Conversation Piece (film)
|Gruppo di famiglia in un interno|
UK DVD cover
|Directed by||Luchino Visconti|
|Produced by||Giovanni Bertolucci for Rusconi Film|
|Written by||Suso Cecchi d'Amico
|Cinematography||Pasqualino De Santis|
|Edited by||Ruggero Mastroianni, Eliane Katz|
|Distributed by||New Line Cinema in USA|
|10 December 1974 (Italy)
23 June 1977 (U.S.)
|Language||Shot in English; in Italy was released dubbed into Italian|
The film features an international cast including the American actor Burt Lancaster, the Austrian Helmut Berger and the Italians Silvana Mangano and Claudia Cardinale (in a very short role as the professor's wife) and the French actress Dominique Sanda in a cameo as the professor's mother. It was shot in English language, however, an Italian dubbed version was also produced at the time, in which Lancaster's and Berger's lines are dubbed into Italian by other actors.
The film was censored in Spain for the nude and political content and because Francisco Franco's daughter and son-in-law are mentioned. However, it was re-released there, uncut, in 1983. The word cunt was removed from its UK original release but restored on the British DVD edition.
Retired American professor (Burt Lancaster) lives a solitary life in a luxurious palazzo in Rome. He is confronted by a vulgar Italian marchesa (Silvana Mangano) and her companions: her lover (Helmut Berger), her daughter (Claudia Marsani) and her daughter's boyfriend (Stefano Patrizi) and is forced to rent to them an apartment on an upper floor of his home. From this point on, his quiet routine is turned into chaos by his tenants' machinations, and everybody's life takes an unexpected but inevitable turn.
- Burt Lancaster (The Professor)
- Helmut Berger (Konrad Huebel)
- Silvana Mangano (Marquise Bianca Brumonti)
- Claudia Marsani (Lietta Brumonti)
- Stefano Patrizi (Stefano)
- Elvira Cortese (Erminia)
- Philippe Hersent (Porter)
- Guy Tréjan (Antiquario)
- Jean-Pierre Zola (Blanchard)
- Umberto Raho
- Enzo Fiermonte (Police chief)
- Romolo Valli (Michelli)
- Dominique Sanda (Professor's mother [in flashbacks, uncredited])
- Claudia Cardinale (Professor's wife [in flashbacks, uncredited])
- Visconti was inspired in creating the main character of the professor by the Italian literary critic Mario Praz. In an interview Praz recalls how the situation described in the movie (a group of young and loud tenants moving into the old palazzo where he lived, disrupting his peace) happened for real a few months after the movie was released.
- The professor is a collector of conversation pieces, 18th century English paintings. Arthur Devis is mentioned.
- In the film, the cult song by Iva Zanicchi Testarda Io is heard. The aria "Vorrei spiegarvi, oh Dio!", and the Sinfonia Concertante, K. 364, both by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart are heard.
- The film refers to Golpe Borghese, Red Brigades and terrorism acts in the history of the Italian Republic in the earliest 70s. Konrad (Helmut Berger) fought in Berlin at May 1968.
- Lietta (Claudia Marsani) recites a poem that is attributed to W. H. Auden, "There's no sex life in the grave".
- The film is a critique of the world of the jet set following Federico Fellini's La Dolce Vita.
- Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists Nastro d'Argento
- Winner: Best Director (Regista del Miglior Film Italiano) – Luchino Visconti
- Winner: Best Cinematography (Migliore Fotografia) – Pasqualino De Santis
- Winner: Best New Actress (Migliore Attrice Esordiente) – Claudia Marsani
- Winner: Best Producer (Migliore Produttore Italiano)
- Winner: Best Production Design (Migliore Scenografia) – Mario Garbuglia
- David di Donatello
- Winner: Best Film
- Winner: Best Foreign Actor (Migliore Attore Straniero) – Burt Lancaster
- Japan Academy Prize
- Winner: Best Foreign Film
- Seminci, Valladolid Film Festival, Spain
- Winner: Best Film
- Gruppo di famiglia in un interno at the Internet Movie Database
- French site about Visconti: http://emmanuel.denis.free.fr/visconti.html
- Review by Pauline Kael