Luchino Visconti

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Michael
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 12:09 pm

#26 Post by Michael » Sun Apr 23, 2006 10:12 am

davidhare, thanks for the rundown and I agree with it very much. I'm embarrassed to say that I've not seen Senso yet. For years and years I still have no luck finding the video of Senso in any form. :(

david, what is your favorite Valli acting piece? Senso? Her Spider's Stratagem work resonates with me the most. She never looked more beautiful in this film. How she walked so dreamily through gardens and hallways. Powerfully gorgeous presence.. face, hair, dress. Reminded me so much of my grandmother. I also love her delicious role as Miss Tanner in Suspiria... my very first Valli experience when I was about 10 years old.

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david hare
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#27 Post by david hare » Sun Apr 23, 2006 5:47 pm

Michael they're all great. Even in movies I'm not mad about, like the Third Man, she lights up the screen.

I managed to watch Senso and Paradine Case yesterday and began Judex, until exhuasted. I still think Senso is her most unrestrained role. She could but never does teeter into camp, especially in her late scenes with Granger, but you're with her all the way. Another thing I noticed in Paradine Case, Hitchcock obviously recognized her great expressive range, thus he holds her face im MCU in every reaction shot to Peck and you can see her think, and change her expressions through 360 degrees. A rare actress indeed and despite Hitch's misgiving I think she's perfect in this part. (But I agree with Hitch she's ill matched to Greg Peck and Louis Jourdan - both too pretty, and limited. I keep imagining Robert Ryan in the Peck role, and someone far more butch in the Jourdan role.)

In a sense you're lucky you haven't yet seen Senso on video of TV - the prints are appalling! Mine (which is similar to the clip on the Scorsese doco) runs the gamut from yellow to green. AND I've seen no better prints on three continents. Cross your fingers for a release of the restored Italian print. I think it's still my shared fave Visconti with Leopard.

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otis
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#28 Post by otis » Wed Apr 26, 2006 5:27 pm

I know this is all completely off-topic, and maybe some of these posts need to be relocated on a dedicated Alida Valli thread, but I'll blunder on anyway.
davidhare wrote:Dame Larry would have been good (has the range) but I keep thinking of Ryan, as Selznick seemed to want to cast an American actor, and I don't think that hurts the picture. But WHO would you have cast as LaTour? It's too early for somone like, say Steve Cochran. Definitely needs butchness, as well as horny hands!
David, I misread your post, and thought you were suggesting Robert Ryan for the Jourdan role, not the lead. Can't really see him myself, although he was obviously a much better actor than Peck. But Hitchcock's comment to Truffaut, "I don't think Gregory Peck can properly represent an English lawyer", goes equally well for Ryan. I think the film requires British actors in both roles, as it's supposed to focus on the class system to which Valli as a foreigner is an outsider. And watching it again the other day I could actually hear Olivier in many of Peck's line readings, especially the early scenes between him and Ann Todd, where he has something of the patronising smugness of Larry's Maxim de Winter, just not half as good. And imagine what Larry could have done with the courtroom scenes, first demolishing LaTour (he was only made French to accomodate Jourdan, of course - in the book and early scripts he's called William Marsh) in court, then publically humiliating himself over Valli. Plus he looked good in a wig.

I love Hitchcock's explanantion of what was wrong with the casting:
The worst flaw in the casting was assigning Louis Jourdan to play the groom. After all, the story of The Paradine Case is about the degradation of a gentleman who becomes enamoured of his client, a woman who is not only a murderess, but also a nymphomaniac. And that degradation reaches its climactic point when he's forced to confront the heroine with one of her lovers, who is a groom. But that groom should have been a manure-smelling stable hand, a man who really reeked of manure.
If only they could have made it in Odorama!

On a more serious note, does anyone know why the original 132-minute release version is no longer available? Both the R1 and R2 DVDs are just under 2 hours. Was it recut by Selznick, who had already taken it out of Hitchcock's hands after he turned in an almost 3-hour rough cut featuring more of the sinuous camera moves made possible by Lee Garmes's crab dolly, as well as a number of close-ups with the characters looking directly at the camera? According to Bill Krohn, the rough-cut was destroyed in a flood in the 80s, but a longer version has recently been discovered with two additional scenes (and no sound). Anyone seen them?

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david hare
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#29 Post by david hare » Wed Apr 26, 2006 9:02 pm

I wish we could see the "longer" version. There is certainly a discernible cut during one of Valli's prison interviews with Peck, the second or third, in which she is elaborating on her past. I wondered if this may have been cut for censorship reasons. But at 132 minutes originally it seems to missing an awful lot

Another reading of Latour, at least as played by Jourdan, is that he is in love with Mr Paradine, and Valli's seduction of him is another aspect of her intention to destroy him.

There is, I suppose a "Class' aspect to Peck's character. Indeed in one scene Valli spits back at him, "I am not familiar with the niceties of your class." (This after her marvellous concerned farewell to the Butler - "Please tell cook I am sorry about the dinner.") Of course the screenplay has Peck remonstrate that he's far from a member of the British Class system (but he is, of course, by default, as a Barrister.) I agree with my NY friend who finds both him and Ann Todd weak links in the flawed texture of the movie. But there's much more to love, not least Laughton and Ethel Barrymore. AND the lavish Waxman Piano Concerto scoring and Garmes' gorgeous photography.

