Thomas Mann's novella of an aging composer fascinated with a young boy is given the most banal reading imaginable by Luchino Visconti, who flatly turns metaphors (such as homosexuality) into meanings and trumpets his reduction as if he'd made a profound discovery. Where Visconti's best films inhabit the narrow, dangerous space between high art and low camp, this 1971 feature falls in the gap. With Dirk Bogarde, essaying his usual icon of decadence. 130 min.
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