In this study, the first in the English language to consider Luchino Visconti's entire oeuvre, Henry Bacon examines the films of one of Italy's preeminent filmmakers, against the cultural, historical, and biographical contexts in which they were made. The author focuses on three fundamental themes of Visconti's cinematic output: his varying styles and strategies of audiovisual narration, which create enthralling images of individuals and societies at a given moment in their development; his ability to take literary works and other cultural influences into his possession and recreate them as a highly individualized cinema; and the interplay between the filmmaker's intense feeling for life, art, and beauty and his critical detachment, disillusion, and painful awareness of death and decay. In Bacon's analysis Visconti emerges as a twentieth-century inheritor and renewer of the nineteenth-century narrative tradition, especially that of the novel and the opera.
"This readable, rich study of Luchino Visconti's 14 feature adn three short films grew out of the author's dissertation. Shrewdly attuned to the range of cinematic expression, especially the effects of music, Bacon provides the best study to date of this major stylist, who uniquely extended 19th-century narrative traditions of opera and the novel into the new aesthetics of cinema and the radical disintegrations of the 20th century. All collections." Choice