In the 1860s, a dying aristocracy struggles to maintain itself against a harsh Sicilian landscape. The film traces with a slow and deliberate rhythm the waning of the noble home of Fabrizio Corbero, Prince of Salina (the Leopard) and the corresponding rise to eminence of the enormously wealthy ex-peasant Don Calogero Sedara. The prince himself refuses to take active steps to halt the decline of his personal fortunes or to help build a new Sicily but his nephew Tancredi, Prince of Falconeri swims with the tide and assures his own position by marrying Don Calogero's beautiful daughter Angelica. The climatic scene is the sumptuous forty-minute ball, where Tancredi introduces Angelica to society.Written by
The same year he finished 8½ (1963), Nino Rota dusted off an old symphony of his own composition, he proposed it to Luchino Visconti for this film, the director loved it, and it became the score for this fresco of the social and political changes in Sicily in the midst of the 19th century. The editor Mario Serandrei had given Visconti as a present the sheet music of an unpublished waltz by Giuseppe Verdi that he had found in one drawer of an old chest he bought in a flea market. Rota added this composition to the long final ball sequence. See more »
At the begging of the film, Prince of Salina uses de word "mafiosi" to describe Garibaldi's supporters. This word settled few years later, as a result of the popularity of the play "I mafiusi di la Vicaria" from 1863. The mafia organization as we know it, was just starting its activities as such during the post unification period. See more »
The longest cut of "The Leopard" runs 205 minutes. This version (which has achieved almost legendary status) is (reputedly) available on video in Italy, and was shown theatrically (at least in Toronto, Canada), in the 1970's. For many years, only the 165-minute, English-dubbed version was available in North America. The 187-minute Criterion DVD release is currently the longest available version, and is, in fact the same version as the Italian DVD release at 180 minutes (the 7-minute time difference is due only to the PAL transfer rate differential). See more »
Burt Lancaster plays a true aristocrat in an aristocracy that is not an aristocracy. The degeneracy as well as the sophistication of the rival political factions in warring Sicily is shown, and the human insight of the central character that embodies true nobility, even though he is largely powerless to make his ideals reality. Garibaldi is invading Sicily with an army of a thousand, landing in Marsala and advancing through Palermo. Prince Salina (Lancaster) is a noble of a disappearing age. He refuses a place in the new senate and is unable to convince the new wave that the unification will not be good for Sicily. He is caught between different loyalties. A love story between his nephew (played by Alain Delon) and a rich merchant's daughter (played by Claudia Cardinale) interweaves the action and heightens the moral dilemmas that Prince Salina has to face. A brave film, opposing, exposing and opposed by government and church. The full length restored edition is a cinematic gem and the opulent costumes and scenery are a treasure to behold.
58 of 77 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this