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Death in Venice

Dire adaptation of Thomas Mann's novella, which turns the writer of the original into a composer, simply so that Visconti can flood his luscious, soft-focus images of Venice with the sombre sounds of Mahler, thus attempting to give a heartfelt emotional core to the hollow, camped-up goings-on. Bogarde is more than a little mannered as the ageing pederast whose obsession with a beautiful young boy staying at the same hotel (Andresen in sailor-suit and blond locks) leads him to outstay his welcome in the plague-ridden city. Everything is slowed down to a funereal (some might claim magisterial) pace, Mann's metaphysical musings on art and beauty are jettisoned in favour of pathetic scenes of runny mascara, and the whole thing is so overblown as to become entirely risible.

Release details

Rated: 12A
Duration: 128 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Luchino Visconti
Screenwriter: Luchino Visconti, Nicola Badalucco
Cast: Dirk Bogarde
Björn Andresen
Silvana Mangano
Marisa Berenson
Mark Burns
Romolo Valli
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