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Senso (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]


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Editorial Reviews

This lush, Technicolor tragic romance from Luchino Visconti (Le notti bianche, The Leopard) stars Alida Valli (The Third Man, Eyes Without a Face) as a nineteenth-century Italian countess who, amid the Austrian occupation of her country, puts her marriage and political principles on the line by engaging in a torrid affair with a dashing Austrian lieutenant, played by Farley Granger (Rope, Strangers on a Train). Gilded with fearless performances, ornate costumes and sets, and a rich classical soundtrack, Visconti�s operatic melodrama is an extraordinary evocation of reckless emotions and deranged lust from one of the cinema�s great sensualists.

Special Features

SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer, created in collaboration with the Cineteca di Bologna and Martin Scorsese�s Film Foundation, supervised by director of photography Giuseppe Rotunno, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
  • The Making of �Senso,� a new documentary featuring Rotunno, assistant director Francesco Rosi, costume designer Piero Tosi, and Caterina D�Amico, daughter of screenwriter Suso Cecchi D�Amico and author of Life and Work of Luchino Visconti
  • Viva VERDI, a new documentary on Visconti, Senso, and opera featuring Italian film scholar Peter Brunette, Italian historian Stefano Albertini, and author Wayne Koestenbaum
  • The Wanton Countess, the rarely seen English-language version of the film
  • Visual essay by film scholar Peter Cowie
  • Man of Three Worlds: Luchino Visconti, a 1966 BBC special exploring Visconti�s parallel masteries of cinema, theater, and opera direction
  • New and improved English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by filmmaker and author Mark Rappaport and an excerpt from actor Farley Granger�s autobiography, Include Me Out

  • Product Details

    • Actors: Alida Valli, Farley Granger, Heinz Moog, Rina Morelli, Christian Marquand
    • Directors: Luchino Visconti
    • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, NTSC, Special Edition, Subtitled, Widescreen
    • Language: Italian (Dolby Digital 2.0)
    • Subtitles: English
    • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
    • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
    • Number of discs: 1
    • Rated: Unrated
    • Studio: Criterion Collection
    • DVD Release Date: February 22, 2011
    • Run Time: 123 minutes
    • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
    • ASIN: B004CIIXCS
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #90,219 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

    Customer Reviews

    4.0 out of 5 stars

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews

    95 of 100 people found the following review helpful By El Critico on December 28, 2010
    Format: DVD Verified Purchase
    December 28, 2010
    Amazon should not use these six reviews posted as of today in conjunction with the Criterion Collection DVD to be released on Feb. 22, 2011.
    It is misleading and unfair to the new issue that among other things includes the missing seven minutes opening sequence.
    At least they should make clear to the customers that these six reviews apply to the Korean import ONLY!
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    21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Byron Kolln HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on May 22, 2011
    Format: DVD Verified Purchase
    Criterion has made lots of people very happy with this comprehensive release of Luchino Visconti's 1954 masterpiece SENSO. Loosely based on Camillo Boito's novella of the same name, SENSO is the story of a doomed love affair, set during the turmoil of Austria-occupied Italy in 1866.

    During a performance of "Il trovatore" at La Fenice, the Countess Livia (Alida Valli) meets Austrian officer Franz Mahler (Farley Granger). The two fall into a torrid love affair, which is made all the more scandalous because of their individual loyalties. When Franz begs Livia to give him the money he needs in order to bribe certain officials and exit the army, Livia reluctantly hands over the Italian partisan funds that were entrusted to her by her cousin, exiled because of his actions in trying to undermine the Austrian army. When she later receives a rather strange letter from Franz, Livia follows him back to Verona, where her ever-crumbling sanity reaches the breaking point...

    SENSO is a delicate piece which borders on the operatic. It's not by coincidence that shortly after this film, Luchino Visconti became one of the most prolific opera directors in Europe. Leading actors Alida Valli and Farley Granger both deliver superb performances, but the star of SENSO is undoubtedly the bewitching Ms Valli, who in her performance as the Countess Livia, is almost an opera heroine in real-life.

