Death in Venice

Director: Luchino Visconti
Year Released: 1971
Rating: 2.0

Embellished adaptation of the composed, tactful Thomas Mann novella that features an aging artist (in Visconti's version, a composer who looks like either Gustav Mahler or Mann, depending on the review you read) pursuing a Polish boy named Tadzio around Venice. The flashbacks are abrasive and pointed - Dirk Bogarde and Mark Burns present their various philosophical ideas to one another, with Burns often yelling - and whereas Mann never indicated exactly what Tadzio was doing or whether or not he was interested in the Gustav von Aschenbach character sexually (or even if the artist is imagining the 'glances' from the teenager), Visconti makes no mistake about the youngster's intentions. In defense of the director, however, this isn't the easiest work to film - though Mann intended the boy to represent homosexuality, the desire to be young again and the pursuit of beauty which doesn't appear to be a simple thing to translate.