Retired professor of American origin lives solitary life in luxurious palazzo in Rome. He is confronted by vulgar Italian marchesa and her companions: her lover, her daughter and daughter’s boyfriend and forced to rent to them an apartment on upper floor of his palazzo. From this point his quiet routine is turned into chaos by his tenants’ machinations, and everybody’s life is taking unexpected but inevitable turn.
As Martin Scorsese notes in My Voyage to Italy, no 20th Century film-maker can lay claim to the unique disposition of Count Don Luchino Visconti di Modrone, the final heir to one of Europe’s oldest aristocratic families. For much of his youth, Visconti exulted in the privileges of his lifestyle. His house was a frequent retreat for the likes of Arturo Toscanini, Gabrielle d’Annunzio and Giacomo Puccini. His lifelong engagement in theatre and opera was imbibed from an early age along with brief passions such as raising horses and maintaining stables. It wasn’t long before Visconti began questioning the limitations of his lifestyle. Inspired by his intellectual yearnings, Visconti wandered away from his comfortable shelter and visited Paris. This would be a turning point in his life. Through his friendship with Coco Chanel, Visconti met French director Jean Renoir. He served as assistant director on some of Renoir’s best films from the 30s, including Toni, Partie de campagne and The Lower… read more
After having recently seen Helmut Berger screech his way across the screen as a whining sadist in *Beast with a Gun*, I just wasn't prepared for the depth and breadth of his performance here, for how perfectly he becomes a type, a character that seems both to be perfectly himself, perfectly familiar, yet freshly rendered in every next scene. Pretty great.
I'll never forget this film, a meditation on mortality I was watching when I learned the news that Ebert had died. It's exactly the kind of film Ebert taught me to love - subtle, adult, intelligent and rich in meaning and beauty. Lancaster gives one of his finest performances and Helmut Berger is a revelation. Dat mise-en-scene!
I rediscovered Burt in Visconti films. What a fine actor despite his hollywood background..wait he did have some good hollywood movies. But i believe Burt evolv in these foreign cinema especially with Visconti. Burt was breathtaking and his chemistry with Helmut was toxicating. Definitely worth talking about!