    Lush in it's design and photography, it's strange to think that SENSO sadly didn't make much of an impression during it's original release in 1954. Critics felt that Luchino Visconti was "betraying" his neo-realist attitudes, not quite realising that in SENSO he beautifully blended neo-realism with theatrical grandeur, therefore creating a whole new genre of filmmaking.
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    22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Gary Vidmar on February 26, 2011
    Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
    Criterion gives us another opulent masterpiece from Luchino Visconti to follow their splendid release of IL GATTOPARDO (THE LEOPARD). The blu-ray has a rich, Technicolor density that beautifully captures the evocative, lush location photography by Guiseppe Rottuno, and is another splendid restoration of classic Italian cinema, under the supervision of Rottuno and Martin Scorsese.
    SENSO is expressionistic filmmaking by a master, full of homoerotic tension in the guise of deranged, heterosexual passion. There is both the original Italian and the rarely-seen, English language version (THE WANTON COUNTESS) to savor here, along with some insightful extras about Verdi, Visconti and the making of the film.
    A remarkable film can now be appreciated in a high-quality US release for home screenings.
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    17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By D.A. on September 23, 2001
    Format: VHS Tape
    One of Luchino Visconti's top four or five masterworks. This baroque but magnificent evocation of the Garibaldi period of Italian Revolution in late 19th century is truly one of the great Italian masterpieces of 1950s. The film brilliantly delineates the erotically charged love story between Alida Valli (her best performance ever) and Farley Granger, and the bitter legacy of the revolution. History and Romance merge in a way only Visconti knew how. And the result is an operatic realism at its highest order. Despite the great, heart-renching performances, though, the film's fascination and power lies the sumptuous "look", the realistically accurate detail of that period. Visconti's unique attention to detail is breathtaking. Some may find SENSO crudely melodramatic and is certainly a notch below Visconti's best film, THE LEOPARD (which also features Burt Lancaster's greatest performance); still, it cannot be ignored. It is a must-see if you want to find out why Visconti was one of the great film artists who ever lived.
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    13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Lincoln on August 2, 2002
    Format: DVD
    It's difficult to find, in all the history of the cinema, a so beautifull, sugestive and deep work like this masterpiece of Luchino Visconti. Glorius technicolor, a magnificent cast (even Farley Granger, a very limited actor, is splendid here),dialogues by Tennessee Williams and a wonderful historical recreation of the "Risorgimento", plus a musical score by Verdi and Bruckner make this film a permanent pleasure for persons of good taste. In my opinion the best film of Visconti and perhaps the most beautiful film of all times.
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    8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Anna Shlimovich on December 30, 2012
    Format: DVD Verified Purchase
    Senso - a film so famous that a remake in 2011 and an opera were made to dwell on its undying glory. As always with the most notorious movies, there is an enigma to what exactly make them live and shine, outlive all who have done it and still gain new worshipers. We can at least try to analyze what makes it a cult and golden calf around which there is such a constant dance macabre.

    It is interesting to research about the literary source of the film, a novella "Senso" by Camillo Boito (a man, just as the author of Anna Karenina and Madame Bovary), written in 1882. In the book, the character of Livia is one of a lustful, selfish and revengeful female who watches the execution of her lover with the same delight as she experienced in his arms. It seems to be obvious that Visconti was inspired by a theme of a predatory female destroying a vulnerable, fragile male who desperately tries to fight for his life in society but is finished off by an axe lowered by the lecherous, furious and vengeful Bacchante.

    This idea gains force in Visconti's later movies, starting with "Death in Venice" in the threatening figure of the watchful mother, and continuing with crescendo from "Ludwig" through " Conversation Piece" to "L'Innocente", where the destructive female appears in all her horror, equipped with the flawless physical beauty which she uses as weapon to drive the poor man to his ruin.

    In a sense, "Senso" has shoots of many other obsessions that Visconti expressed later on in the aforementioned films - here we have a hero renamed from the original name in the novel of Remigio Ruz to Franz Mahler, in honor of the composer whose music Visconti adored and used to much acclaim in "Death in Venice".
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    Senso (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
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