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 title "Il Gattopardo" literally translates from Italian as "The Serval". In France, the film was released as "Le Guépard" ("The Cheetah"), and in UK and USA as "The Leopard". The serval, the cheetah and the leopard are in fact three different species of felines. 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 »
Prince Don Fabrizio Salina:
You know what is happening in our country? Nothing... simply an imperceptible replacement of one class for another. The middle class doesn't want to destroy us. It simply wants to take our place... and very gently.
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The original Italian theatrical cut of "The Leopard" ("Il Gattopardo") reportedly ran 205 minutes. General consensus that the running time was excessive led Visconti to edit the film shortly after its premiere. The version that won the Palme d'Or at Cannes reportedly ran 195 minutes (based on an Italian newspaper account of the day). Visconti's preferred cut ran 187 minutes. It is this version that is now available on DVD from the Criterion Collection. An English-dubbed version, re-cut by 20th Century Fox for U.S. and U.K. release, runs approximately 161 minutes, and is also included in the Criterion set. See more »
a film that just gets better with age, yours and its own!
I was rounding off a two year study in France in 1963 and I remember gazing at the marquee of a cinema in Paris shortly after the Cannes Festival, seeing "Le Guepard" advertised, beautiful Claudia Cardinale waltzing with handsome, courtly, Burt Lancaster. At the time, I made a mental note to see the movie but in fact, saw it for the first time many years later, on a black and white TV no less! Chopped up and edited as it was, in black and white, the film moved me immensely. I was absolutely thunderstruck by the dialogue which, when I read the Prince of Lampedusa's novel shortly after, I realized had been "lifted" verbatim from the novel in large chunks. What a novel and what a worthy and noble tribute to it Visconti has paid. I now own the Criterion three disk set of Il Gattopardo and never tire of watching what is for me, one of the great films of the twentieth century. Burt Lancaster, as the Prince of Salina, was an inspired choice for the cinematic role, though apparently he was not Luchino Visconti's choice. I think the Prince of Salina is Lancaster's finest performance.
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