2002 Film Music CD Reviews
Film Music Editor: Ian Lace
by Giuseppe di Lampedusa
Translated by Archibald Colquhoun, Introduction by Raleigh
Trevelyan and illustrated by John Holder in THE FOLIO SOCIETY edition.
Also in paperback, but without Trevelyan’s Introduction and
A Panther book published by the Harvill Press. 198 pages. ISBN 1-86046-145-X £6:99
The film of this great novel was made in 1963, by Luchino
Visconti and it had the distinction of a four-star rating in Halliwell (praise
indeed! – and well deserved for, in its uncut version it is a magnificent production).
The reason I am including this review of two versions of the story, in the hardback
Folio Edition and in the Panther paperback, is that my Editor’s Choice this
month is an album of film music by Nino Rota that includes his score for Il
gatopardo (The Leopard). The film starred Burt Lancaster as the Sicilian
aristocrat Prince Fabrizio, Alain Delon as Tancredi and Claudia Cardinale as
The Leopard traces the fortunes of Prince Fabrizio
and his noble Sicilian family through the turbulent times of the Risorgimento
(the process of the unification of Italy) when Garibaldi landed at Marsala,
in Sicily in 1860 with his thousand ‘Red Shirts’ and within three weeks had
taken Palermo and the island. It is a story of nobility in retreat, struggling
to maintain their standards as their estates, already diminished are threatened
still further. As Tancredi, the Prince’s worldy nephew realises, "We
must change to remain the same." And so Fabrizio realises old nobility
(represented by Tancredi) must marry new money (Angelica) daughter of the mayor.
Lampedusa’s florid style full of wit and irony and sharp observations of human
frailty brings this vital and colourful period in Italy’s history vividly to
For those who want to treasure this story I recommend the Folio Edition. It
has an absorbing introduction by Raleigh Trevelyan that not only covers the
life of di Lampedusa but also includes some fascinating detail about the authentic
locations for the film including the palace used for the extended, climatic
ball sequence. For those looking for a more economical alternative there is
the Panther paperback.
Folio Edition ;