The Leopard (1963)

The Leopard (Il gattopardo)
Directed by Luchino visconti
Written by Suso Cecchi d’Amico, Pasquale Festa Campanile, Luchino Visconti et al from a novel by Giuseppi Thomasi di Lampidusa
1963/Italy/France
Titanus; Societe Nouvelle Pathe Cinema; Society Generale de Cinematographie
Repeat viewing/Netlfix rental

Prince Don Fabrizio Salina: We were the leopards, the lions, those who take our place will be jackals and sheep, and the whole lot of us – leopards, lions, jackals and sheep – will continue to think ourselves the salt of the earth.

Beautiful people, beautiful scenery, beautiful things and a poignant story of change and mortality – what could be better?

Prince Don Fabrizio Salina (Burt Lancaster) is the patriarch of a family of hereditary princes drawing their legitimacy from the House of Savoy,  As story begins Garibaldi and his red shirts invade the island intending to claim it for King Victor Immanuel of a unified Italy.  Amidst the general panic, Dan Fabrizio does not intend to alter his behavior in any way.  And his prerogatives are largely respected due to his nephew Tancredi’s (Alain Delon) decision to fight with the red shirts.  Both the Prince and Tancredi are skilled at playing both sides against the middle.

The Prince continues to look out for his nephew and realizes that the key thing he will need for advancement is plenty of money. The problem is solved in the person of the beautiful Angelica (Claudia Cardinale) and her vulgar, nouveau riche father.  As the Prince cements this alliance his own mortality calls to him and he makes a graceful peace both with death and with the new age.

I am rarely in the mood for a three hour movie but I wasn’t checking the time through this one.  It’s a character study more than anything and I think the story needed space and time to give us such a round portrait of the prince.  All the acting, including several supporting characters, is first-rate.  And the production and camera work is simply amazing.  Highly recommendedl

The Leopard was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Costume Design, Color.

This ends my viewing of 1963 films.

Clip – the waltz – no subtitles but pure eye candy

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