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Death in Venice (1971)

Morte a Venezia (original title)
GP | | Drama | 5 March 1971 (Italy)
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3:49 | Trailer

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While recovering in Venice, a sickly composer becomes dangerously fixated with a teenage boy.

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Writers:

(novel), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 18 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Hotel Manager
Mark Burns ...
Nora Ricci ...
Tadzio's Governess
...
Frau von Aschenbach
...
Esmeralda - Brothel Prostitute
Björn Andrésen ...
Tadzio (as Björn Andresen)
...
Tadzio's Mother
Leslie French ...
...
Barber
Antonio Appicella ...
Vagrant
Sergio Garfagnoli ...
Ciro Cristofoletti ...
Hotel Clerk
Luigi Battaglia ...
Scapegrace
Dominique Darel ...
English Tourist
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Storyline

In this adaptation of the Thomas Mann novel, avant-garde composer Gustave Aschenbach (loosely based on Gustav Mahler) travels to a Venetian seaside resort in search of repose after a period of artistic and personal stress. But he finds no peace there, for he soon develops a troubling attraction to an adolescent boy, Tadzio, on vacation with his family. The boy embodies an ideal of beauty that Aschenbach has long sought and he becomes infatuated. However, the onset of a deadly pestilence threatens them both physically and represents the corruption that compromises and threatens all ideals. Written by Eric Wees <eric_wees@ccmail.chin.doc.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The celebrated story of a man obsessed with ideal beauty.

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

GP | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

| |

Language:

| | | | |

Release Date:

5 March 1971 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

Death in Venice  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One day during filming Björn Andrésen asked Dirk Bogarde what his favorite Beatles song was. Bogarde did not know how to answer. See more »

Goofs

As Aschenbach watches the departing Tadzio just after he twirls on the canopy posts, two young boys are walking hand in hand toward the camera. In the next shot, only one of the boys is seen walking in front of Aschenbach. See more »

Quotes

Gustav von Aschenbach: Venice is gripped by pestilence!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Videoclub (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Neue Lieder (Wer Bei Den Frauen Glück Haben Will)
(uncredited)
Written by Armando Gill
See more »

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User Reviews

 
One of the greatest films
6 November 2017 | by See all my reviews

I must admit that on the surface Death in Venice seems to have a rather troubling, unpleasant plot. An old man follows a teenage boy for most of the movie. Let's pretend that we don't know anything about Mann's book and we dived straight into this film on television.

Death in Venice is a lesson to avoid writing stories off as what you think it means or is about. There's much more going on beneath the surface here. If you don't relate to our lead character, who looks rather lost in Venice... then you should at least appreciate the absolutely incredible cinematography and the way the music Mahler fits into it. This is one of the best uses of classical music to pictures you will see after Stanley Kubrick's work on 2001 and a Clockwork Orange. Yet, this movie has a level of sophistication that you might compare more to Barry Lyndon.

Okay, moving away from Kubrick, Visconti is his own artist, reaching levels typical of the greats of Italian art. Many won't agree with me because this film might not be their cup of tea for several reasons. There's some really long scenes here with seemingly not much point to further a plot. But that's not the style of Death in Venice. It's all about mood, atmosphere, often all the background people and fanfare going on at the hotel all around him, it reflects his state of mind and it's achieved with such precision to detail... and again here I'm going to compare to Kubrick, like Jack in the Shining - that kind of psychological breakdown. But The Shining has been appreciated by the mainstream too, while Death in Venice is largely unwatchable for the mainstream.

This is higher art. The scenes where he comes close to the boy, and the finale is just so perfectly executed, that every filmmaker should watch Death in Venice as a lesson.


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