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 failure of the American version was not helped when Fox complicated matters by not releasing it in Technicolor like the Italian version, but in the inferior, but cheaper, DeLuxe color process. 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 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 »
Portrait of powerful yet reflective man, who doesn't abuse his power
This beautiful film, which I saw some time ago, remains in my memory as a profound study of a man in a position of power who thinks, reflects on important values, as well as his own aging process...and yet the film is never static. Burt Lancaster gave a brilliant performance...which I read was his favorite role. Visually, it is stunning. The long dance scene with Claudia Cardinale is justifiably famous...one of the sexiest scenes on film, in my opinion. To anyone interested in serious concerns, cinematically expressed with grace and intelligence, I would urge you to see this splendid film.
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