Considering it's current reputation as a modern classic, THE CONFORMIST gets a rather different review in those old pages.
From: FILMS IN REVIEW
April 1971, Vol. XXII No. 4
Alberto Moravia's novels about the Italian aristocracy are a little better than the denigrations of the British aristocracy once concocted for servant girls, but not much. His THE CONFORMIST, on which this film is based, is supposed to be one of his best. Its protagonist, the son of an insane father and a mother who is a drug-addicted nymphomaniac, becomes, in a zombie sort of way, a member of the Fascist Party. Jean Louis Trintignant portrays him and is a fitting choice for such a part.
All this is so facititious and uninteresting director Bernardo Bertolucci endeavors to save his cinemation of it from banality by obfuscating everything. Deliberately. At least I hope it was deliberately.
The result is a worthless film even the Left is none too enthusiastic about.