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tryavna
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#30 Post by tryavna » Thu Apr 27, 2006 10:29 am

davidhare wrote:But there's much more to love, not least Laughton and Ethel Barrymore.
Laughton does have some great lines:

"You're talking more nonsense than usual, my dear."

"Have you ever noticed that the inside of a walnut resembles the contours of the human brain?"

On the whole, though, The Paradine Case is one of those movies that I wish I liked more, but I always find myself nodding off midway through when I try to watch it.

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david hare
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#31 Post by david hare » Thu Apr 27, 2006 9:59 pm

I wonder how much that's due to Peck and Todd's marital melodrama (far less interesting than everything else in the narrative.)

Certainly the 20 odd minutes of courtroom argy bargy is one of the very best in movies, along with Lady from Shanghai and Anatomy of a Murder. (Lady takes the prize though.) Indeed isn't this Hitchcock's only sustained courtroom/trial sequence? Complete with the stunning Garmes crab dolly shots.

We are now so totally OT we ALL deserve slapping. (YAYY!!!)

I also posted this on the R4 titles thread but I want to spread the word because this will be the only Italian language release with English subs worldwide.

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otis
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#32 Post by otis » Fri May 12, 2006 11:05 am

Does anyone else's DVD of Bellissima stick for a moment around 1:18:40 in the scene by the river when Magnani tells Walter Chiari she knows he bought the Lambretta with her money?

Initial thoughts:

David, I'm surprised you found this less sentimental than the Zavattini/de Sica films. I didn't really buy the ending: we may be poor, but we've got our prole pride, and for once my husband hasn't beaten the shit of of me. Magnani's great of course, but this is just as melodramatic as Bike Thieves and the ending's a lot more reassuring (or at least tries to be). Reminded me of the rash of self-righteous films attacking reality TV a few years ago. Of course, the queues at Cinecittà these days are to audition for the next series of Grande Fratello...

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Gordon
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Luchino Visconti on DVD

#33 Post by Gordon » Wed May 17, 2006 1:14 pm

Infinity Atrhouse will be releasing a 2-disc of the Count's 1972 biopic of mad, mad, Ludwig on June 19. I'm a bit worried by the 4:3 listing, though; hopefully, it's just misinformation. I mean, a gorgeous 2.35:1 PAL master of the full version exists, as their is an unsubtitled German disc from Kinowelt (?). I'll be gutted if a pan and scan atrocity is commited on this visual feast.

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ellipsis7
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#34 Post by ellipsis7 » Wed May 17, 2006 2:23 pm

Amazon.co.uk unfortunately also record the screen ratio as 4:3...

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Gordon
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#35 Post by Gordon » Wed May 17, 2006 3:35 pm

I'll set myself on fire (again) if they pan and scan this one. 8-[

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Barmy
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#36 Post by Barmy » Wed May 17, 2006 3:45 pm

I just might take the CEO of Infinity "Art"house into a field and shoot him.

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Don Lope de Aguirre
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#37 Post by Don Lope de Aguirre » Wed May 17, 2006 6:28 pm

Barmy wrote:I just might take the CEO of Infinity "Art"house into a field and shoot him.
My sentiments exactly!! 8-)

What's the point?? Get great titles and then screw them up....
Seriously, though, surely rare titles must be relatively price inelastic. Surely it's worth doing a decent transfer and charging a but more? #-o
Or getting rid of useless filler/extras and spending more money on a decent transfer!

I tried to find contact info for Infinitely Atrocious on the net but I couldn't...the guy's probably hiding in a bunker somewhere!
If Second Run can manage it...

**retraction**
Actually, the extras look very tasty! :shock: :oops: :shock:
I'm a big fan of Suso Cecchi D'Amico... but still my point stands! Transfer is everything... 8-)

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John Cope
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#38 Post by John Cope » Wed May 17, 2006 6:34 pm

There's no way I can believe that this film would get a 4:3 release. I mean, why for God's sake?

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Barmy
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#39 Post by Barmy » Wed May 17, 2006 6:48 pm

I have a great idea for an extra: the other half of the image.

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Gordon
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#40 Post by Gordon » Thu May 18, 2006 1:55 am

Ludwig artwork

Also listed as 4:3. A shame that the German dub, which the German from Arthaus has, is not present. Any ideas what "The perfume of a primrose" is?

The documentary is Carlos Lizzani's 1999 Luchino Visconti, which has been released seperately in region 1 by Image Entertainment. Very interesting, but I'd like to see the BBC's 2002, Visconti, where Helmut Berger comes across as a grade-A bitter and twisted buffoon. A more fitting companion to Ludwig, no?

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Don Lope de Aguirre
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#41 Post by Don Lope de Aguirre » Thu May 18, 2006 3:43 am

The BBC doc would be a great companion if Ludwig is trashy a la The Damned, say...

I have never seen Ludwig and would love to see it properly, i.e. vaguely akin to how it's meant to look, not 4:3.

