The Leopard (1963 film)
original film poster
|Directed by||Luchino Visconti|
|Produced by||Goffredo Lombardo
|Written by||Pasquale Festa Campanile
Suso Cecchi d'Amico
|Music by||Nino Rota|
|Editing by||Mario Serandrei|
|Distributed by||Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation|
|Release dates||28 March 1963 (Italy)
15 July 1963 (U.S.)
|Running time||161 Min (US Theatrical Release)
185 Min (US Uncut Version)
195 Min (French Version)
205 Min (Full Version)
|Box office||$1,800,000 (US/ Canada)|
The film features an international cast including the American Burt Lancaster, the Frenchman Alain Delon and the Italians Claudia Cardinale (who is dubbed in the Italian version by Solvejg D'Assunta because her native tongue was French) and Terence Hill. It is generally seen today in the Italian-language version, in which Lancaster's lines are dubbed into Italian by Corrado Gaipa; however, an English dubbed version was also produced at the time, in which Lancaster's own voice is heard.
When Visconti was told by producers that they needed to cast a star in order to help to ensure that they'd earn enough money to justify the big budget, the director's first choice was one of the Soviet Union's preeminent actors, Nikolai Cherkasov. Learning that Cherkasov was in no condition, Twentieth Century Fox stipulated that the star should be either Gregory Peck, Anthony Quinn, Spencer Tracy or Burt Lancaster. The producers chose Hollywood star Burt Lancaster without consulting Visconti, which insulted the director and caused tension on the set; but Visconti and Lancaster ended up working well together, and their resulting friendship lasted the rest of their lives.
At the time of its release in the summer of 1963, the majority of critics panned the film. According to Newsweek, Lancaster looked "as if he's playing Clarence Day's Life With Father in summer stock.". Jonathan Miller of The New Yorker derided Lancaster as "muzzled by whiskers and clearly stunned by the importance of his role.". However Time magazine praised the characterisation of the titular Leopard as solid and convincing.
Later opinion was more forgiving, New York Magazine calling the now-famous ballroom scene "almost unbearably moving." Director Martin Scorsese considers the film to be one of the greatest ever made.
The film has circulated in numerous versions. Visconti's first cut was 205 minutes long, but this was regarded as excessive; he cut it down to 185 minutes for the official release, and regarded this version as his preferred length. The version shown in the English-speaking world was a 161-minute dubbed version edited by 20th Century Fox. A 151-minute version was released in Spain.
"I am utterly without illusions. What would the Senate do with an inexperienced legislator who lacks the faculty of self-deception, essential requisite for those who wish to guide others?" (spoken by the Prince)
Awards and honors
- 1963 Cannes Film Festival
- Nastro d'Argento
- Academy Awards
- Nominated: Best Costume Design, Color – Piero Tosi
There are several DVD editions available.
- Region 2 Medusa Home Entertainment (released in 2001) is an Italian disc offering an unrestored print and several interviews and featurettes.
- Region 2 BFI Video offers a restored print with a commentary by David Forgacs and Rossana Capitano
- Region 1 The Criterion Collection is a 3-disc set offering a restored print of the 185-minute version (English subtitles), with a commentary by Peter Cowie, several interviews, an hour-long documentary, and also includes the 161-minute English language dubbed version as an extra.
The original 8-perforation Technirama camera negative for The Leopard survives and was used by The Criterion Collection to create their video master for DVD and Blu-ray, with color timing supervised by the film's cinematographer, Giuseppe Rotunno. New preservation film elements were created using a 4K digital scan of the film, done with the cooperation of the Cineteca di Bologna, L'Immagine Ritrovata, The Film Foundation, Gucci, Pathé, Fondation Jérôme Seydoux-Pathé, Twentieth Century Fox, and Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia-Cineteca Nazionale. This restoration premiered at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival to great fanfare.
- "Top Rental Features of 1963", Variety, 8 January 1964 p 71. Please note figures are rentals as opposed to total gross.
- The Leopard at the American Film Institute Catalog
- Buford, Kate (2000). Burt Lancaster: An American Life. London: Aurum. p. 222. ISBN 1-85410-740-2.
- Buford, Kate (2000). Burt Lancaster: An American Life. London: Aurum. pp. 222–227. ISBN 1-85410-740-2.
- Buford, Kate (2000). Burt Lancaster: An American Life. London: Aurum. p. 232. ISBN 1-85410-740-2.
- New York Magazine. New York Media, LLC. 10 October 1983. p. 101. ISSN 00287369.
- "Scorsese’s 12 favorite films". Miramax.com. Retrieved 25 December 2013.
- Criterion Edition English subtitles at 2:05:42
- "Festival de Cannes: The Leopard". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 2009-02-27.
- "Gucci Extends Five-Year Partnership with Martin Scorsese's Film Foundation". fashionandrunway.com. Retrieved 2010-04-30.
- "Scorsese Restores The Leopard and Revives Cannes's Golden Age". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 2011-03-20.
- The Leopard at the Internet Movie Database
- The Leopard at Rotten Tomatoes
- The Leopard at Metacritic
- The Leopard at allmovie