Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Monday, 11 August 2014

The Leopard & Lawrence dazzle in Blu-ray

THE LEOPARD, 1963. Watching Visconti’s opus again on Blu-ray is like seeing it afresh with new eyes. It is even more stunning than ever. Those amazing set-pieces like that long final section at the ball couldn’t be more opulent.  Burt Lancaster of course is quietly marvellous as Don Fabrizio, the Prince of Salina, who observes the changes that will happen to his society, as he embraces and encourages the marriage between his nephew Tancredi and Angelica the daughter of the rising class merchant (Paola Stoppa). Alain Delon and Claudia Cardinale shine as the young lovers, particularly that long sequence where they explore that empty old palazzo. Nobody showcased Cardinale so perfectly as Visconti, both here and in his 1965 drama SANDRA (VAGHE STELLE DELL’ORSA). 
There is so much to savour and enjoy here as the unification of Italy, "Il Risorgimento", unfolds in 1860, one could almost say its an Italian GONE WITH THE WIND. Visconti covered the same era in his 1954 romantic drama SENSO (with that great performance by Alida Valli as the Wanton Countess). Don Fabrizo’s family – the wife he no longer finds desirable (Rina Morelli), the plain daughter who loves Tancredi – are shown in detail too, at family prayers and as they travel to their Sicilian summer retreat. 
The classic book by di Lampedusa (which I enjoy reading every few years) is perfectly captured in  Goffredo Lombardo’s production, photographed by Giuseppe Rotunno, costumes by Piero Tosi and the score by Nino Rota, with that great Verdi waltz for that marvellous sequence where the Prince waltzes with Angelica, cinema at its most intoxicating!  With Romolo Valli, Serge Reggiani, Peirre Clementi, Terence Hill. Marvellous that the film is restored to perfection after its initial release in washed-out, cut prints. One can see how this epic has ifluenced the likes of Coppola and Scorsese among others. More on THE LEOPARD at label.
We were also dazzled again too by LAWRENCE OF ARABIA on Blu-Ray, as well as CLEOPATRA, and will be returning to them in due course ...
and I must programme in the Blu-ray of THE GREAT BEAUTY as well ...

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