The Leopard (1963)
Critic Consensus: Lavish and wistful, The Leopard features epic battles, sumptuous costumes, and a ballroom waltz that competes for most beautiful sequence committed to film.
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as Prince Don Fabrizio Salina
as Tancredi Falconeri
as Angelica Sedara/Bertiana
as Maria Stella
as Don Calogero
as Don Ciccio
as Governess Mademoiselle Dombreuil
as Count Cayriaghi
as Cavalier Chevally
as Youngest Daughter
as Little Prince
as Garibaldino General
as Don Onofrio Rotolo
as Don Diego
as Donna Margherita
as Col. Pallavicino
as Princess of Presicce
Critic Reviews for The Leopard
The film aches with regret over a crumbling empire, but its feelings are complicated by the wise prince, who recognizes his place on the wrong side of history.
A magnificent film, munificently outfitted and splendidly acted by a large cast dominated by Burt Lancaster's standout stint in the title role.
The film is a long, rich sigh at the end of the day, one that only Don Fabrizio can hear.
Two-plus hours of engrossing machinations and opulent scenery point the way to the pièce de résistance: a 45-minute gala scene that the Almighty himself would approve as a luxuriant prelude to the Rapture.
Audience Reviews for The Leopard
Visconti's leisurely paced three-hour epic is a deeply sad and nostalgic meditation on mortality and the passing of an era. A sumptuous drama rich in nuances, with beautiful performances (especially Burt Lancaster) and an unforgettable extended ballroom scene in the end.
Visconti remembers the good ole days (ala Gone With The Wind) of an stately affected upper class ruling the dirty lower classes with humble grace and dignity (only this story's set in Sicily, though at about at nearly the same time), and their fading demise ... whatever (I got no sympathy at all for sad rich folks mooning over the good ol'days, sorry). Sumptuously filmed and orchestrated, with loads of loving details and drenched in melancholy (like GWTW), its about the changing of the guard, and maybe that is sad. The cast is worthy if the subject isn't.
Luchino Visconti's The Leopard is just as fantastic as I've always heard it was. I picked up the Criterion Blu-ray of this a while back and I'm just now getting around to watching it. An absolutely lush film with big open landscapes and vistas as the backdrop to a story about the old generation succumbing to the new. I've only seen the Italian version of this (more or less the director's cut), and the one thing I really missed was Burt Lancaster's voice. It grabs hold of you when he speaks and you want to hear everything that he has to say, so judging his performance via an overdub was a little bit tricky. It's fabulous, of course, as is the rest of the cast's. The film is also a bit of an art film without a clear-cut story. The visuals are vastly more important than the story, I think, but the performances are so good that it doesn't matter. Everything about it is striking. Most will complain about having to read subtitles or sitting through its leisurely three hour running time, but if you can invest yourself in it, you'll find The Leopard to be a very beautifully melancholy work.
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