) rushes on a military errand rather ridiculously right across the battle line of two approaching armies, but this section was apparently heavily edited, rendering it pointless and incomprehensible. The battle scenes are childish – a puff of smoke and the nearest two soldiers fall to the ground – this happens repeatedly.

The script can't do anything with the stereotypical characters and the one-sentence plot and there are no stand-out lines. This is extraordinary considering the 'English dialogue by Tennessee Williams and Paul Bowles'. Probably it was there but smothered by Visconti's operatic technique. One wonders why these writers were attracted to the project (apart from a free holiday in Rome) – perhaps they liked the final humiliation of the countess, which is quite harsh – even gleefully misogynistic. She gets her own back though, and it seems the moral is that both men and woman, with their impulsive need for each other, no matter how noble the exterior, are stupid, weak and mutually self-destructive. That ridicules everybody (...or does it?).

Funnily enough, the main problem is Alida Valli, who is required to over-emote in every scene (in total contrast to her depressive role in "The Third Man") – it's a little unpleasant to watch and she soon begins to annoy. She doesn't look right at all during the romance – too hard-edged. Farley Granger was actually the main point of interest. His slight woodenness suits the impossibly white uniform and cape he was made to wear (what sort of wash-powder did they have in those days?), and in the climactic drunken scene (enhanced by a delightful whore - the highlight of the film) he did as well as anyone could have done under a direction that demanded over-amplification of every attempted nuance. And his eyes expressed something beyond the paltry plot of the film as if betraying that this Italian job was an odd, intense experience for him for one reason or another. So, for all the film's grandeur, all I was left with was some vague speculation of a personal nature about one of its players. Perhaps his story – relating to the real world - is the film Visconti should have made.

15 of 31 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 27 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed