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56 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars unmatched masterclass in acting
Please abandon any pre-conceptions you have about this film straight away, it will not be what you expect. I was extremely hesitant about purchasing this dvd, not least because of the back covers description which leads you to believe this is nothing more than a softcore porn trip. In fact this film is far from sexually explicit and now appears thoroughly undeserving of...
Published on 13 May 2002

versus
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Frustrating!
Getting well on in years, I had never seen this movie and thought it was about time I found out what all the fuss was about - especially now that I am unlikely to be morally depraved by anything anyone can put on screen.

I found it difficult to judge the movie objectively because this DVD, labelled PAL widescreen, was a technical disaster.

Firstly,...
Published on 20 Nov 2010 by pfvll


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56 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars unmatched masterclass in acting, 13 May 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Last Tango In Paris [DVD] [1972] [1973] (DVD)
Please abandon any pre-conceptions you have about this film straight away, it will not be what you expect. I was extremely hesitant about purchasing this dvd, not least because of the back covers description which leads you to believe this is nothing more than a softcore porn trip. In fact this film is far from sexually explicit and now appears thoroughly undeserving of the controversy it caused. It is, however, a moody, atmospheric, brilliant piece of film making. I only brought this as i was a firm Brando believer, and his performance here is astounding, the best i have seen in any picture, and i have seen a lot. He oozes a gritty sensuality no other actor has ever approached, and the closing shot as he stands on the balcony is both heartbreaking and awe inspiring. In my opinion one of the most underrated movies ever.A masterpiece. Must buy.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning performance by Brando, 10 Jun 2007
By 
Dennis Littrell (SoCal/NorCal/Maui) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Last Tango In Paris [DVD] [1972] [1973] (DVD)
On the cover of the paperback edition of my novel A Perfectly Natural Act there is the blurb: "As compelling as Last Tango in Paris!" (This is not a shameless plug since my novel is long out of print.) When your work is touted as being "like" some earlier, successful work, you can be sure what is really being said is your work is not all that good and needs some hype to move it off the shelves.

So it took me 33 years to finally get around to watching "Last Tango..." and that is all to the good because if I had watched it when I was young, the barbarous sexuality would have sorely distracted me. Well, Maria Schneider (Jeanne) would have. She is very sexy and is shown complete ("she comes complete"!) in a number of scenes. Her acting ability has been challenged by some, but I thought she did a nice job in a difficult role.

Problem was she was paired opposite Marlon Brando (Paul) who was busy giving one of his greatest performances. Brando said some time afterwards that he never wanted to do anything like this again. Presumably he was referring to the depressing nature of human sexuality portrayed in the film. This is ironic since most of the raunchy and degrading lines are spoken by Brando who improvised them himself! He later commented that some of the lines written by director Bernado Bertolucci were not to his liking. What I think happened is Bertolucci wanted to live out as a director one of his youthful fantasies (raw, anonymous sex with a young beauty) and Brando, with his ultra sophistication about such matters, played his part with a brutal satirical edge, perhaps making fun of Bertolucci's fantasy, turning it into an unpleasant, hard reality.

But the "reality" was a bit over the top for everybody. The infamous "Get the butter" scene, which was improvised by Brando and Bertolucci (to Schneider's dismay), made it clear that Paul considered Jeanne an animal that you used and nothing more. The dead rat scene and all the pig talk, ditto. Brando was also projecting his own feelings. He was 48-years-old when the film was released and was getting a paunch and losing his muscle tone. All the sex scenes but one are filmed with Brando clothed so as not to make the decline of his physical prowess obvious. He projected his own feelings about the decline of his body by referring derisively to his hemorrhoids, his prostate, and his paunch.

What Brando does so very well here is become that animalistic, but thinking brute who has his way with women because they cannot resist his alpha male prowess regardless of the gray in his hair. The early scene in the apartment when the nameless Brando just takes the nameless Schneider without so much as a spoken word or a caress might make women say "if only more men could be so commanding," and men say "I wish I had that kind of confidence." I am reminded Brando's Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) except that here little is left to the imagination. The Brando that was Kowalski at twenty-seven (with an I.Q. upgrade) could easily be the Brando that was Paul at forty-eight.

