Luchino Visconti's Technicolor tragic romance, Senso (1954), is a big budget production and something of a departure from Visconti's earlier successes. The previous two films that I saw, Obessione and La Terra Trema were examples of Italian Neo-realism, while this one is much more romantic in its evocation of the past with sumptuous sets and costumes such as the striking opening sequence that takes place at an opera theater. The story takes place in nineteenth century Italy during the Italo-Prussian war and before Italy gains its independence. The story was based on a novella that was adapted and follows the torrid love affair between a married countess (Italian Alida Valli) and an officer of the occupying Prussian army (played by American Farley Granger). Originally, Visconti wanted Ingrid Bergman and Marlon Brando, but both turned down the opportunity. The soundtrack, the acting, and the art design, all create an extraordinary historical drama. The Criterion extras include: The Making of "Senso," a documentary featuring cinematographer Giuseppe Rotunno, assistant director Francesco Rosi, costume designer Piero Tosi, and Caterina D'Amico, daughter of screenwriter Suso Cecchi D'Amico and author of Life and Work of Luchino Visconti, a visual essay by film scholar Peter Cowie. On the second disc: The Wanton Countess, a rarely seen English-language version of the film, Viva VERDI, a documentary on Visconti, Senso, and opera, and "Man of Three Worlds: Luchino Visconti," a 1966 BBC program exploring Visconti's mastery of cinema, theater, and opera directions.