Luchino Visconti

Active - 1940 - 1976  |   Born - Nov 2, 1906 in Milan, Italy  |   Died - Mar 17, 1976 in Rome, Italy  |   Genres - Drama

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A director who heralded Italy's celebrated neorealist movement with his first film, Luchino Visconti was preoccupied with the moral disintegration of families. Ossessione (1942) was an Italian version of James M. Cain's The Postman Always Rings Twice about a woman who murders her husband. Bellissima (1951) examines a stage mother hell-bent on exploiting her daughter. And Rocco and His Brothers (1960) chronicles a rural family seeking a better life in the city. Visconti's segment in 1962's Boccaccio '70 was a study of casual adultery, and his last (and perhaps best) film, The Innocent (1976), illustrated the consequences of an aristocrat's having neglected his wife. The upper class and their trials were recurring subjects of Visconti's work; he came from an extremely well-to-do family, and, like many sympathizers with communism, maintained a lavish lifestyle. One of his aristocracy-oriented movies, The Leopard (1963), featured Burt Lancaster and was considered by many to be a masterpiece. (A second film with Lancaster, Conversation Piece [1975], was less successful.) Visconti worked effectively and repeatedly with Anna Magnani, Silvana Mangano Claudia Cardinale, Marcello Mastroianni, Alain Delon, Dirk Bogarde, and Helmut Berger. The director also wrote the screenplays for many of his own films, including successful adaptations of novels by both Albert Camus (The Stranger [1967]) and Thomas Mann (Death in Venice, [1971]). Visconti died in 1976.

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