Almost all the discussion about this movie is about Brando, and that is certainly understandable since, despite all the ugliness of the film, it featured one of Brando's greatest performances. However, the movie was and is Bertolucci's. He wrote it and directed it. His original cut runs something like four hours. The version here rated NC-17 runs 136 minutes. The problem is that just about everything in the movie that does not included Brando is a bit of an anticlimax or an irrelevancy. Jean-Pierre Leaud (Tom) of Truffaut's The Four Hundred Blows (1959) fame plays a film maker and Jeanne's intended. He was possibly chosen for the film because his boyish style and demeanor would contrast so sharply with Brando's commanding style. Two lovers had Jeanne: one was easy and boring, the other was scary and exciting. But I think Bertolucci was also having some fun with the French cinema and especially with Francois Truffaut. Perhaps it is only a coincidence that a year later Truffaut would release Day for Night (1973) (La Nuit americaine) in which Truffaut plays a director directing Leaud in a kind of pleasing but lightweight film contrasting sharply with the dark psychosis of Last Tango.

I don't think I could sit through the four hour version but it might be a good learning experience for young film makers. At any rate, perhaps some of the seeming illogic of the film might become reasonable, including the all too easy and not entirely explicable ending. I rate this film very highly because it was innovative (rather shocking for its time), with a fine jazz score, but mostly because of Brando's stellar performance and the sensual beauty of a 20-year-old Maria Schneider. By the way, the film is in French and English with subtitles. Brando's French is amusing, and whoever dubbed Schneider's English has a cute and witty voice.

Another excellent (and very beautiful) film by Bertolucci is The Conformist (1970) starring Jean-Louis Trintignant, Stefania Sandrelli, and Dominque Sanda. Interestingly enough Sanda was originally picked for Last Tango, as was Trintignant, and she would have given some needed depth to Jeanne's character, but she declined I guess because of all the nudity. Ironically a few years later Schneider was tabbed to play the lead in Luis Brunuel's That Obscure Object of Desire (1977) but dropped out during the filming reportedly because of a nude scene! Maybe she was afraid of becoming typecast.

I guess the bottom line on Last Tango is that it is an uncomfortable film illuminated by a veracious Parisian feel and a truly stunning performance by one of the greatest actors to ever grace the silver screen.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Watching a Car Crash, 2 Jun 2003
By 
Steven Moses - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Infamous for one particular scene LTIP is Brando's greatest performance. Brando has been criticised in the past by fellow actors for scene stealing. But Brando is such a rivetting actor to watch and you can't help but be drawn to him in whatever role he plays. But only Brando could have played this role with the delicate mix of agressive bully and tender lover. It is a hugely narcisstic role made all the more fascinating by the dialogue that one assumes is improvisation from Brando as it includes some autobiographical content. It is a very ponderous and slow moving film in parts and quite depressing. But Brando keeps it moving, keeps us thinking and even though he is a hateful man we still feel for his character right to the pitiful end. Simply awesome to this tour de force. Buy it. Now.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Where Sex acts as a refuge, 24 Dec 2007
It was, in short, a film about sex and the way that human beings use sex as a refuge, a release, and a weapon... The frank dialog, the nudity, and the simulated sex were not gratuitously employed but were integral to the theme of the film, and if the picture was not totally successful, it was certainly unforgettable...

Marlon Brando appears as a middle-aged American--but not the kind of American in Paris glorified by either George Gershwin or Ernest Hemingway... This is a man tormented by inner conflict... Brando's Paul between self-hatred over his wife's suicide and his feelings for Maria Schneider's Jeanne, she between her adoring documentary filmmaker fiancé (based wittily on Godard) and the taboo-breaking Paul...

The stark, empty flat that is the lovers' retreat from conventional society, and the cold, windy pavement where Paul screams his loathing for the world against the din of a passing train--connects us with the mood of the film...

Eager to escape the oppressive walls of his dark life, Paul embarks on a very complete sexual experience with a willing young woman in which there is no history spoken, no promises of future liaisons, no ties of any kind with the outside...

The two lovers know nothing of each other, not even their names... Their affair is purely physical, and the barren apartment becomes, as Bertolucci intended, a world of debauchery on which is explored a catalog of behavior that seems more childish than kinky...

