English Title: The Leopard
Original Title: Il gattopardo
Country: Italy, France
Genre: Drama, History
Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa
Suso Cecchi D’Amico
Pasquale Festa Campanile
Howard Nelson Rubien
Visconti’s Palme d’Or winner in Cannes 1963, a lavishly epic film recounts Italian’s royal dignity clashing with the new revolutionary era (triggered by Garibaldi’s upheaval), a historic keystone erecting in the base of this ancient country, a superior nobility runs in the blood of its people.
Sociologically and psychologically the film rings very true to Italian audience, the specter of a glory’s downfall is haunting both Burt Lancaster’s Prince of Salina and all the viewers, a condescending compromise with rich merchants is a shrewd move but younger members of the family (Alain Delon’s Tancredi Falconeri, the nephew of the prince) have descended into some sort of opportunists, the society lumbers everyone with the inexorable progress, which is set stubbornly to alter each individual’s destiny.
There are bountiful enchanting parts in the film, particularly with which Visconti are adept at, the maze palace, the opulent banquet and ballroom dancing, nostalgically right pitches to soft spot of evocation, but the siege section is risible and inane, out of his comfort zone, Visconti has to condemn his wealthy backdrop to impede his vision of the true brutality of warfare.
The cast is no more showy than the settings and the costumes, Burt Lancaster laboriously portrays his character with contrived sentiment which is too unrealistic to be credible, Alan Delon and Claudia Cardinale are poised concretely as eye-candies, along with other numerous sidekicks (including a dashing Terence Hill, whose name was still Mario Girotti then), whom one could almost assume as hollow and detached as any walking-dead.
Nevertheless, THE LEOPARD cannot be bypassed in the history of films, its the summit of Visconti’s career (personally LUDWIG 1972 is more pliant to my predilection), and its solemn beauty is undeniable.