“I was indissolubly tied to him. For him, I’d forgotten and betrayed all those who were at that moment fighting and trying to achieve a long-cherished dream.”
During the years of Austrian occupation in mid-19th-century Venice, a married countess (Alida Valli) falls hopelessly in love with a womanizing Austrian lieutenant (Farley Granger).
Italian director Lucino Visconti’s third film (after Ossessione in 1942 and La Terra Trema in 1948) was this Technicolor historical melodrama, starring American heartthrob Farley Granger (speaking surprisingly decent Italian) and beautiful Alida Valli (known to most American audiences for her work in Alfred Hitchcock’s The Paradine Case and Carol Reed’s The Third Man). Unfortunately, while the lush sets and costumes are enjoyable to look at, Senso suffers from an undeveloped screenplay: because we never really learn much about Countess Serpieri’s marriage or her motivations, her act of betrayal against the revolutionary cause in favor of her lover doesn’t make much of an impact. Although things heat up by the final scenes of the film, the movie as a whole is overlong, and ultimately not very satisfying.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Beautiful Alida Valli as the love-stricken Countess
- Farley Granger as Valli’s duplicitous love interest
- Colorful, sumptuous sets and costumes
- Anton Bruckner’s soaring score
Yes, simply for its status as one of Visconti’s first films. Listed as a film with historical importance in the back of Peary’s book.
(Listed in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die)