DVD - Senso
(PG) 116min (Optimum DVD retail)
Made by one of the founding fathers of Italian neo-realist cinema, Senso finds Luchino Visconti moving into more melodramatic territory with this opulent period romance set in mid-19th century Venice. Born into an aristocratic family himself, Visconti is very much at home telling the story of a beautiful countess whose doomed affair with a young Austrian officer at the outbreak of the Austro-Italian war of 1866 sees her betraying her moral conscience and political principles. Alida Valli, the icily attractive Italian star from The Third Man who was dubbed ‘the next Garbo’, plays the countess, while foppish American actor Farley Granger is imported from Hollywood to play her lover. Visconti subsequently cast and dubbed the voices of other English-speaking Western stars in arguably more distinguished films, including The Leopard with Burt Lancaster and Death in Venice with Dirk Bogarde. Though deeply flawed Senso remains testimony to Visconti’s prodigious talent. No extras.