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148 of 154 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THIS DVD IS NOT CUT!!! SOME OF THE REVIEWS ARE ALL WRON
criterion gives a real royal treatment to this movie and it is higly earned by it...in some reviews people say that the movie is cut and italian version is better blah blah...what they dont know is this 3 disc set has all two of them...check that out yourself:

DISC ONE

*The Film - Visconti's original Italian version (185:52)

Audio...
Published on September 26, 2004 by valediggler

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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Visconti's Masterwork
For so long, The Leopard has only been available here in its cut, American dubbed version. Now, Critierion has released the full length Italian version, with Burt Lancaster's voice nicely dubbed into Italian. The result is a drama that's deeply perceptive and, often, moving.

Like much of Luchino Visconti's work, this relies on character -- so film fans who...
Published on September 16, 2004 by Amazonian


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148 of 154 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THIS DVD IS NOT CUT!!! SOME OF THE REVIEWS ARE ALL WRON, September 26, 2004
criterion gives a real royal treatment to this movie and it is higly earned by it...in some reviews people say that the movie is cut and italian version is better blah blah...what they dont know is this 3 disc set has all two of them...check that out yourself:

DISC ONE

*The Film - Visconti's original Italian version (185:52)

Audio commentary by Peter Cowie (film scholar)

English HoH subtitles (removable)

2.21:1 Anamorphic NTSC (Super Technirama OAR)

Italian Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono

DISC TWO

"A Dying Breed: The Making of The Leopard", a new documentary featuring interviews with Claudia Cardinale, screenwriter Suso Ceccho D'Amico, cinematographer Giuseppe Rotunno, filmmaker Sydney Pollack, and many others (61:31)

Interview with producer Goffredo Lombardo (19:30)

Video interview with professor Millicent Marcus of the University of Pennsylvania on the history of the Risorgimento (13:36)

Promotional Materials:

- Stills gallery of rare behind-the-scenes production photos

- Italian newsreel footage (3:11)

- Italian theatrical trailer (3:40)

- American theatrical trailers (2) (3:46)

DISC THREE

*The Film - alternate American release (161:23)Subtitles:NonePicture format:2.35:1 Anamorphic NTSC Soundtrack(s):English Dolby Digital 1.0 MonoCase type:Special CaseNotes:Black Triple Alpha case

Disc 1 is region-free (R0); discs 2 and 3 are encoded R1
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188 of 200 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Panoramic View of Sicily during Its Unification, June 23, 2001
By 
Bruce Frier (Ann Arbor, MI USA) - See all my reviews
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It is incomprehensible to me why this movie has not yet made it to DVD. I think it is easily Visconti's greatest work, and one of the masterpieces of Italian film from a great era in general; and it is also a flawless adaptation of one of the finest Italian novels of the twentieth century. The film is a close study of a noble Sicilian family, and especially of its Prince (played by Burt Lancaster in what I think is also his best role), as they interact with the new middle-class parvenus of revolutionary Italy. The cinematic values of the film itself are stunning, from the vast panoramas of the desolate Sicilian countryside, to the stifling intimacy of the final ball (which lasts nearly an hour on film without once being boring). What is most amazing is the depth of the film. Even small gestures are carefully observed and capture the nuances of an aristocracy in decline. I loved "Death in Venice" as well, but this film should justly be considered Visconti's most tightly controlled and haunting.
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71 of 76 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ONE OF THE BEST MOVIES EVER PRODUCED IN ITALY, March 6, 2000
By 
I waited for years to see the director's cut of this magnificent movie. In the early 80's, after Visconti's heirs regained possession of the rights to it, they ordered it to be edited according to the master's wishes. I had then the privilege of watching "Il Gattopardo" in a movie theater in all its splendor, exactly as Visconti wanted it to be. Forget the ugly and stupid English-dubbed version that was released before. The true meaning of this movie can only be completely grasped when you see the Italian-spoken version, in spite of a central character, the one played by Burt Lancaster, having to be dubbed in Italian. I hope that when this is released on DVD we get the real thing, with its full lenght and the delightful cinematography by the great Giuseppe Rotunno. Please don't be insensitive to those who love true cinema: give us the real "Il Gattopardo" in its original widescreen format, its entire lenght and the melodious sounds of the original Italian dialogue. And, last but not least, the stunning beauty of the young Claudia Cardinale...
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68 of 74 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly masterpiece, if there was ever one, January 11, 2001
By 
Jorge Goded (Spain, living in the UK) - See all my reviews
I saw this film twice in Spain, the first time at least fifteen years ago, in its original version and length, not, as I have read here, an American dubbed-abreviated version. I think this is the best movie by Visconti, although to be fair I have not seen all of them. It seems amazing, however, its relative obscurity, compared for example to the somewhat overhyped Death in Venice, which I consider to be much inferior to Il Gatopardo. It is also one of my favourite films of all time. Lancaster's performance is unforgetable, the ambience, the music, the story and the painful ending, all amount to a masterpiece difficult to match. The Sicilian landscape is captured in all its magic and grandiosity and dominates my memories of the film. Comparing it to Gone with the Wind is, I think, a bit frivolous, as, with due respect, the estethics of both films - one Italian-European, the other American - are light years apart, without at all questioning the merits of the American film. Sadly, the pervasive notoriety of GWTW is also light years apart from the obscurity of Il Gatopardo. Il Gatopardo truly deserves to be taken out from that obscurity and get a much higher recognition as an all time classic. Will that ever happen? I doubt it, but at least I join the fans of this film in begging for its integral and original release in DVD, asap please.
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40 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 185 minutes of grandeur may be all we'll ever have..., August 19, 2004
The legendary 205 minute version of Luchino Visconti's "The Leopard", which won the Palme d'Or at the 1963 Cannes Film Festival, probably doesn't exist any longer. Shortly after it premiered, this epic movie was (like other roadshows of the day) trimmed by about 20 minutes. This was due in large part to the strong opposition the film received from Italy's powerful Roman Catholic Church. (Among other things, the Church perceived "The Leopard" to be anti-clerical and objected to the way it had been portrayed in the film, as well as in the 1958 novel on which the film was based.)

