Sog.: Luchino Visconti, Suso Cecchi d’Amico, dal racconto omonimo di Camillo Boito; Scen.: Suso Cecchi d’Amico, Luchino Visconti, Carlo Alianello, Giorgio Bassani, Giorgio Prosperi; Dial.: Tennessee Williams, Paul Bowles; F.: (Technicolor) G. R. Aldò, Robert Krasker; Mo.: Mario Serandrei; Scgf.: Ottavio Scotti; Co.: Marcel Escoffier, Piero Tosi; Mu.: Anton Bruckner (Sinfonia n. 7 in mi maggiore), Giuseppe Verdi (Il Trovatore), Orchestra Sinfonica della RAI diretta da Franco Ferrara; Su: Vittorio Trentino, Aldo Calpini; Int.: Alida Valli (Contessa Livia Serpieri), Farley Granger (Tenente Franz Mahler), Heinz Moog (Conte Serpieri), Massimo Girotti (Marchese Roberto Ussoni), Cristoforo De Hartungen (Generale Hauptmann), Rina Morelli (Laura, la governante), Christian Marquand (ufficiale boemo), Marcella Mariani (Clara, la prostituta), Sergio Fantoni (Luca, un patriota), Goliarda Sapienza (patriota), Tino Bianchi (Capitano Meucci), Ernst Nadherny (comandante della piazza di Verona), Tonio Selwart (Colonnello Kleist), Marianna Leibl (moglie del generale Hauptmann), Goliarda Sapienza (patriota a teatro); Prod.: Renato Gualino per Lux Film; Pri. pro.: 30 dicembre 1954. 35mm. D.: 123’. col.
I have always been attracted to Stendhal. I’d have liked to make The Charterhouse of Parma – that was my ideal. If cuts hadn’t been made in my film and if it had been edited as I wished, then it really would have been truly about Fabrice at the battle of Waterloo. Of Fabrice passing behind the battle. And Countess Serpieri modelled on the Duchess of Sanseverina. (…) I gave it a historical slant right from the outset. I even wanted to call it Custoza, naming it after a famous Italian defeat. But there was a cry of indignation: from Lux, the minister, the censors… (Even Senso was rejected in the beginning: the clapperboard bore the name Uragano d’Estate during filming). Hence the battle originally took on much greater importance. I had intended to outline a general background of Italian history and to use this as a context to Countess Serpieri’s personal affairs. However, when it came down to it, this was nothing more than the portrait of a certain class. What interested me was to give an account of a wrong and disastrous war pursued by a single class. The ending was also originally entirely different from the one you see now. I filmed it at night, in a street in Rome’s Trastevere, precisely the one where Livia runs and screams in the second version. But the first did not finish with Franz’s death. Livia could be seen passing among groups of drunken soldiers, and the final sequence showed a small, very young – just 16 years old – Austrian soldier blind drunk. He was leaning against a wall, singing a victory song, the same that could be heard in the town. Then he broke off to sob and sob and sob, shouting: “Long live Austria!” Gualino, old Gualino – my producer, a lovely man – came to watch the filming and he kept whispering in my ear: “It’s risky, very risky.” Perhaps, but that ending attracted me so much more. Franz was left to his own business, nobody took any notice of Franz! Who cared if he died or not! He was ignored after the scene in his room, where he revealed how repulsive he was. Placing him before the firing squad would have been pointless. And so we were left with her running to report him and fleeing along the street. As she weaved among prostitutes, becoming a sort of prostitute herself, going from one soldier to the next.”
Luchino Visconti, Entretien avec Luchino Visconti, edited by Jacques Doniol-Valcroze and Jean Domarchi, “Cahiers du Cinéma”, no. 93, March 1959
Restoration funded by Studiocanal, Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia-Cineteca Nazionale, Cineteca
di Bologna-L’Immagine Ritrovata, in collaboration with GUCCI, The Film Foundation and Comitato
Italia 150 and carried out thanks to the joined work of Cineteca Nazionale, Cineteca del Comune di Bologna and three great artists as Giuseppe Rotunno, Piero Tosi and Suso Cecchi D’Amico. Starting from the work already done by Giuseppe Rotunno, who started the restoration of the film in 1994, the Technicolor printing
negatives, held by Cristaldi Film, have been recovered: a digital reconstruction of colour occured, as the original mater