Length: 124 mins
Region: Region 2
Released: 7 October 2013
Cat No: CDR10745
Screen ratio 1:2.35
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Song Without End
Dirk Bogarde portrays Hungarian composer and musician Franz Liszt in this biopic which was director Charles Vidor’s final film. Having... Read More
The life of Franz Liszt – an opera of seduction, performance and wild-haired passion – was a natural for the biopic treatment; this sumptuous telling zeroes in on the great pianist/composer's romance with Princess Carolyne Wittgenstein, the love affair which, according to this picture at least, defined the rest of his life and art.
As with all biopics, how much of this is accurate is open to question (although it's a tad more credible than Ken Russell's bacchanalian Lisztomania). What matters are the emotions and those are handled expertly. Dirk Bogarde's Liszt is a tormented, tempestuous figure, caught between his desires, his music and his faith. In his only Hollywood role, Bogarde (who learnt to play the piano for the part) excels as the 19th century rock star, brilliant realising both Liszt's genius and his demons.
Filmed around various great houses in central Europe, it's a visually ravishing work, beautifully designed (by Walter Holscher and William Kiernan) and gorgeously photographed (by Charles Lang and James Wong Howe). The music's not bad either.