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The Leopard (The Criterion Collection)

4.3 out of 5 stars 203 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Making its long-awaited U.S. home video debut, Luchino Visconti's The Leopard is an epic on the grandest possible scale. The film recreates, with nostalgia, drama, and opulence, the tumultuous years when the aristocracy lost its grip and the middle classes rose and formed a unified, democratic Italy. Burt Lancaster stars as the aging prince watching his culture and fortune wane in the face of a new generation, represented by his upstart nephew (Alain Delon) and his beautiful fiancée (Claudia Cardinale). Awarded the Palme d'Or at the 1963 Cannes Film Festival, The Leopard translates Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa's novel, and the history it recounts, into a truly cinematic masterpiece. The Criterion Collection is proud to present the film in two distinct versions: Visconti's original 187-minute Italian version, and the alternate 161-minute English-language version released in America, in a newly restored, three-disc special edition that also features a new hour-long documentary on the making of the film, and more.

Amazon.com

With this magnificent Criterion DVD release, Luchino Visconti's 1963 historical drama The Leopard will finally earn widespread recognition as one of the most beautiful epics ever produced. In adapting the popular novel by Giuseppe Tomassi di Lampedusa (an Italian equivalent to Gone with the Wind, set during the tumultuous Garibaldi revolution of 1860-62), Visconti was initially reluctant to cast Burt Lancaster as the melancholy Prince of Salina--the aging aristocrat "leopard" of the title--who accepts change as inevitable during the struggle for a unified Italy. But Lancaster (even with his voice dubbed in the fully restored Italian release) delivered one of his finest performances, modeled after Visconti himself, and reacting to political and familial upheavals with the wisdom and whimsy of a man who knows that his way of life--and all he holds dear--must change with the times. You won't find a more intimate epic, and Giusseppe Rotunno's masterful cinematography represents the pinnacle of painterly beauty, matched only by the authentic splendor of the film's impeccable production design. The climactic hourlong ballroom scene--which even the hard-to-please Pauline Kael called "one of the greatest of all passages in movies"--is utterly breathtaking. Anchored by Lancaster's performance and the romantic pairing of Alain Delon and Claudia Cardinale, The Leopard is sheer perfection, fully restored to its 185-minute glory. --Jeff Shannon

Special Features

  • Special Edition Three-Disc Set
  • New digital transfer of original 185-minute Italian release, supervised by director of photography Ciueppe Rotunno, with restored image and sound plus new subtitle translation
  • New transfer of of the 161-minute American release, with English-language dialogue (including Burt Lancaster's actual voice)
  • Audio commentary by film scholar Peter Cowie
  • A Dying Breed, a new hour-long documentary featuring interviews with Claudia Cardinale, screenwriter Suso Ceccho D'Amico, cinematographer Guiseppe Rotunno, Sydney Pollack, and many others
  • Interview with producer Goffredo Lombardo
  • An exclusive video interview with professor Millicent Marcus of the University of Pennsylvania on the history behind The Leopard
  • Stills gallery of rare behind-the-scenes production photos
  • Original trailers and newsreels

Product Details

  • Actors: Luchino Visconti, Burt Lancaster, Alain Delon
  • Format: Anamorphic, Box set, Closed-captioned, Color, Special Edition, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: Italian (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated:
    PG
    Parental Guidance Suggested
  • Studio: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: June 8, 2004
  • Run Time: 187 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (203 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00003CWQL
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #92,803 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Leopard (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
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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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
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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Format: DVD
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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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
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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