Senso (1954) - Rotten Tomatoes

Senso (1954)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Italian director Luchino Visconti dishes up his usual blend of elegance and decadence in Senso. The international cast includes French film star Alida Valli as a Italian countess married to a Venetian nobleman, and English leading man Farley Granger as an Austrian military officer. The two are swept up in the Austrian empire's evacuation of Italy in 1866. Valli and Granger fall in love, but Valli ultimately realizes that the officer is interested only in her wealth and prestige, whereupon she gives him over to a firing squad. Visconti had wanted Ingrid Bergman and Marlon Brando for his leads, but when Bergman's husband Roberto Rossellini would not permit her to appear in the film, Brando also bowed out. Originally running 166 minutes, Senso was released in a radically cut version in the US in 1968, titled Summer Hurricane ; yet another recut version popped up in England as The Wanton Contessa.more
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama, Romance, Art House & International, Classics
Directed By:
Written By: Giorgio Prosperi, Giorgio Bassani, Luchino Visconti, Paul Bowles, Carl Alianello
In Theaters:
On DVD: Apr 11, 2011
Criterion Collection - Official Site

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Alida Valli
as Livia Serpieri
Farley Granger
as Franz Mahler
Massimo Girotti
as Roberto Ussoni
Heinz Moog
as Serpieri
Marcella Mariani
as Prostitute
Christian Marquand
as Bohemian Officer
Tonio Selwart
as Col. Kleist
Cristoforo De Hartun...
as Commander at Venetia...
Marianna Leibl
as Wife of Austrian Gen...
Ernst Nadherny
as Commander of the Squ...
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Senso

Critic Reviews for Senso

All Critics (20) | Top Critics (5)

Senso is lush, broadly emotional and beautifully photographed.

Full Review… | August 29, 2014
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Senso is an elegant, expensively-produced, period love story, set back in the Italian 1860s, and a stylist delight.

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top Critic

Like other Visconti melodramas, [Senso is] sumptuous in its Technicolor expressionism.

Full Review… | January 26, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

It is an obvious, rudimentary operatic approach to amour and an illustration of history that is likely to be fuzzy to anyone but a student of Garibaldi's 1866 campaign in and around Venice and Verona.

Full Review… | May 10, 2005
New York Times
Top Critic

A lush, melodramatic portrait of seduction and betrayal, decadence and deceit in the midst of Italy's resistance to Austrian occupation in the mid-19th century.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

As usual with Visconti, there is a welter of baroque effects and an acute sense of history.

Full Review… | August 29, 2014
Radio Times

Audience Reviews for Senso

A feast for the eyes this lush melodrama may be an acquired taste for some but I doubt anyone could say it wasn't visually stunning. Venice is rendered so beautifully you will want to hop the next flight there and with the composition of all the other scenes it is like watching a story take place inside of paintings. However as gorgeous as all that is it also can be distracting and take you out of the story as you study the detail which at times feels a bit surreal. Having only seen Alida Valli in her english language films where she often seemed stiff and ill at ease her performance here is quite a revelation. She is fully in command of the screen and her anguished turmoil is compelling to watch. Farley is not bad although his part really doesn't offer him more of a chance than to play a very handsome but contemptible bastard.

jay nixon

Super Reviewer


Looks beautiful in sumptuous Technicolor, but I found the story to be deathly dull. I could barely finish it. This tale of war, betrayal, and forbidden love might be fine for some, but it's not for me.

Lewis C.

Super Reviewer


1866 Venice. The Italians are organized to reclaim the province from the Austrian empire. Such is the backdrop for this melodrama. The strength of this film is not in the 'love affair' plot, but in Visconti's operatic direction and unsurpassed ability to recreate history. The undertone is decidedly bittersweet because a way of life, with its beauty, elegance and decadence, is absorbed by history with the birth of a new nation. I am annoyed to find, once again, that the U.S. audience is viewing an edited version; most films play better when released in accordance to the artist's vision.

Stefanie C

Super Reviewer

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