Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Movie of the day: "The Leopard" 1963 (Italian version)

I think I found my new favorite movie, at least my favorite movie since joining Netflix:

"The Leopard" aka "Il Gattopardo".

This film by one of Italy's film maestro's, Luchino Visconti, is the operatic tale of the wealthy and cultured Prince Don Fabrizio Salina who must watch his existence and the history of his proud Sicilian family lineage fade into the past as a new generation of Bourgeois replaces the old generation of Aristocracy.

This was the time of rebellions (Il Risorgimento) in the 1880's that united Italy and Sicily under the tricolor flag we know today.

Don Fabrizio is portrayed by Burt Lancaster and his young nephew is Alain DeLon. The sensuous Claudia Cardinale plays Angelica Sedara, the daughter of the vulgar bourgeois mayor (Paolo Stoppa) ,who marries the Prince's nephew. Romolo Valli does a great job as Father Pirrone, who keeps the Prince company as he slips into the slums at night to carry on his affairs with a local prostitute.

The film rivals "Gone with the Wind" in its epic scope and detail. It has influenced American directors Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorsese and has been honored with the Golden Palm at the Cannes Film festival in 1964.

Absolutely sumptuous production design by Mario Garbuglia. Some of the best cinematography ever put to film by Giuseppe Rotunno. Score by the acclaimed Nino Rota.

This film is just over three hours in length but I watched it twice to bask in its beauty and soak up every detail.

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