The occasion of The Leopard is the bourgeois revolution of 1860, Garibaldi invading Sicily, and the tone of the film is one of detached pity for the follies of the liberators….
The Prince's fastidious pride and melancholy valuing of past glory are Visconti's; there is no distancing…. The Prince's pride is earned in the film by sense, humor, kindness, rational authority, exemption from hysteria…. He is, the Prince, a man of the Enlightenment, a mathematician and astronomer, with a controlled intelligence akin to an artist's. But this pride must still be purged, and here is the function of the stupendous Ball that ends the film. It is a cosmic panorama of the old world and the new, as...
(The entire section is 843 words.)