Death in Venice

Death in Venice

Blu-ray Disc - 2019
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A fastidious composer reeling from a disastrous concert, Gustav von Aschenbach (Dirk Bogarde) travels to Venice to recover. There, he is struck by a vision of pure beauty in the form of a young boy named Tadzio (Björn Andrésen), his infatuation developing into an obsession even as rumors of a plague spread through the city. Based on the novella by Thomas Mann, this late masterpiece from Luchino Visconti is a meditation on the nature of art, the allure of beauty, and the inescapability of death. Setting Mann's story of queer desire and bodily decay against the music of Gustav Mahler, it is one of cinema's most exalted literary adaptations.


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Sep 21, 2019

This Criterion remastering brings out the magnificent tableau-like scenes in the hotel, on the beach, and, of course, the breathtaking vaporetto-at-dawn opening. The philosophical elements in Thomas Mann's novella are present, but Visconti centers everything on Dirk Bogarde's portrayal of the aging and overwrought Aschenbach, a man who has slipped his artistic and moral moorings because of his obsession for a beautiful adolescent boy. The interminable succession of glances and facial close-ups becomes a bit tedious; even so, Visconti shows yet again (as in his earlier 'The Leopard' and 'The Damned' and in his later 'Ludwig') that he remains the unchallenged master of depicting decline and decay. The cinematography alone makes this restored version a must-see.

May 18, 2019

Directed by Luchino Visconti in 1971 based on the 1912 novella by the German author Thomas Mann, this Italian-French drama depicts the ruinous infatuation of a composer (not a writer in the original story) during the decaying grandeur of aristocracy.
The film seems to symbolize Tadzio as Platonic ideal of beauty as well as the Athenian tradition of man-boy intimacy---no more about homosexuality.
Superb is the nuanced performance of Dirk Bogarde as Gustav von Aschenbach, who never acts upon his forbidden desire.
This film looks like a landmark at a time when tales of sexual obsession appear almost exclusively the province of heterosexuality.
If you aren't a Thomas Mann fan, however, forget this movie simply because it seems slow-paced with a great deal of tedious stalking.

Mar 20, 2019

Not an enjoyable movie but one that does its job with a beautiful darkling quality. Sex, love, and death bump around and echo within the carefully crafted spaces Visconti composes. Lots of mortality, lots of ghosts.

Mar 16, 2018

Released in 1971 - Death In Venice's story focuses in on the shallow, lecherous intentions of an ageing, paedophile homosexual. His name is Gustav and he is a real fop.

One day (during a Summer holiday) at a resort in Venice, this lonely, pathetic, old homosexual suddenly spies with his gaydar eyes - "Tadzio", an angelic-looking "pretty-boy" of only 15 years. While salaciously licking his lips, Gustav instantly becomes neurotically infatuated with this little darling and that, naturally, leads to the inevitable sealing of his own miserable fate.

Throughout this flick Gustav feverishly pursues the boy in hopes of being the first one to seduce him. Fortunately for this easily-victimized, young lad he had a very intuitive and protective mother. It was she who prevented him from falling into the clutches of this lusting, old vulture with his carnally-devious, one-track mind.

IMO - Death In Venice is, by no means, a movie-masterpiece. It is more like a badly-executed paint-by-numbers job. I'd say that the one and only thing that was at all worthwhile noting about this flick was the soundtrack. Excerpts from Gustav Mahler's 3rd & 5th Symphonies never sounded more magnificent than this.

Feb 06, 2018

please get more copies of this film

Mar 11, 2015

I wouldn't say this movie is slow, but. . .I thought I had something for this. The great Italian director Luchino Visconti adapts Thomas Mann's famous novella with English actor Dirk Bogarde (who was also in Visconti's "The Damned") as Aschenbach, an aging composer pining for a young, beautiful Polish boy (Swedish actor Bjorn Andersen). Because it's Visconti, it's a sumptuous production, but it's also, per the title, a lifeless one, with no spark or spontaneity. I can't decide if Bogarde is giving a terrible performance or if he's brilliantly playing a rather pathetic, unlikable character. He spends most of the film looking sickly and despondent. He based him loosely on Mahler, whose music is prominently featured. The flashbacks are more distracting than illuminating. It is lovely to look at, but represents the dead end of Visconti's style. Released in 1971, it won a special award at Cannes. It's often grouped with "The Damend" and "Ludwig" as Visconti's "German Trilogy."

Aug 15, 2012

Visconti suffuses his masterpiece with all the colors and textures of Monet, Renoir, Seurat, Toulouse-Lautrec, and a host of other Impressionists, and settles them all upon, nearly inevitably, the splendours of a Canaletto Venice, Dirk Bogarde has never been better, his von Aschenbach is definitive, Silvana Mangano is every single inch an aristocrat, the epitome of poise, elegance and propriety, Tadzio is throughout the very incarnation of a Botticelli, all is given stately motion by the art of film and made thereby into another equal and haunting form of poetry

jmmason Mar 12, 2012

This 1971 release of the movie classic based on a Thomas Mann novella was directed by the great Italian film maker Luchino Visconti. It stars Dirk Bogard as an aesthete German composer (the music herein is by Mahler) on holiday in Venice where he becomes fixated on a Polish boy staying in the same hotel. The "action" of the story occurs in Ashenbach's head; there is next to no dialogue. It is strongly suggested that the viewer dip into the short novel before seeing the movie. It will be more rewarding with that knowledge aforehand. My only reservation with this masterpiece is in the casting of Bjorn Andresen as the boy, Tadzio, who could use a jolt of testosterone. He would not have been on my short list as a desired object. Still, Bogard is supberb. This is the most lavish film ever made about homosexual longing.

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