Chief among the cuts made to the original version of "The Leopard" was a scene removed from the "Battle of Palermo" sequence. At the very end of this section, just after Alain Delon is wounded in battle, there had been a scene inside a Catholic convent. It depicted the convent's nuns willingly aiding Garibaldi's soldiers, and tending to the injured, including Delon. (In the recut version, soldiers are seen banging on the convent door, a nun opens the door, and the men rush inside, nothing more. Guess the church didn't mind the soldiers going into the convent, but they sure didn't like whatever may have gone on in there.)

Reportedly, the church was also displeased with the hypocritical nature of Burt Lancaster's character, especially his adulterous activities. At one point, there had been an encounter between Lancaster and a prostitute in the confines of the lady's bedroom. Eventually, that rather racy scene ended up on the cutting room floor. And it wouldn't be a surprise if that was due to the church's disapproval of the lady and what went on in that bedroom. (In the edited version, the Prince arrives at the prostitute's door and she lets him in, but that's it. I guess visiting a prostitute was okay, but actually getting into bed with her was another thing. Sort of like that convent scene. But then again, maybe not.) In the end, it's more than likely that a few other swell scenes (possibly another bedroom encounter for that randy Prince) met an early end thanks to the hyper-critical (lack of) taste of some supremely snippy church censors.

Well, producer Goffredo Lombardo, already worried about making his money back on Signor Visconti's overblown production, certainly didn't need the church ordering Catholic filmgoers to stay away from any theater showing it. So, it's been said, he decided to cooperate with those pesky censors and made those (now regrettable) requested cuts. Lombardo may have gone and made a few cuts of his own, too, simply to bring down the film's rather unwieldy, often complained about, length. ("Variety" whined, "... at nearly 3 and 1/2 hours, the film is way overlong. Several sequences fail to trenchantly move forward the story.") In the end, trimming 20 minutes probably allowed a lot of theater owners to add an extra showing of the picture. And anything that could help out at the box office was okay with Signor Lombardo.

Now, the reason I say that the missing 20 minutes of "The Leopard" will probably never be found is simply because it was so often the practice of the time to make these type of cuts to a film's original negative, and eventually just toss the deleted footage away. (Back in 1963, filmmakers weren't into preserving each and every excised scene the way they are now. Nobody was even thinking about videos, much less DVDs.) Besides if the missing footage had survived, I would think it would have been found by now, wouldn't you? Especially after Criterion's painstaking DVD restoration (not painstaking enough, as they've chopped off a good portion of the lefthand side of the image in an apparent effort to create a faux Super Technirama aspect ratio). Add in the fact that Titanus, the studio that made "The Leopard", went bankrupt soon after releasing the film. And that the rights to the movie were transferred to 20th Century Fox in Hollywood. And you end up wondering just where that excised footage would be now anyway.

