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. He even repeats Tancredi's maxim, " things have got to change if we want them to stay as they are," but he does so without much conviction and he thinks of the family tomb at the Capuchins when the rest of Parlemitan society dances the evening away through the magnificent Baroque and Rococco rooms of the great Palazzzo Gangi.
It took 48 nights to film the ball scene and the results are apparent. It and the rest of the film are sheer perfection.
I hope the new version being released is based as much as possible on the original Visconti cut. Anything else is clearly not good enough.