The Innocent

Director: Luchino Visconti
Year Released: 1976
Rating: 3.5

Philandering aristocrat Giancarlo Giannini (remarkably subdued, considering how blustery he can be) has an affair with Jennifer O'Neill's diabolical character not behind wife Laura Antonelli's back but right out in the open (he refers to his wife as his 'sister' in one brutal scene), but when Antonelli has a fling with a writer and becomes pregnant, he's obsessed with winning her back. Nice to see at the end of Visconti's career (and life) that he was able to produce a more humble, more delicate picture than The Damned and Death in Venice (I reserve the right to like Ludwig), a sensual soap opera about sexual double standards, male competition (in one scene, Giannini's character stares at and 'evaluates' his rival's naked body after a fencing match; later, he kills that rival's child) and the problems with the idle rich: sitting around all day in opulent rooms or at cocktail parties leads to decadence (which was also examined in The Damned). It is a bit mannered, but I found Giannini's flawed self-described atheist as a fascinating figure and a commanding presence - both he and Visconti are in top form.