I have a suspicion that Visconti disappeared up his own back passage after The Leopard. I have only seen the Damned and (the horrifically middle bow and pederastic) Death in Venice... Is Ludwig an improvement on these?

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ellipsis7
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#42 Post by ellipsis7 » Thu May 18, 2006 3:49 am

I haven't seen it, but Tony Rayns says this in Time Out...
Ludwig

Interested only in Ludwig of Bavaria as a neurotic individual, Visconti centres everything on the king's fears, sublimations and fantasies. He therefore produces a loving, uncritical portrait of a mad homosexual recluse, whose passions are opera, fairy-tale castles, and exquisite young men. Nothing is more sumptuous than Helmut Berger's performance in the lead, the brooding mad scenes, the deliberately contrived hysterical outbursts, and it takes only a flicker of scepticism to find the whole charade risible. But suspension of disbelief has its own rewards: Visconti's connoisseurship of historical detail and manners is as acute as ever, and his commitment to his subject is total. The film was originally released in cut versions ranging between 186 and 137 minutes; this uncut one, obviously more coherent, simply doubles the interest/boredom rate.

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Lino
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#43 Post by Lino » Thu May 18, 2006 4:24 am

davidhare wrote:And someone by now must have a translation of that dubbed-in Polish dialogue between Sylvana and the kid about "the pathetic old queen."
I don't know about the R1 disc, but the R2 that I own, translates the dialogue. And stop bitching about Death in Venice! It's probably my favorite Visconti alongside Ludwig. Honestly. Should I take cover now while waiting for your indignated post that is sure to follow? :wink:

Oh, and if you want I could check the disc later on to tell you what they do say in polish. But as I recall, it's got nothing to do with Bogarde's character.

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david hare
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#44 Post by david hare » Thu May 18, 2006 4:42 am

Oh Annie -- dont be cross. (Think of Paris.)

I'll give you a reason why I I dont like Dirk in it , or the conception, or the music. But later. (And I am dying to see Ludwig in a complete print.)

Don Lope you are my NEW BEST FRIEND!!!

I HATE Death in Venice (in case you hadnt noticed.) It's not so much pederastic (God I wish it were) but self-indulgently closety. And someone by now must have a translation of that dubbed-in Polish dialogue between Sylvana and the kid about "the pathetic old queen."

These are the things that happen to old directors when they lose confidence hon. Visconti, Aldrich, Fellini, Mann, ... blahblahblah.

Ludwig is not as bad as this but it's stifling (and none of this is Helmut's fault , je t'assure. The extras playing the Bavarian army are HOT.)

And yes it should be in 'Scope. and Eastmanfuckingcolor.
Last edited by Anonymous on Thu May 18, 2006 4:48 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Don Lope de Aguirre
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#45 Post by Don Lope de Aguirre » Thu May 18, 2006 4:46 am

Well, I'm glad I made someone happy! Put together the discerning Rayns and the less discerning Ebert.

it looks as if minus the obvious appeal of eye candy this one's a bit boring...combined with the crappy DVD specs it looks like I'll be giving this one a miss!

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Lino
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#46 Post by Lino » Thu May 18, 2006 4:50 am

davidhare wrote:Oh Annie -- dont be cross.
I'm not, don't worry. I love that film to bits no matter what. And you should also see Ludwig in its entire duration/director's cut version at least once and then make up your mind about it. You owe yourself that if you're such a Visconti fan as I know you are.

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david hare
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#47 Post by david hare » Thu May 18, 2006 4:53 am

Annie this obviously is not a reply to you: Well that depends on your consistency with completism, I guess.

I already said how much I think Visconti's key work is so great. ANd I've started to stumble into the terrifying spectacle of "decline" of great artists in a late phase, including I think Renoir. Aldrich is the most extreme to me. But let's see where this goes.

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tavernier
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#48 Post by tavernier » Thu May 18, 2006 7:35 am

Here's the answer I got from Infinity Arthouse publicity:
Thanks for your questions about Ludwig.

The aspect ratio will indeed be 2:35:1 - it's colour and audio is the original mono.

Simon Fowler
Aim Publicity
(Note nothing is said about 16/9, which I asked about.)

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david hare
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#49 Post by david hare » Thu May 18, 2006 8:04 am

One can asume that, surely.

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Scharphedin2
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#50 Post by Scharphedin2 » Thu May 18, 2006 10:13 am

:shock: Wow, maybe I am in the wrong forum… I am surprised to see the division in opinion on DEATH IN VENICE. This film was my introduction to Visconti; it made a huge impression on me when first I saw it, and my enthusiasm for it has never waned... it is possibly my favorite Visconti, and in my view the director's most personal film. I really would be interesting to read some more substantial views on the film (possibly in another thread?)

Great to have the question of LUDWIG's presentation resolved. Now, if the documentary included on this disc is identical to the one released separately by Image in R1, then in the interest of furthering Visconti appreciation, I will donate my copy of the Image disc to any forum member, who will not be purchasing the LUDWIG disc, but would like to view the doc… provided, of course, that he/she is in the pro-DEATH IN VENICE camp :D

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