Visconti counterposes romance and rebellion in this historical tale of love and betrayal set against the Italian risorgimento
in 1866. Both the aristocracy and Garibaldi's partisan patriots battle the Austro-Hungarian Empire for Italian independence. During a performance of Giuseppe
Verdi's "Il Trovatore" in Venice, as the operatic chorus chants "All'armi, all'armi"
(to arms, to arms), the patriots in the stalls and the Italian aristocrats in the boxes take up the chant and unfurl the Italian flag, to the alarm of the occupying Austrian officers. A young Austrian lieutenant,
Granger, makes a disparaging remark about the Italians and is challenged to a...