Leo the Last

Leo the Last

Leo The Last is a 1970 film directed by John Boorman, based on the play The Prince by George Tabori, starring Marcello Mastroianni and Billie Whitelaw.


An Italian prince discovers that he owns a street in West London and decides to move in. A shy ornithologist, he initially observes his tenants through a spy-glass, but gradually he becomes more directly involved in their lives.


Director John Boorman


As ever with Boorman, 'Leo the Last' is dazzling, visually dense cinema. Despite this, and despite the fact that Boorman won the director's prize at the 1970 Cannes Film Festival for the film, 'Leo the Last' has become something of a 'lost' work in Boorman's filmography and it as yet not available on DVD in the UK.

The film's exteriors were shot in a street due to be demolished near Ladbrooke Grove tube station in West London. The distinctive look of the film is mainly due to the careful use of colour - reds, browns and blacks predominate - and the superb cinematography of Peter Suschitsky. Boorman is renowned for 'casting' and working closely with his cinematographers and he has employed some of the very best (Philip Lathrop, Conrad Hall, Vilmos Zsigmond, Geoffrey Unsworth, Alex Thomson, etc.). 'Leo the Last' has often been referred to as a 'Brechtian' piece, and certainly the film does 'play' with the notion of cinema and voyeurism.


  • 'John Boorman' (Faber 1985) by Michel Ciment
  • 'A Critical History of British Cinema' (Secker and Warburg 1978) by Roy Armes

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