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.)