But still you never know. Maybe, just maybe, someday someone will find those long lost 20 minutes. Perhaps in an old original print from the film's opening run, a print that has long survived, as the Leopard yearned to, the ravages of time and decay. But until then, we won't have it so bad. We've finally got "The Leopard", at 185 grand and glorious minutes, (plus the 163 minute English-language version), on DVD at long last. Plus we've got a few nice stills of some of those deleted scenes on Criterion's supplemental section DVD. You really can't help but figure that this Leopard, as old as he may be, ain't too shabby. Just the way he is.
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fine presentation of the Leopard, November 5, 2004
By 
Kevin Brianton (Melbourne, Victoria Australia) - See all my reviews
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The Leopard is one of the most sublime films ever made and it is to Criterion's credit that they have given it a treatment that it deserves.

The film is in many ways a happy accident. The surprising choice of Burt Lancaster for the role of the Prince seems to be perfect now, yet he was chosen after Laurence Olivier by director Visconti. It was very much an international production designed to appeal to audiences across the world hence it also stars Alain Delon from France.

In either version - the extended or the edited ones are both in this set - the film is a swirl of brilliant performances and directorial finesse. To my mind, the extended version does not add a great deal to the overall impact of the film, but it interesting to see it.

The only lapse in the translation from Lampedusa's novel, is that you cannot grasp the internal monologues of the Prince as he ruminates on death and the changing situation of the times. Occasionally, Visconti allows the Prince to state these thoughts, but he never delivers the full weight of them. This probably says more about the limits of cinema as an artform. On the other hand, the book does not convey the beauty of the palaces or the visual splendor of Sicily.

In some scenes such as the arrival of Claudia Cardinale, the battle of Palermo, and the final ball, Visconti seems to reach a different level in film making. While some find Visconti slow, I find the detail of each scene so interesting that I actually want more time.

The disc set also has an outstanding commentary by film historian Peter Cowie who completes an excellent presentation of the film. The attached documentary is of minor interest. Overall, a beautiful set in homage to one of the finest films ever made - certainly Visconti's masterpiece.
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48 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Aristocracy's decline and compromises in 19th century Italy, September 18, 2004
Several years ago I read this book and then discovered that it was made into a movie in 1963. I searched for the video or DVD and was not able to find it at that time. Therefore, I was really delighted when I found out that the film had recently been released on DVD.

This is the story of the decline of aristocratic power in the late 19th century in Italy, and the effects of this on one particular family. The film was made in Italy and stars Burt Lancaster as the Prince of Salina and Claudia Cardinale as young lady from the emerging middle class who wins the heart of the prince's nephew. The film is a full 185 minutes long. But it held my interest throughout and I was even sorry there wasn't more because I remember the book covered a larger span of time.

There certainly is pageantry here. We see the palatial estates in all their glory. We get an understanding of the family dynamics as well as the influence of the Church. There are wars and glory and disappointment in love. There is pomp and pageantry and a glimpse into the privileged life of the privileged few. Mostly, the wars take place off screen but we do feel their impact. We see the first elections and the competition for power. And, most of all, we watch Burt Lancaster, in a role that calls for a wide variety of subtle emotions, as he watches his structured world fall apart and is forced to make compromises.

I learned a lot about the history of Italy as the film transported me to Italy for a very personal glimpse of an era I knew little about. And, it spite of it being made more than 40 years ago, the cinematography is excellent, even by today's standards. Definitely recommended.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, Utterly Superb in Every Way!, July 20, 2004
By 
E. Dolnack (Atlanta, GA USA) - See all my reviews
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"The Leopard" by Luchino Visconti is a masterpiece in every sense of the word. I can't say enough what a brilliant film this is. There are few in the entire history of cinema to match it.

The recent DVD release by the Criterion Collection is every bit a worthy masterpiece as the original film. There are fewer DVDs more complete and more plush. The image quality is outstanding and the sound is a beautiful 5.1 clarity. The restoration of frame-by-frame picture-quality is gorgeous and flawless. This DVD looks like a movie made last year, not from 1963.

