In an atmosphere of political tension when the French still control Algiers, an Algerian is killed on the beach and a French man who has lived in Algiers all his life is arrested for the ... See full summary »
Retired professor of American origin lives solitary life in luxurious palazzo in Rome He is confronted by vulgar Italian marchesa and her companions: her lover, her daughter and daughter's boyfriend and forced to rent to them an apartment on upper floor of his palazzo. From this point his quiet routine is turned into chaos by his tenants' machinations, and everybody's life is taking unexpected but inevitable turn.Written by
Because Luchino Visconti was severely affected by a stroke, the insurance companies refused the risk of insuring the production. The filming could begin only after Burt Lancaster promised to replace the director behind the camera if necessary. See more »
The original UK cinema version was cut by the BBFC to remove two uses of the word 'cunt'. When the film was resubmitted in 2003 only one use of the word was present in the version and this was passed uncut. See more »
A film that got completed because of the lead actor--and a superb swansong for a great director
On a second viewing after a 35 year gap, I am convinced this is indeed a lovely work and a major work of Visconti. This is is also one of those rare films that an actor--Burt Lancaster--helped a director to make a great film. (One recalls Kirk Douglas prevailing on Stanley Kubrick to change the ending of Paths of Glory, only to make it a major work of cinema). Here, Burt Lancaster, staked his own money to complete the film as producers backed out noticing the director was ill and could die before the film was completed.
One major fact that I did not realize was the title did not relate to conversations in the movie but was a well known (in the world of paintings) title for a series of paintings. That makes you to reassess the entire film. The film is a study of Italy through the eyes of three generations and their varied values on social interactions, art, politics, architectural design, music, et al.
Once you evaluate the film on the basis of the painter's decision to change the very trees and objects in his painting compared to the photograph taken of the same scene, the movie's stature itself changes. The opening credits that begin with a blast followed by the electrocardiogram graph roll streaming out unattended is a Visconti masterstroke.
That the film was made by the director sitting on a wheel chair is impressive. Is it a film about acquiring possessions or about understanding people? Both. One realizes the importance of understanding human behaviour of strangers, as one educated professor was withdrawing into solitude surrounded by books, works of art and great music. And his life changes for the richer experience in his sunset years. A great film indeed with superb performances from Burt Lancaster and Silvana Mangano. The cameos of Claudia Cardinale and Dominique Sanda do not contribute much except in providing insights into the character of the professor.
Highly recommended for serious viewers of good quality cinema.
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