Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Death in Venice (1971)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Death in Venice (1971, It.) (aka Morte a Venezia)

In director Luchino Visconti's stylistically lavish adaptation of Thomas Mann's novel - a tale of sexual obsession by a visiting composer in Venice (plagued by cholera):

  • the beautifully shot, quiet and lonely death scene of aging, avant-garde German composer Gustav von Aschenbach (Dirk Bogarde) slumped feverishly on a solitary deck chair on a Venice beach (accompanied by the Adagietto from Gustav Mahler's Fifth Symphony) dying of heart failure (other causes could be cholera, or suicide); he was reclining close to the Grand Hôtel des Bains on the Lido where he was staying
  • recently-applied dark hair dye dripped from his sweaty, chalk-white face (from under his straw hat) and down his cheeks, while he lovingly watched an angelic-looking teenaged Polish boy named Tadzio (Bjorn Andresen) (also on vacation) and on the beach wrestling with an Italian youth; he then observed Tadzio who waded out into the water and pointed out toward the horizon of the pink-tinged ocean - Gustav's expression mixed contentment, pain, and acceptance as he reached out his hand toward the unattainable boy before his death
  • the last image was an extreme long-shot of his beach chair on the large deserted stretch of sand when his body was found by other hotel guests and carried away by workers

Teenaged Boy on Beach, Pointing

Gustav on Venice Beach Deck Chair

Final Long-Shot of Beach Chair with Deceased Gustav


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