A film to measure others against. Burt Lancaster in his pomp as an ailing Italian aristocrat seeing the established order turning full circle around him, as Garibaldi's rebellion ushers in a new order. Beautifully shot, perfectly framed throughout - a deep, resonant and compelling story, with Director and cast at their peak. Richly layered, and full of universal themes of revolution, nobility, opportunism, generational change, youth and age, ideals bending against reality, loss and yearning, and one order giving way to another.
Impossible here to reveal all of the layers, as Burt Lancaster's central prince navigates himself and his family into their new place in the new order, and how his principles and ideals fade as his nephew and his beautiful young wife become the suceeding generation, and where to do right gives way to pragmatism in a new world built upon opportunism, greed and political corruption. "The world has to change in order to stay the same".
Artful without being 'arty', supremely beautiful and majestic without the squeaky-clean chocolate box sheen of modern historical drama. Highlights? - every single, super-crafted scene: the prince's family, covered in dust from their journey, sat in church like a line of statues; the eye contact between Claudia Cardinale and Burt Lancaster as she is embraced by her husband, his nephew...
The prince knows that his time has been and gone, and Lancaster plays this to perfection in yet another of his great performances.
An all time great piece of work deserving a place in any cine-lover's top few movies. And to top it all they have produced the DVD from the original print to preserve the work in pristine glory.
I have revisited The Leopard on this DVD and have been blown away by it once more - it pulls you in deeper each time you go back to it.