Luchino Visconti Stephen Farber - Essay

Stephen Farber

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Death in Venice is "visual" in the very worst sense—stuffed with extravagantly pretty pictures that only obscure the themes of Thomas Mann's novella. This film does a disservice to cinema as well as to literature…. (p. 643)

Mann's novella, published in 1911, is probably one of the central works of twentieth-century literature, dealing, as it does, with sexual ambiguities, the moral failures of art, and some of the disturbing tensions in the German temperament—extreme rigor and discipline contending with a strong, suppressed desire for sensual abandon. Very little of this is suggested in the film, which has become a monotonous, protracted study of a homosexual infatuation…. The film...

(The entire section is 765 words.)