Death in Venice
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Based on a novel by Thomas Mann, Death in Venice stars Dirk Bogarde as a German composer who is terrified that he has lost all vestiges of humanity. While visiting Venice, Bogarde falls in love with a beautiful young boy (Bjorn Andresen). The relationship is ruined by Bogarde's obsession with the boy's youth and physical perfection; the composer realizes that the child represents an ideal that he can never match. The character played by Dirk Bogarde is evidently intended to be Gustav Mahler, whose haunting music is featured on the film's soundtrack. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 76%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Visconti's mastery of visual style almost succeeds in creating the very ideas and feelings that his heavy-handed narrative entirely misses."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"Can never get to the literary heart of the novel without stumbling along on a curiously suffocating course."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"Almost absurdly soporific"
‑ Bill Chambers, Film Freak Central
"Not even the classical soundtrack can turn this ponderous portrait of one man's obsession into the cinematic classic it has so often been mistaken for."
‑ Jamie Russell,
"Instead of bringing the story to life, Visconti has, I'm afraid, embalmed it."
‑ Vincent Canby, New York Times
"A sumptuous visual feast, a well-told tale of a tortured artist's sturm und drung."
‑ Dan Jardine, Apollo Guide
"Bogarde plays Gustav with a hamfist, practically drooling over the kid he's stalking"
‑ Christopher Null,
"Gorgeous, sumptuous, and slow as an arthritic turtle."
‑ Ken Hanke, Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
"Even critics who didn't like Visconti's version of Mann's novella praised Dirk Bogarde in the lead and the film's production values, especially costume design, which was Oscar nominated."
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
"Visconti's self-conscious and self-reflexive artistry can be off-putting, but with Death in Venice, he's crafted a sumptuous feast for the senses."
‑ Dan Jardine, Cinemania
"Despite the omissions from Mann's text, dependence on flashbacks, and overwrought arguments about art and music between Aschenbach and a colleague, it remains a film of great beauty."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
More reviews for Death in Venice on Rotten Tomatoes