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Senso (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
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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!
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.Read more ›
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.
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".Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I saw the Criterion DVD release of this film on Netlix recently, and was a bit disappointed that the color looked a bit washed out in this restored version. Read morePublished 2 months ago by David S. Tanner
I had never seen this film - I was born and grew up in Puerto Rico and, when it was released I was a child - ; we had no "revival" movie theaters then. Read morePublished 5 months ago by JOSE J GONZALEZ
Sorry to say I have not seen it because of a defective DVD and waiting patiently for a replacement for the defective DVD. As of today I have not seen a replacement . Thank youPublished 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
wonderful movie....i love aida valli ever since i saw her in the Paradine Case...she is wonderful in this so is the rest of the cast....highly recommended!Published 23 months ago by history buff
I've heard of this for eons, but it has been very difficult to see. It occasionally shows up on TCM, but the print always looks horrible. Read morePublished on March 19, 2014 by Ronald E. Weber
IF YOU LIKE MOVIES AS I DO, VISCONTI IS ALWAYS A MUST. I HAD NEVER SEEN SENSO AND WHAT A WAY TO DISCOVER IT!THE IMAGE AND SOUND ARE GREAT. Read morePublished on September 18, 2012 by EDUARDO
When you consider this was made in 1954, it blows your mind. All of Visconti's films (except Leopard) were brilliant, but this, Death in Venice, Rocco, and The Damned are his... Read morePublished on September 1, 2012 by Literato
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