Wednesday, October 28, 2015

279. Senso/The Wanton Countess (1954)

Running Time: 123 minutes
Directed By: Luchino Visconti
Written By: Carlo Alianello, Giorgio Bassani, Paul Bowles, Suso Cecchi D'Amico, Giorgio Prosperi, Luchino Visconti, Tennessee Williams, from novella by Camillo Boito
Main Cast: Alida Valli, Farley Granger, Heinz Moog, Massimo Girotti, Rina Morelli
Click here to view the trailer


Here's hoping that Senso is the last movie that I have to SUFFER through for THE BOOK, although I don't have a good feeling about The Cloud-Capped Star or Onibaba, so I won't hold my breath.

Senso is like a piece of 19th century literature that somehow crawled up out of the page and manifested itself into a really boring, insufferable movie. It's about a countess who falls in love with an Austrian officer, during a time when Italy and Austria are at war. The countess is played by Alida Valli and the Austrian officer by Farley Granger (where did he come from - I don't expect to see guys named Farley popping up in European cinema). Anyway, the two have this big love affair and really the movie is centered around four meetings: First, they meet and hate each other, when the officer, named Franz Mahler, is challenged by the cousin of the countess', named Livia, to a duel. Franz denies the challenge and later meets up with Livia. They talk until dawn, falling in love that very night - but, of course, keeping it a secret. Then they meet again, much later, when they end up in bed together. Their third meeting comes after Livia leaves Venice, with Franz showing up on her balcony one evening and Livia later ushering him into a gran shed to hide. Their final meeting comes after Livia realizes (or finally accepts) that Franz has been using her the entire time, when she goes to him when he's at his lowest. And that's the vaguest plot summary you've seen in quite some time, I'm sure, but my mind wandered ruthlessly with this one, so that's as good as it gets.

This film combines a bunch of things I really can't stand with my movies: melodrama, 19th century pieces and world history. Okay, so three things...but still. One of the things I really can't wait for, post BOOK, is that my ability to quit a movie in the middle, when I'm hating it, will be restored. Sure, I'll probably never do it (because I'm a completist, at heart), but just knowing that I CAN will be nice. I hated nearly every second of this and am so glad it's over. Man, Luchino Visconti has really been erratic with his films. Take something like Ossessione, which is sexy, dark and intriguing and then you've got others like Senso and The Leopard, which are world history pieces, set two centuries ago and that are hard as hell to get through. Of course, there's also the brilliant Rocco and His Brothers, which was so good I'll happily be open to seeing more Vixconti, in hopes that they're as good as that one. For as beautiful as this film looked, it was just as boring and mind numbing. I really don't know how else to say it, so lets just leave it at that, shall we?

RATING: 2/10  I'll give it a couple marks, because it wasn't quite '1' level bad, but it WAS indeed mind numbing and good luck to future book doers getting through this steaming pile.


October 28, 2015  4:13pm


  1. I've been following/watching the 1,001 (or 1,177 films to date with all versions considered) since about late 2006 when I first picked up the 2005 version (the one with The Shining on the cover). I first discovered your blog several years ago and was always ahead of you in numbers of films viewed. In 2012 I got promoted in my job after college and my viewing dropped off some. Now I have only 100 or so films to watch and decided to check back into your blog. Boy how I was disheartened to discover that not only had you passed me but that you were just a few days away from completing the journey. I've made a dedication to completing the list as soon as possible and expect to do so some time in January/February, but I must say kudos for sticking with it over these years. I do remember your blog from 2-3 years ago and have noticed your film evaluation and writing style has not changed much. I've never posted on your blog before but I will give a short evaluation (with both praise and criticism) once you've finished at the end of the week. More than anything else I must congratulate you on completing/overtaking me, and hope any comments from an anonymous/silence observer can hope to have any meaning. Congrats and lets Monty Python the shit out of this thing at the film line!

    1. Wow. Thanks for the kudos. Good luck on finishing yourself. It's definitely a tough ride, but rewarding, I think.

      I look forward to your full evaluation at the end of the week. Thanks for stopping by

    2. Wow. Thanks for the kudos. Good luck on finishing yourself. It's definitely a tough ride, but rewarding, I think.

      I look forward to your full evaluation at the end of the week. Thanks for stopping by


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