Il gattopardo / The Leopard (1963) Criterion Collection
To best appreciate The Leopard, it is important to understand the political undercurrents of the film. Italy, circa 1859, was a fragmented collection of independent states, each controlled by different ruling interests. The Papal states resided in central Italy. Towards the south, King Ferdinand II ruled over the Bourbon states of Naples and Sicily. The Savoy States were ruled by Victor Emmanuel. Austria, after the Napoleonic Wars, had seized control of Northern Italy.

The film takes place during the heart of the Italian Risorgimento, a time of nineteenth-century social upheaval in which the Italian states rebelled against the existing aristocratic order to form a unified and democratic Italy. Burt Lancaster plays Don Fabrizio, the proud yet aging Prince of Salina, emblematic of the old society and yet fully aware that his way-of-life is slowly fading into oblivion. Garibaldi, who is attempting to unite all of Italy into one nation, has landed in Sicily, and even his adored nephew, Tancredi (Alain Delon), who he has fancied to be his successor, has joined his army. The film follows events in the lives of the Prince of Salina and his family.

Director: Luchino Visconti
Cast: Burt Lancaster, Alain Delon, Claudia Cardinale, Terence Hill
Country: Italy, France
Genre: Drama, History


Throughout the years, The Leopard has appeared in a number of different versions. When it premiered in Italy, the film apparently had a running time of approximately 205 minutes, but shortly after that Visconti edited it in a preferred by him 185-minute version. For its American premiere, The Leopard was dubbed in English and further cut down to 161 minutes.
Visconti disowned the English dubbed abbreviated version, that lopped off about 44 minutes and did its best to try and ruin a masterpiece. The Criterion Collection is proud to present the film in two distinct versions: Visconti’s original Italian version, and the alternate English-language version released in America in a restored special edition.

2xBD50 + 3xDVD9 | 1080p AVC, NTSC | 3:05:51 + 02:41:42 | 89.7 Gb + 20.2 Gb + 3% rec
Language: Italiano, English
Subtitles: English

Extras:

Commentary - a very informative audio commentary by film scholar Peter Cowie.

The American Version - the American version of The Leopard premiered in New York City on July 15, 1963, just under four months after the film's Italian release. Cut from 185 to 161 minutes, the American version version features an English-language track soundtrack, with star Burt Lancaster and supporting players Leslie French (Cavaliere Chevelley) providing their own voices. (1080i).

A Dying Breed: The Making of The Leopard - a collection of interviews with some of the principal actors in the film, crew members, Giuseppe di Lampedusa, author of The Leopard, Sydney Pollack, and others, who talk about the rich history of the film, Visconti as a filmmaker, the era he belonged to, how Italian cinema evolved after Visconti passed away. In Italian and English, with optional English subtitles for the Italian portions of the program. (62 min, 1080i).

Goffredo Lombardi interview - in this interview producer Goffredo Lombardo, whose Titanus Films was bankrupted by Visconti, recalls his involvement with the famous director. Interviewed by Luciana Migliavacca. In Italian, with optional English subtitles. (20 min, 1080i).

The History of the Risorgimento - in this video interview, Italian culture scholar Millicent Marcus discusses the Giuseppe Garibaldi, Camillo Benso di Cavour, and Giuseppe Mazzini's placement in the annals of Italian history. In English, not subtitled. (14 min, 1080i).

Promotional materials - posters, Italian newsreels, Italian trailer, and two American trailers for the film.

Stills gallery of rare behind-the-scenes production photos

Related posts:

  1. Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project: Touki Bouki / Journey of the Hyena (1973), Redes / The Wave (1936), Titash Ekti Nadir Naam / A River Called Titas (1973), Susuz yaz / Dry Summer (1963), Trances / Transes (1981), Hanyo / The Housemaid (1960) 6 x DVD and 3 x Blu-Ray Criterion Collection
  2. Le mani sulla citta / Hands Over the City (1963), Diario napoletano / Neapolitan Diary (1992) 2 x DVD9 Criterion Collection
  3. The New World (2005) 3 x Blu-Ray Criterion Collection
  4. Short Cuts (1993) 2 x Blu-Ray Criterion Collection
  5. Boyhood (2014) 2 x Blu-Ray Criterion Collection