Sandra (1965 film)

Vaghe stelle dell'Orsa is a 1965 Italian film directed by Luchino Visconti. It was released as Sandra (Of a Thousand Delights) in the United States and as Of These Thousand Pleasures in the UK.

Vaghe stelle dell'Orsa
Directed byLuchino Visconti
Written bySuso Cecchi d'Amico
Enrico Medioli
Luchino Visconti
StarringMichael Craig
Claudia Cardinale
Music byCesar Franck
CinematographyArmando Nannuzzi
Edited byMario Serandrei
Release date
16 September 1965 (Italy)
16 January 1966 (U.S.)


Visconti's retelling of the Electra story starts with Sandra/Electra (Claudia Cardinale) returning to her ancestral home in Italy - and reviving an intimate involvement with her brother (Jean Sorel) which troubles her naive husband (Michael Craig) - on the eve of an official ceremony commemorating the death of her Jewish father in a Nazi concentration camp. As ever with Visconti, he is ambivalently drawn to the decadent society he is ostensibly criticising; and Armando Nannuzzi's camera lovingly caresses the creaking old mansion, set in a landscape of crumbling ruins, where the incestuous siblings determine to wreak revenge on the mother (Bell) and stepfather (Ricci) who supposedly denounced their father.

The title, culled from the poem "Le ricordanze"[1] by Giacomo Leopardi, could be translated as 'Glimmering stars of the Great Bear', and has a strong resonance with the movie's plot:

Vaghe stelle dell'Orsa, io non credea
Tornare ancor per uso a contemplarvi
Sul paterno giardino scintillanti,
E ragionar con voi dalle finestre
Di questo albergo ove abitai fanciullo,
E delle gioie mie vidi la fine.(...)

English translation:

Glimmering stars of the Great Bear,
I never thought I'd be back to see you
Shining down on my father's garden,
Nor talk to you ever again from the windows
Of this house where I spent my childhood
And saw the last of my happiness vanish.(...)



The film won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival.


  1. Leopardi's poem full text at ; English translation at Google Books

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