ROARING BACK

Visconti’s masterpiece gets a digital restoration

Returning a touch of old-school glamour to Cannes this May, Martin Scorsese unveiled a perfect digital restoration of The Leopard, Luchino Visconti’s 1963 Palme d’Or winner, to an audience including two of the film’s dashing stars, Alain Delon and Claudia Cardinale, now in their seventies. That restoration, which required some 12,000 hours of manual work, can now be enjoyed in all its sumptuous colors during a two-week run at Film Forum. Often compared to Gone With the Wind, the three-hour epic, about the Prince of Salina (played by Burt Lancaster) and the fall of the aristocracy in Sicily in the 1860s, has it all—violent battle scenes, a wedding engagement between the prince’s beloved nephew and a wealthy bourgeois beauty, and a final 45-minute ball scene that genuinely evokes the time period, going so far as to use actual candles in the chandeliers that had to be changed hourly. You won’t find that kind of attention to detail today.
Dec. 31-Jan. 13, 2010
 
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