In 19th century Italy, Tullio (Giancarlo Giannini), an insatiable aristocrat, grows bored with his timid wife Giuliana (Laura Antonelli) and neglects her for his more exciting mistress, the wealthy widow Countess Teresa Raffo (Jennifer O'Neill). After learning that Giuliana is having a torrid affair of her own, he becomes tormented by her infidelity and descends into madness.
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Top Customer Reviews
Adapted from the 1892 novel by Gabriele d'Annunzio, the script for "The Innocent" is extremely good, with Giuliana's revenge beautifully plotted. At times, it's difficult to tell her intentions, but that doesn't really distract from the story. The cast is also one of the most stunning looking in history - Antonelli, O'Neill, and Giannini are joined by doe-eyed Didier Haudepin as Giannini's younger brother (he starred 12 years earlier in the notorious French film, "This Special Friendship"). Their physical beauty rivals the sumptuous Italian villas and scenery with which Visconti populates the film.
I'm not sure why it took until 2009 for this near-masterpiece to be released on DVD, but fortunately they did a nice job. The film looks gorgeous. The subtitles are a bit verbose which makes them go by very quickly (I sometimes had to pause to read all of them), but we do get every delicious word of the screenplay. The extras are limited to an interview on Italian cinema with Suso Cecchi d'Amico, a long-time Visconti collaborator who co-wrote "L'Innocente."
This film is so rich visually that you could just watch it once without the sound, and marvel at the cinematography (by longtime Visconti colloberator Pasqualino de Santis) or at the production design, which is drop dead gorgeous. The music score is incredibly haunting and sad, much like Visconti's superlative use of music in his film of Death in Venice. The performances are also striking. Giancarlo Giannini, known to most film buffs from his hilarious performances in Lina Wertmueller's classic films, gives a fine dramatic performance here, completely believable, and there was no time while watching this film did I think of his comic performances. He's an excellent dramatic actor. Jennifer O'Neil, who is best known for Summer of '42, is excellent as the beautiful but vile mistress of Gianni. Laura Antonelli, who plays Giannini's wife, gives the deepest performance of the woman who is scorned by Giannini, but exacts a revenge on him that is heartbreaking and tragic.
The film is beautifully paced, very leisurely, and visually intoxicating. Visconti was incapacitated by a stroke while making this film, but you wouldn't know it from watching it. Even though he was ill, Luchino never lost his touch, and his artistry/genius shines through every frame here, from the opening credits sequence (which features Visconti's own hand turning pages of the book L'Innocente) to the final, haunting still shot of O'Neil. It's a great final film (even though an artist never intends any work to be their "final" one), and a masterpiece from arguably the most complex of the Italian greats.
Oh, it is a gorgeous film. The salons and boudoirs of the elite effete of Italian wealth and 'family' are sumptuously photographed. The costumes of the ladies wafting their beauty like potent perfumes through those salons are delectable to the eyes. Life among the aristocracy of the late 19th C was, it seems, deliciously lax and lazy ... and I wish I'd been there!Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I really wanted to watch this as I like most of Visconti's films, but I I ended up hoping it was over at the 90 minute mark. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Ms. O. L. Koepping
The subtitles are atrocious, verging on gibberish. One can only suppose they are the work of an Italian speaker who does not really know English. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Baskerville
"L'Innocente" was my first exposure to Visconti since seeing "The Damned" many years ago and being somewhat disappointed as the film was too much for me at the time. Read morePublished on November 17, 2013 by V. Risoli
This movie is a classic, I saw it the first time about 35 years ago, and to this day, the film is just as good ad the first time I saw it. Read morePublished on May 6, 2013 by K. Lipio
Story line is too weird to call it sophisticated. Very slow. Laura Antonelli is as beautiful as she always is.Published on April 8, 2013 by Hung Quoc NGUYEN
Very unusual story , but quite compelling and thought provoking.
The scenery was very captivating, and the performances quite good. Read more