My second Visconti wasn't really a success either. After seeing Rocco and His Brothers ages ago, it was time to give the man another chance. It might not have been the best idea to go for a 3-hour film, on the other hand The Leopard is one of Visconti's most respected films, so what the heck.
I will admit that his films look much nicer in full color. I don't remember much of Rocco, but I do remember the dreary black and white cinematography. To see Italy in all its colorful glory is a relief. That goes for both the scenes inside and the ones outdoors, with the latter being the most impressive (thanks to Sicily, at least in part).
The story was less interesting, mixing Italian history with cheesy drama while having a go at the aging aristocrats. Though I have to say that the clumsy dialogues and overdone performances didn't help the story one bit. The soundtrack too is annoying, scraping away the atmosphere built up by the cinematography. The incredibly lengthy and pompous ball scene at the end was the final nail in The Leopard's coffin. I don't think I'm a big Visconti fan.