Il Gattopardo

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(1963, d. Luchino Visconti)
starring Burt Lancaster, Claudia Cardinale, Alain Delon, Paolo Stoppa


Aging Sicilian Prince Don Fabrizio Salina (Burt Lancaster) views the waning fortunes of his aristocratic line and culture with a melancholic yet stoic detachment as the middle classes rise to form a unified Italy in the 1860’s. Seeing his ambitious and savvy nephew, Tancredi Falconeri (Alain Delon) as the family's hope to continue the prestige of their family line in spite of these changing times, Don Fabrizio encourages the marriage of Tancredi to the beautiful daughter (Claudia Cardinale) of a wealthy former peasant (Paola Stoppa).

The classic novel by Prince Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa sets the tone and provides the tale for this Luchino Visconti masterpiece that exemplifies the themes that are the hallmark of his work, grand passions played out in the world of the European aristocracy. With Academy Award-nominated costumes, sweeping cinematography of the Sicilian countryside by Giuseppe Rotunno, and an elaborate 45-minute ballroom set-piece that reflects the studied social exposition of the entire film, the Cannes Film Festival fittingly awarded Il Gattopardo the Palme d’Or in 1963.

Il Gattopardo was photographed in a process called Technirama, in which images are captured on 35mm film horizontally rather than vertically. The resulting anamorphic image, twice the size of a standard 35mm frame, is remarkably sharp and full of detail.

Since 1963, the camera negatives faded, and exhibited most of the issues common to films of its era – although because of the photographic process, scratches and dirt move horizontally across the frame rather than vertically.
For this new restoration, the original Technirama camera negatives were scanned at 8K and a 35mm protection interpositive was also scanned for sections needed to replace material not present in the original camera negatives. After scanning, all files were converted to 4K, and the balance of picture restoration was performed entirely digitally at this resolution.  The original monaural soundtrack has also been  restored using a 35mm magnetic source which was digitally captured and processed to remove distracting pops, clicks, and noise while still faithfully representing the characteristics of the original presentation.

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