You get the original Italian language version of the movie on one disk and the shortened English language version on a seperate disk and a third disk of extras and interviews and trailers. Three full DVD disks containing just about everything you'd ever want to know about this rich and brilliant film; it can't be beat!

The film is wide, spacious, epic, grandiose, and geuinely historical to a 'T'. If you're looking for a film to take you away to another world to another time, then the Leopard is for you. This is quite the next best thing to actually inventing a time machine and traveling back in time to film.

I loved, loved, loved this DVD and this wonderful, wonderful movie! I have not one complaint and nothing but praise for what is undoubtedly one of the most treasured DVDs in my growing collection.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars History as told by an Arsitocrat, June 26, 2004
By 
Doug Anderson (Miami Beach, Florida United States) - See all my reviews
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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. Luchino Visconti, the director, comes from a long line of Italian aristocrats. Visconti's films are all in one way or another about men who are incompatible with the age in which they live. In The Leopard Lancaster plays a refined Prince who has outlived his time. In his prime the Prince was the very model of health and vitality and he was the uncontested authority to all who lived in his province but now he is starting to show his age and his own decline coincides with the decline of his class and an entire way of life. Being such a refined figure the Prince records his decline in minute detail -- he seems to age right before our very eyes. It is obvious to the filmgoer that Visconti has no real love for democracy nor the way of life that comes with it. Elections are seen as crass popularity contests and the parvenus who seek office are seen as dim and uncultivated and lacking in that fineness of spirit that was the defining trait of the aristocracy. It is the Princes misfortune to live to see all that he values vanishing minute by minute before his very eyes and that is what happens in the famous hour-long ballroom scene. The new class rising to power has no time to cultivate that fineness of spirit and range of interest required to understand men and their needs and so govern them well. Instead the class now rising to power is largely self-serving and small-minded. Though they call themselves democrats they are preoccupied with material gain and status and the kind of civilization they are making is no longer capable of producing a man like the Prince. However Visconti himself is proof that the aristocratic spirit lives on even though the aristocracy does not.
It is more than a bit likely that this portrait of an ideal aristocat is just that, an ideal. I've heard this film described as Proustian. That is true only in so much as the film is obsessed with the passage of time. Proust, unlike Visconti, is interested in a multi-faceted psychological expose of the leisurely class. Proust loves his aristocrats but he shows them for the vain creatures that they are. Proust may have had something of the romantic in him but that was balanced by a keen social awareness (ie Dreyfus affair) that is nowhere to be found in Visconti's single-minded meditation on one man's point of view. Proust can speak of highly subjective states of mind and points of view but each point of view is balanced by other points of view. This pluralism and balance is simply not to be found in the Leopard nor in any of Visconti's other works. The Leopard is Visconti's best film but it is a myopic world view we are getting - we feel trapped in the Princes(and by extension the aristocratic) point of view. This is at times a strength and at times a weakness of the film.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An exceptional film based on a superb book, September 7, 2002
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I saw this film in Warsaw, Poland, when I was a young student at the University of Warsaw. It has been my dream to see "The Leopard" again.
I have the book in both: Polish and English translations from original Italian and have been reading it frequently - what a wonderful prose! The author, Giuseppe Tomasi, Sicilian aristocrat, the Prince of Palma and Lampedusa, died in 1957, shortly before his only book was edited. He lived in Italy and France and was drafted in both World Wars. He escaped from POW camp during WW I. His passions were history and literature. "The Leopard" is based on the life story of his own great grandfather, prince Giulio di Lampedusa, whose life was complicated by landing of Garibaldi in Marsala in 1860. Visconti's film, based on this book is superb.
The choice of actors, the script, directing and photography,the editing - all deserve five stars. And the acting - what a great acting!In my opinion - this is Burt Lancaster's best role, Claudia Cardinale and Alain Delon are not only wonderful, but also at the peak of their beauty. When I try to compare "The Leopard" to other films, "Barry Lyndon" always comes to my mind. I have been looking everywhere to find this film - and now - thanks to you, I'm going to have it on DVD.
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The Leopard (The Criterion Collection)
The Leopard (The Criterion Collection) by Luchino Visconti (DVD - 2004)
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