Visconti’s adaptation of a Dostoevsky story (filmed many times over, including by Robert Bresson) is a ravishing romantic reverie composed in incandescent black and white. Mastroianni is the lonely flâneur who meets and falls in love with a fragile young woman (Maria Schell) amidst the fog-shrouded night world of the Tuscan canal city of Livorno. What plays out between them is a swooning dream vision of all-consuming love and loss elevated to the nigh-operatic by Visconti’s rapturously stylized direction. Memorable Mastroianni moment: the actor cutting a rug in a rock ‘n’ roll juke joint. 35mm print from Istituto Luce Cinecittà.
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