Austro-Italian War, 1866 -- Drama, Boito, Camillo, 1836-1914. Senso -- Film and video adaptations, Italy -- History -- 1866 -- Drama, Man-woman relationships -- Drama


(The Wanton Countess)

Digital Restoration


Alida Valli, Farley Granger, Massimo Girotti, Heinz Moog,

Restored by Studiocanal, Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia-Cineteca Nazionale, and Cineteca di Bologna at L’Immagine Ritrovata. Restoration funding provided by Gucci, The Film Foundation, and Comitato Italia 150.

Visconti’s first costume drama abandons his earlier neorealist style for a lush, near-operatic account of love and betrayal during the 1860s Italian resistance to Austrian rule. The film’s masterful opening sequence introduces its themes: patriotism and doomed love, mirrored to a swooning aria, as a performance of a Verdi opera triggers the audience to chant anti-Austrian slogans, and brings together a cynical young Austrian soldier (Farley Granger) with an older, sensual Italian countess (Alida Valli). Smitten with the downmarket charm of the young man, this “wanton countess” (the film’s American release title) soon abandons her husband, and subsequently, as Italy grows more revolutionary, her country. Visconti integrates enough historical accuracy and explicit political allegory to please the most scholarly Marxist (and therefore to have displeased the Italian censors, who insisted on many cuts), but Senso is foremost, as the title indicates, an overwhelmingly sensual experience, luxuriant and baroque.

Jason Sanders
  • Luchino Visconti
  • Suso Cecchi D'Amico
Based On
  • the short story by Camillo Boito

  • G. R. Aldo
  • Robert Krasker
  • Italian
  • with English subtitles
Print Info
  • Color
  • DCP
  • 123 mins
  • Rialto Pictures

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Senso (program note), San Francisco International Film Festival, Kent Jones, 2010

Luchino Visconti: maestro of the movies (program note), Brooklyn Museum, 1992

Luchino Visconti: a retrospective (program note), Walker Art Center, 1979

Senso (synopsis), B.H., 1974

Films: Senso (review), Village Voice, Andrew Sarris, 1968

[Senso] (program note), University of Minnesota Film Society, Al Milgrom, 1965

Senso (distributor materials)

[Senso] (synopsis)

Senso (press release)

Senso (distributor materials), Fleetwood Films, Inc.

Displaying 10 of 13 publicly available documents.

View all Senso documentation on CineFiles.