Jeanne is a child-woman... She asks what she should call Paul, and they proceed to give themselves names brought only out of grunts, growls and screeches... Paul's cruelty is not justified and perhaps this is what attracts the modish girl... Some scenes emotionally are so provocative that you experience a wide range of feelings... Paul never asks Jeanne a direct question, but is constantly framing her for his next experiment, besides he assaults her, humiliates her and pushes her over the edge... There is one great moment for the heroine when she refuses Paul's power play and is equally unimpressed by his new declarations of love... She insists: 'It's over!'

The film is beautifully shot... The cinematography is unique, somber, shadowy and painterly... It presents despair, and the music reinforce the despairing mood... The movie is also intensely erotic, intensely realistic, immensely disturbing... The extreme frankness makes faintly uncomfortable viewing, not only because of its sexual material but because of its exploration of our inner nature with true perspective... Hopefully, younger viewers can turn their minds back to a time when sex was mysterious and beautiful; dangerous and daring; not just easy and transitory... Sex nearly always implies intimacy, but doesn't always provide it...

'Last Tango in Paris' is one of the great explorations of cinema's visual possibilities... Bertolucci camera's movements throughout the film characterize the rights steps of the tango which the two main characters execute at the climax of the film... We feel swept away by the beauty of the tango despite the tragic quality of the acts and events it escorts... T
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Looking better than ever, 10 April 2011
By 
Ciaran O'neill (Dublin) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I can't remember when I first saw Last Tango but it's a long time ago, It was, naturally, banned in Ireland when it came out in the early 70s but I saw it at a film club and have loved it ever since. For me it's not just Brando's best performance it's my favourite by anybody. He's incredibly natural in it and I can't imagine anyone else in the role. I'm not surprised (but eternally grateful)that no one has tried to do a remake. There are lots of stories about the making of the film, with Brando feeling he had revealed too much of himself in what was clearly a much-improvised role, but he should thank Bertolucci for bringing out an amazing performance. How he didn't win the Oscar is another example of the Academy getting it spectacularly wrong.

I always felt that Maria Schneider, who tragically died very recently, never got enough credit. Here she was, 19/20 years old in her first film, opposite the greatest actor in history, a world-famous director and what was obviously going to be a controversial film, and she puts in a great performance. Looks pretty great too. Unfortunately for her she's still best remembered for the "butter" scene but that does her a disservice. As regards the Blu-ray version I couldn't resist it when I saw it had been released. It was always a beautiful looking film and looks even better now. I've no idea how many times I've watched Last Tango but I think it's one of those films, like the first two Godfather movies, that I'll continue to watch until it's time to go to the big sleep.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Frustrating!, 20 Nov 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Last Tango In Paris [DVD] [1972] [1973] (DVD)
Getting well on in years, I had never seen this movie and thought it was about time I found out what all the fuss was about - especially now that I am unlikely to be morally depraved by anything anyone can put on screen.

I found it difficult to judge the movie objectively because this DVD, labelled PAL widescreen, was a technical disaster.

Firstly, the widescreen could not be obtained, neither from the DVD menus nor the extensive facilities on my player, so that the whole thing played in standard 4:3, every shot compressed horizontally, spoiling the cinematographer's carefully composed image. Paris must have looked gorgeous in the original - I know the Passy area - but here the beautiful buildings and fin-de-siecle interiors looked oddly distorted.

Secondly, the sound was bad so that the dialogue was muffled and in places impossible to hear, even after playing it back several times. This was particularly important because of the unique modern jazz soundtrack - although it could be heard, the sound quality was poor.

I became so annoyed and frustrated that I was unable to concentrate on the movie itself, but as far as I can judge, it's over-rated. Brando does his brooding troubled soul bit we have seen so often, but his acting has become so self-serving and mannered - why, for instance, in the last scenes of the movie, does he change from his American accent to a very poor imitation of a Brit cut-glass accent, as if he's suddenly trying to do a David Niven? And what was Bertolucci doing tacking on that irrelevant ending at the tango competition? It had nothing to do with the action between the four main characters, did not have any relevance to the development of their relationships and did not expand or explain the break-up between the main characters - in fact, the dramatic effect would have been better if the movie had stopped when they decided to part and walked out of the apartment. (Bertolucci would have had to change the title, though - maybe that's why the scene was there, he had a good title but so far no explanation for it!)

