New Release: Senso Blu-ray and DVD

Criterion issued Italian filmmaker Luchino Visconti’s 1954 tragic romance film Senso on Blu-ray and DVD on Feb. 22, 2011, for the suggested retail prices of $39.95 and $29.95, respectively.

Visconti’s (The Leopard) lush, Technicolor movie stars Alida Valli (The Third Man) as a 19th century Italian countess who, amid the Austrian occupation of her country, puts her marriage and political principles on the line by engaging in a torrid affair with a dashing Austrian lieutenant, played by Farley Granger (Strangers on a Train).

Filled with fearless performances, ornate costumes and sets and a rich classical soundtrack, Visconti’s operatic melodrama is an evocation of reckless emotions and deranged lust from one of the cinema’s great sensualists.

The discs show Senso in a new, restored high-definition digital transfer, created in collaboration with the Cineteca di Bologna and Martin Scorsese’s Film Foundation and supervised by director of photography Giuseppe Rotunno. Presented in Italian with English subtitles and a new translation, the movie has an uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray.

These special features are included on both the Blu-ray and DVD:

  • new documentary The Making of Senso, featuring Rotunno, assistant director Francesco Rosi, costume designer Piero Tosi and Caterina D’Amico, daughter of screenwriter Suso Cecchi D’Amico and author of Life and Work of Luchino Visconti
  • new documentary Viva VERDI on Visconti, Senso and an opera featuring Italian film scholar Peter Brunette, Italian historian Stefano Albertini and author Wayne Koestenbaum
  • The Wanton Countess, the rarely seen English-language version of the film
  • visual essay by film scholar Peter Cowie
  • 1966 BBC special Man of Three Worlds: Luchino Visconti, exploring Visconti’s parallel masteries of cinema, theater and opera direction
  • booklet featuring an essay by filmmaker and author Mark Rappaport and an excerpt from actor Farley Granger’s autobiography, Include Me Out


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About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.