Gorgeously upholstered by flashing, decadent passions and over-the-top operatics, Italian aristo Luchino Visconti’s full colour, full-tilt spectacle was Scorsese’s go-to guide for making his own period love-letter The Age Of Innocence. It’s not hard to see why Senso was retitled The Wanton Countess for its US release. The stage is 1860s Venice, with war about to detonate as Alida Valli’s married Italian countess goes bonkers for a feckless Austrian lieutenant (Farley Granger, fresh from being put through the ringer by Hitch in Rope and Strangers On A Train). However, the Catherine Cookson sudsy melodrama slowly descends into a mad, masochistic whirl of deception, betrayal, humiliation and revenge. Visconti had wanted Ingrid Bergman and Marlon Brando, but Valli and Granger both hurl themselves at the roles with ferocious force. By the climax, the pair muster a sumptuous delirium that almost makes you forget there’s never much buried beneath the lacquer.