The Leopard (Il Gattopardo)
August 8, 2013
Like the classic novel by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa on which it is based, Visconti’s masterpiece is an opulent evocation of a society in flux during the fight for Italian unification. Burt Lancaster plays the Sicilian nobleman of the title who attempts to maintain his power amid the escalating rise of the bourgeoisie. In a performance that intentionally embodies the character of his exacting, enigmatic director while suggesting the actor’s own proud, powerful yet uncertain standing at his age, Lancaster navigates the aristocratic realm on and off screen with weary acumen. The tragic and triumphant changing of the guard culminates in the long and famous ballroom sequence during which “The Leopard” reaches a summit of understanding and acceptance. Restored print from Fox.