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The Life of Verdi
The Life of Verdi
Actors: Ronald Pickup, Carla Fracci, Giampiero Albertini, Omero Antonutti, Lino Capolicchio
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Television, Musicals & Performing Arts
NR     2003     10hr 0min

"Sumptuously costumed and splendidly staged, this elaborate cinematic biography blends documentary with drama to tell the story of a great artistic genius who became the musical voice of a nation."* Booklist. Filmed on loc...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Ronald Pickup, Carla Fracci, Giampiero Albertini, Omero Antonutti, Lino Capolicchio
Creators: Giuseppe Ruzzolini, Otello Colangeli, Gene Luotto, Renato Castellani
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Television, Musicals & Performing Arts
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Love & Romance, All Made-for-TV Movies, Classical
Studio: Kultur Video
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 11/18/2003
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1984
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 10hr 0min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaDVD Credits: 2
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 1
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English, Italian
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Member Movie Reviews

Samuel K. (Solvanda)
Reviewed on 11/25/2018...
Miniseries which aired in 1982. Joint Italian and British production. This is a precisely detailed chronicling of Verdi's long life, which was anything but boring. Rich background on each opera he composed, the effects these had on the times, and the historical figures involved in bringing each one to the light of day. He had a fondness for Shakespeare and operatically interpreted many of his plays. This is quite the educational piece and I learned much about the history of Europe and Italy.

The impact of Verdi's genius is still ever present with us today. You may find you are more familiar with some of his work than you know. Not a day goes by on this planet without one of his operas being performed somewhere, sometime, someplace. Giuseppe Verdi had an empathetic human heart at his core, was kind and thankful in demeanor, and left an entire nation in grief when he parted ways in death.

"The Life of Verdi" is an epic behemoth. It was filmed on location in Italy, Leningrad, London, and Paris. Took several years to create, requiring more than 100 actors, 1800 extras, and 4000 costumes. This version of the title has much Italian language with English subtitling, mixed in with some English language too. Also narrated by Burt Lancaster. Seven 90 minute episodes (well, the last one is about 120.) I feel ineffably enriched having viewed this series, certain it will persist with me a long time.

Movie Reviews

A superb TV series. Unacceptable DVD setup . PIRATED work?
Bertrand Renaud | 02/29/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Some years ago, I had watched the original TV series that is superb, and left me with vivid memories. This is one of the very best biographies of a great artist that I ever watched on TV. A landmark. Definitely 5-star. I have great admiration and respect for the quality and authenticity of all the works of director Renato Castellani. So I was really happy to find that I could buy this biography of Verdi in DVD's. However, this company KULTUR and its staff deserve to be taken to the woodshed -- maybe to court?From a user point of view, there are several problems: (1) the quality of the recording is poor, video tracking pops-up from time to time. Images of large scale views such at the stage in La Scala are not sharp. It is readily apparent that this DVD series has not been made from the original tapes from some copy: this is conspicuous at the start of Episode 2 where the introducer's blue dress "bleeds" startingly on the screen. [I have not yet found the time to watch the last three episodes. Maybe there are surprises there too. I hope not.] (2) Switching from one episod to another is a true hassle because the programing is not set up properly. The episodes do not load on their own and start only after repeated clicks. Left unattended, the opening trailers at the start of each episode keep cycling endlessly. (3) There is also no background information about the series on paper: not on the cover box, not in a simple paper flyer inside the CD containers. The cover box only carries a quote from a review in a source named as "Booklist". The only basic information on how the series were made is embedded in the original PBS introductions to each episode. Disappointedly, but not objectionable there no additional information inside the CDs in the form of video interviews of the director or actors, nor segments deleted from the original movie, which a very common value- added item in DVD movies, particularly expected in a 4-DVD series.The strength and beauty of the original work is such that once the action gets started we are immediatly absorbed in Verdi's life and music. But not thanks to Kultur.Commercially, could it be that is selling a pirated product? I am suspicious, but I am not a professional in those matters. Why suspicious? because, I was looking for the release date of the original TV series, but I could not find it anywhere. To my astonishment there is no reference to the date of the movie nor any listing of main actors on the box, or inside. On closer scrutiny, I then noticed also that there is not copyright statement on the cover box. I distincly recall also that such statements -- and the date of production again --are absent from the end trailers of credits at the end of every individual episode I have watched so far. Is this KULTUR outfit legitimate? or were these DVDs made in some US or Asian garage?Conclusion: a superb biography of one of the greatest opera composers of all times that is worth being part of a permanent DVD collection. But, a flawed and suspicious DVD transfer by KULTUR."
5 stars for content, *1* star for dvd quality
none | Goleta, CA United States | 01/08/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The greatness of Verdi is detailed meticulously in this brilliant miniseries/documentary. If you're a Verdi fan, this is definitely a must see. However, the DVD transfer is horrible. It would seem like that the source of the transfer is an old VHS tape. There are sections where the entire screen and audio are chewed up. This problem occurs frequently in episodes 3-6. Would it have killed Kultur to remaster the source?"
Fine accomplishment but poor transfer
W. Russell | Springfield, VA USA | 01/20/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)

"On all counts the original presentation of "Life of Verdi" was a well-conceived and well-executed treat on all counts. What fails us now is Kultur's amateurish transfer. First of all, viewers can't skip past Robert Peter's introductions (which could easily have been omitted but at least she, unlike Burt Lancaster on PBS, could pronounce "Verdi"). Second, the transfer is from a flawed video tape. Tracking problems occur occasionally which they wouldn't had Kultur bothered to go back to the originals. How cheap!! Now watch them remaster it and us who have it forced to decide whether to get a whole new set of something that should have been done RIGHT THE FIRST TIME!!"