Luchino Visconti's adaptation of the Thomas Mann story Death in Venice is the very definition of sumptuous: the costumes and sets, the special geography of Venice, and the breathtaking cinematography combine to form a heady experience. At the centre of this gorgeousness is Aschenbach (Dirk Bogarde in a meticulous performance), a controlled intellectual who unexpectedly finds himself obsessed by the vision of a 14-year-old boy while on a convalescent vacation in 1911. Visconti has turned Aschenbach into a composer, which accounts for the lush excerpts from Mahler on... the soundtrack (Bogarde is meant to look like Mahler, too). Even if it tends to hit the nail on the head a little too forcefully, and even if Visconti can test one's patience with lingering looks at crowds at the beach and hotel dining rooms, Death in Venice creates a lushness rare in movies. --Robert Horton [show more]
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One man becomes so obsessed by the beauty of a young boy in Venice that he cannot bear to leave even when the city is affected by a plague Based on the novel by Thomas Mann
Luchino Visconti directs this acclaimed version of Thomas Mann's novel. Gustav van Aschenbach (Dirk Bogarde) is an aging German composer who is visiting Venice. Having given up on his existence, he is stirred from his torpor by a young boy named Tadzio (Bjorn Andresen) who seems to represent his ideal of physical beauty and purity. The character of von Aschenbach was modelled on Gustav Mahler, whose music is heard throughout the film.