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The Leopard - Criterion Collection

Burt Lancaster , Alain Delon , Luchino Visconti    PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)   DVD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By M. B. Alcat TOP 1000 REVIEWER
"The Leopard" (1963), based on the novel of the same name written by Giuseppe Tomasi Di Lampedusa, is the best film I have seen this year. Directed by Luchino Visconti, this splendid Italian movie takes the spectator straight into late 19th century Italy, a time of social and political change, something "The Leopard" shows clearly and in a masterful way.

One of the main characters is Prince Don Fabrizio of Salina (Burt Lancaster), who realizes that he must do something, if he wants the House of Salina to remain powerful in a new world that is going to be dominated by the middle class, not the aristocracy. The answer comes to him in the form of his nephew Tancredi (Alain Delon), an ally of the new forces that says that "If we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change".

Prince Salina is bitter regarding the need for compromise ("We were the leopards, the lions, those who take our place will be jackals and sheep, and the whole lot of us - leopards, lions, jackals and sheep - will continue to think ourselves the salt of the earth"), but he recognizes the wisdom of the path Tancredi suggests, and supports him. What is more, Prince Salina also gives his blessing to Tancredi's decision to marry Angelica (Claudia Cardinali), an extremely beautiful and well-connected woman from the middle class. Of course, that doesn't sit well with Concetta (Lucilla Morlacchi), Tancredi's counsin, who has fallen thoroughly in love with him.

I would like to point out that there is a lot more to "The Leopard" than the plot I just outlined, for example the beautiful Sicilian scenery, the wonderful music, and the political connotations of several scenes. From my point of view, this is the kind of film you can enjoy, but also learn from. On the whole, highly recommended!

Belen Alcat
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Epic filmmaking at its finest June 17 2004
By Cubist
Adapted from a novella by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, The Leopard paints a vivid picture of the Italian aristocracy falling from grace and the middle class revolting to form a more democratic Italy on an epic canvas. Caught up in this class revolution is an affluent family led by the Prince of Salina, Don Fabrizio Corbera (Burt Lancaster). He recognizes that he is part of an obsolete generation and that his young nephew, Tancredi Falconeri (Alain Delon), and his beautiful fiancée, Angelica Sedara (Claudia Cardinale), represent the new order.
The first DVD features an audio commentary by film scholar Peter Cowie. He provides the backstory to Visconti's career leading up to The Leopard. Cowie talks at length about the film in relation to its source material. This is a strong, informative track that is an excellent introduction to the cinema of Visconti.
The second DVD starts off with a fantastic, hour-long documentary, entitled "A Dying Breed: The Making of the Leopard," that was created especially for the DVD. There are interviews with most of the surviving cast and crew, including Claudia Cardinale and the film's screenwriters.
This is an excellent look at The Leopard from the origins of the novel to the film's botched U.S. version that truncated Visconti's vision and was re-dubbed with English-speaking actors.
There is also a "Goffredo Lombardo Interview" with the producer of The Leopard.
"The History of Risorgimento" examines the real historical figures and the times they lived in with the professor of Italian Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, Millicent Marcus. This is a really good primer for anyone who is unfamiliar with this particular period of Italian history.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The real Gattopardo, a masterpiece Nov. 15 2003
First of all we must separate Visconti's Il Gattopardo, all the 225 minutes of it, from the mess recut, recolored, re-dubbed by 20th Century Fox and distributed as a sort of Burt Lancaster vehicle.
I speak of the original.
Under Count Lucchino Visconti di Modrone's direction and with the aid of 263 technicians, 4300 candles, 500 pairs of white gloves, 5113 costumes, real food, wine, 6 tailors with 56 seamsters, a laundry service, 4 bootmakers and 644 meters of track on which three cameras rolled, Burt Lancaster, Rina Morelli, Alain Delon, Claudia Cardinale and other magnificent actors transport us to a time of revolutonary change, destruction and renewal in Sicily, 1860.
Neither opulence nor poverty become so obtrusive that we forget what is going on with the Prince of Salina. The sets are magnificent: the villa at San Lorenzo is in real life Villa Boscogrande and the palazzo of the Princes Ponteleone where the great 44 1/2 minute ballroom scene takes place is none other than Palazzo Gangi in Palermo.
Amid all this splendor Prince Salina, the Leopard, senses the end of his world, of his own class. Actually he contributes to it by encouraging his penniless but charming nephew Tancredi (Delon) to marry the vulgar but extremely rich and beautiful Angelica, daughter of Calogero Sedara, one of the "up and coming" men of the post revolutionary world, a resident of the Prince's fief of Donnafugatta.
The Prince tries to make sense of this new world but the events leave a bitter taste in his mouth.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Visconti's greatest works
The Leopard is an Italian period film directed by Luchino Visconti, and released in 1963.
It centers around the Salinas, a family of aristocrats in southern Italy, during the... Read more
Published on Feb. 21 2011 by Rinjin
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Restoration in Blu-ray
Perhaps easy to see why the original version's running time was clipped by 25 minutes, but stick with the original Italian version to see the full development of this study of... Read more
Published on Aug. 27 2010 by Wolverine
5.0 out of 5 stars History as told by an Arsitocrat
This is a film about the end of an age -- the age of the aristocrat. It also happens to be a film made by a member of the aristocracy. Read more
Published on June 26 2004 by Doug Anderson
5.0 out of 5 stars Grandiose epic film with political and social undertones...
Leopard is a grandiose epic film based on the Sicilian aristocrat Giuseppe Tomasi Di Lampedusa's novel that he wrote in respect to his grandfather. Read more
Published on June 24 2004 by Kim Anehall
4.0 out of 5 stars The Leopard
I've seen this movie in the sixties, the one of most beautiful movies I've ever seen, and I never forgot it since. I consider The Leopard the best role of Burt Lancaster's. Read more
Published on Jan. 2 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating film of Lampedusa's great novel
A DVD release of this flawed but fascinating film needs to happen. Lampedusa's epochal novel is likely not to have another cinematic presentation any time soon. Read more
Published on Oct. 24 2003 by B. Cathey
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