Rob Price
Gutbrain Records
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Monday • 2010 April 12

It's a movie about the patriarch of a powerful family and how he fades away as the world changes, as society makes "progress". His heir has fought in the war and is poised to take over at the end of the film—though he's ruthless in ways the retiring head of the family is not. It has gorgeous cinematography and a wonderful score by Nino Rota.

It's not The Godfather. It's Il gattopardo (The Leopard, 1963) a brilliant Luchino Visconti picture starring Burt Lancaster, Claudia Cardinale and Alain Delon. I assume it must have exerted a strong influence on Francis Ford Coppola. Who knows, maybe that's why Nino Rota got the Godfather gig.

It's Soundtrack of the Week #108.

It's a beautiful film. The cut I saw was over 3 hours long but felt short. It's a perfect drama and so well photographed that just about any shot would look good hanging on your wall.

About an hour into the movie I was wondering where Claudia Cardinale was. When she shows up everybody notices.

The CD begins with a long cue, eight and a half minutes: dramatic, sweeping, romantic, playful, sad. Then comes "Angelica e Tancredi" the love theme for Cardinale and Delon. Then there's another monster cue, almost eleven minutes long, that covers various scenes and moods.

After that we're off to the ballroom: "Mazurka", "Controdanza", "Valzer Brilliante", "Polka", "Quadriglia", "Galop", "Valzer del Commiato". I don't usually make it to the end of the CD, to be honest. Rota does these cues very straight, which is what is needed for them to work in the movie. They don't make for the most exciting listening on their own.

would have been a groovier Rota/Cardinale selection, but I've been listening to that music for more than twenty years. The Leopard is new to me. And those first twenty five minutes—perhaps they made up the A side of an LP—are gorgeous.