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 lo... more »st 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.« less
"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."
THIS DVD IS NOT CUT!!! SOME OF THE REVIEWS ARE ALL WRON
valediggler | istanbul, turkey | 09/27/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"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"
A truly masterpiece, if there was ever one
Jorge Goded | Spain, living in the UK | 01/11/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"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."
ONE OF THE BEST MOVIES EVER PRODUCED IN ITALY
Vicente P. T. Adorno | São Paulo, Brazil | 03/06/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"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..."
Aristocracy's decline and compromises in 19th century Italy
Linda Linguvic | New York City | 09/18/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"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. "