Maria Schneider is disgracefully exploited by the director - and probably by Brando as well. She is hardly ever completely nude in the sex scenes, but is decoratively draped around the set, fully frontally nude, in talky scenes which have no call for nudity whatsoever, whereas Brando and the boyfriend never get their kit off at all, which in Brando's case would have been 'relevant and required' in several scenes. In other words, they were openly exploiting this young actress's wish to work with established, powerful movie names. I suppose I shouldn't grumble, because she has a delightful body. Although by no means a prude, I believe full nudity and explicit intercourse need only be used on screen when relevant to the script - anything else is pornography. The sex scenes were boorish and unpleasant - no attractive young woman would find being treated like this to be erotic or even interesting enough to continue the relationship. I seem to be in a minority on this, so perhaps my annoyance got the better of me.

I have run across several instances over the last two or three years where DVDs of classic movies have been so badly transcribed, or the distribution copies so badly reproduced, that the quality of image and sound has been ruined. I thought at first that either I or my equipment was at fault, but other posts on Amazon have confirmed that other discerning movie-lovers have found the same faults. It's time we reported our problems on these reviews whenever they arise. Only this way will the distributors be pesuaded that cheap-as-chips 'remastering (!)' and reproduction of distribution copies is not good enough, and do something about it.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brandos most challenging movie role since On The Waterfront!, 1 Dec 2000
By 
lee5by5@hotmail.com (Birmingham, England) - See all my reviews
The only other film that Brando shows just how good he is and why he is admired by so many is On The Waterfront. For that movie he won an Oscar. For this however, he was only nominated but gives a performance of a meloncholy widower who can't come to terms with the dead body of his wife and engages in sterile sexual antics with a girl young enough to be his daughter. Years ago the sexual antics caused the movie to be banned in many countries. Now that the controversy over its sexually explicit nature has died down, the only interesting thing about the film is Brando's performance. Any actor or admirer of Brando should purchase this film right away!!!
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must see movie...for a million reasons, 8 Dec 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Last Tango In Paris [DVD] [1972] [1973] (DVD)
There are a million reasons to see this movie, two of which stand out in particular: Brando's superb performance and the production design. The first is well catalogued almost everywhere, the second has been almost criminally overlooked. The reason that you feel so empty and uncomfortable watching so much of this film is not just the script and the acting - it's the way that you're seeing it and the environmnet that you are seeing. it is a mystical and imaginative space, utterly beautiful and utterly empty. This sounds pretentious written down - but see it and understand how moving it really is. Please.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What a difference 40 years makes., 13 April 2014
By 
K. Gordon - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
When I saw this as a teen, it just seemed pretentious and stagy, using sex to justify a lot of blow-hard dialogue and images about the sadness of life, and the emptiness of art. Now that I'm older than Brando was when he made the film, much of that still seems true, but almost doesn't matter compared to the brilliance and depth of Brando's performance as a man trying to put the pain of his wife's suicide behind him by having a nameless, sexually adventurous fling with a much younger woman. I've also come to feel that Bertolucci was – at times – making fun of his own style as a film-maker (Jean-Pierre Leaud as Maria Schneider's more age appropriate boyfriend plays a somewhat vacuous wanna be auteur trying to capture life on film). And that at least some of the eye-rollingly pretentious dialogue is supposed to be just that – it represents Brando trying to hide from the deeper more simple and painful truths of his empty existence behind sweeping proclamations of philosophy. Not everything works for me even now, but I certainly understand why people are still watching and discussing it 40 years later. (Not to mention Schneider doing by far her best work ever, and Vitorio Storaro's wonderful cinematography. ) Well worth seeing if you haven't.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars still great, 11 Aug 2013
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This review is from: Last Tango In Paris [DVD] [1972] [1973] (DVD)
this film has aged beautifully ... its like a moving painting ... along with 'streetcar' it's Brando's best performance ...
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Last Tango In Paris [DVD] [1972] [1973]
Last Tango In Paris [DVD] [1972] [1973] by Bernardo Bertolucci (DVD - 2000)
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