Vaghe stelle dell'Orsa (1965) - Rotten Tomatoes

Vaghe stelle dell'Orsa (1965)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

In this film, American Andrew comes with his young wife Sandra to her Italian estate, where she again finds herself a prisoner of the past: the memories of her dead father, hostility towards her mother, and her strange relationship with her brother Gianni.


Jean Sorel
as Gianni
Renzo Ricci
as Gilardini
Fred Williams
as Pietro Fornari
Marie Bell
as Mrs. Gilardini
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Vaghe stelle dell'Orsa

All Critics (5) | Top Critics (3)

Visconti's approach is both classical and modern, etching tableaus of gone-to-seed opulence in high-contrast black and white while incorporating handheld camerawork, zooms and idiosyncratically framed shots.

Full Review… | November 19, 2013
Time Out
Top Critic

A dessert cart for the cinema-minded.

Full Review… | November 19, 2013
Village Voice
Top Critic

With its hard edges and dark shadows, crashing zooms and feline rages, Visconti's tale is, in effect, a work of Gothic modernism, in which history replaces mythology and madness evokes the blocked-out light of therapy.

Full Review… | October 14, 2013
New Yorker
Top Critic

The power of the film comes not from its mystery but from its drama, from Cardinale's incredible screen presence and Visconti's vivid visual ideas.

Full Review… | March 31, 2014
Eye for Film

The sexy Claudia Cardinale in the Electra role steals the film's acting honors.

Full Review… | March 15, 2013
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for Vaghe stelle dell'Orsa


"Sandra" promises greatness with the presence of luscious Claudia Cardinale and director Luchino Visconti, but this sluggish tale unfortunately fails to deliver. Cardinale plays a jet-set beauty who returns to the lavish family mansion with her new husband, only to find some dark secrets re-emerge during the reunion. There's not much more to say about the story, which should tell you something about its thin development -- mostly, the action is just a lot of indoor talking and implied tension. There's also a remarkably grating piano piece recurring in the score. And while I rarely complain about old films not being in color, this is one case where I will -- the black-and-white cinematography poorly serves the home's opulent decor.

Eric Broome
Eric Broome

Super Reviewer


With the party now over in Geneva, Sandra(Claudia Cardinale) is currently free to return to her home village in Italy with Andrew(Michael Craig), her American husband of a year, to put the family affairs in order. Frustratingly enough, they have to wait for her brother Gianni(Jean Sorel) to put in an apperance. Otherwise, he has been busy selling off the family heirlooms to support his lifestyle and writing of a book. On the other hand, he is happy to give Andrew a tour of the sights that includes an introduction to Dr. Pietro Formari(Fred Williams) who used to have a crush on Sandra while she stays behind to look through the family documents. "Sandra" is a beguilingly gothic tale consisting of all the necessary ingredients such as family, madness and sex. In introducing the movie, Gavin Smith remarked on the triangle at its heart while I would respectfully point out that the geometry is much more complex, with Sandra throwing off the orbits of the men around her with her ample charms. Politically, the movie is also about identity(Gianni and Sandra prominently wear Star of David's mostly to honor their father who died in Auschwitz) and how some of the characters have a problem adjusting to the new world order which is not necessarily due to provincialism as stated. This all happens in a country that is in ruins but what beautiful ruins.

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

This infrequently screened Visconti effort is a serious contender for the title of "most entertaining" in his filmography. This is more or less a Sirkian ghost story or an extended, melodramaticized version of the hide and seek scene in "The Leopard". It's gorgeously shot, full of borderline to full-on camp and unquestionably gorgeous people. It also recalls the twisted relationship between the siblings in Meville/Cocteau's "L'Enfants Terrible". The postdubbing destroys one potentially interesting aspect. A key character is American, but in the version I saw (full Italian), his lines were done by a natural Italian speaker, so his fish out of water stumbling was lost. Oh well. The print is in good shape. Someone needs to license it for DVD!

Richard Stracke
Richard Stracke

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