Italian Cinema under Fascism

Roberto Roberti – Napoli che canta AKA When Naples sings (1926)

http://img38.imageshack.us/img38/9932/naple.png

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

From il cinema muto italiano 1923-1931:
Si tratta di una antologia di canzoni napoletane, interprete dai maggiori cantanti dell’epoca, i quali seguirono alcune prime visioni, cantando direttamente sotto lo schermo.

Translation:
This is an anthology of Neapolitan songs, singers from the major interpreter of the time, which followed some premieres, singing directly below the screen. Read More »

Vittorio Cottafavi – I nostri sogni AKA Our Dreams (1943)

http://img190.imageshack.us/img190/453/sogni0a.jpg

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Plot: Leo (Vittorio De Sica) is young man trying to make a living without any success. Through fortuitous circumstances, he is assigned by the director of a big firm to accompany for one night the daughter of the firm’s accountant, Titi (María Mercader). Leo pretends then to be the son of a tycoon, and takes her in a luxurious restaurant. Read More »

Raffaello Matarazzo – Treno popolare (1933)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Plot: Lina, Giovanni and Carlo take the Roma-Orvieto train for a trip to the countryside.

Quote:
One of the beacon films of the European cinema of the Thirties. Celebrating the sound film as a rebirth of cinema, Treno popolare combines and harmonises, with genius, several characteristics of the cinema of the period. Talking pictures, of which it is too often said that they rendered cinema theatrical, also accentuated and stimulated realism. (…) This realism, born from sound and the possibility to make characters speak in their own langauage and with their true voices, here extends to a unanimist depiction of Italian society, and notably of the petite bourgeoisie of the time, portrayed with great veracity in its daily activity and behaviour. And the fact that the film is entirely staged in exteriors makes it possible to assign it its place – it precedes Renoir’s Toni by a year – as the first neo-realist work. Read More »

Guido Brignone – Maciste all’inferno AKA Maciste in Hell (1925)

http://img534.imageshack.us/img534/5104/bscap000qf9.jpg

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Scifilm wrote:
Maciste is tempted by the devil, and ends up trapped in hell when he elects to fight him.

Bartolomeo Pagano played Maciste in the 1914 movie CABIRIA; he must have liked the character; he ended up playing him repeatedly in a variety of movies over the next twenty years. I do wonder about the character’s position in time; CABIRIA took place in ancient Rome, but even if I’m not sure when this movie takes place, it’s certainly a much later period of time; Maciste wears a suit and tie through most of this, and at one point he is tempted with some shots of very modern cities indeed. Nonetheless, the fantasy element is very strong; the scenes in hell are great, with a huge cast of demons and fiends, including a couple of giant demons, a flying dragon, and some great special effects. It’s based at least partially on Dante’s “Inferno”, and it includes both Lucifer, Pluto and Proserpine as characters. I would love to have seen some of the other early Maciste movies just to see what the character’s story was, but this one and CABIRIA are the only ones I know exist for sure. It’s definitely worth a look for people interested in creative visions of hell; the movie apparently served as an inspiration both for Mario Bava and Federico Fellini. Read More »

Alessandro Blasetti – Terra madre (1931)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

PLOT SYNOPSIS
After many years in the city, the Duke Marco, accompanied by his lover Daisy and by a cohort of frivolous and condescending friends, pays a visit to the country estate in which he grew up, and that he now owns after his father’s death. The Duke slowly comes to acknowledge how deeply connected he feels towards the ancestral land and its humble people, but he is torn between his duties as a landowner and the whims of Daisy, who pushes him to sell the estate to an unscrupulous businessman. To complicate matters, the Duke gets increasingly fond of Emilia, the young and outspoken daughter of the head farmer. Read More »

Alessandro Blasetti – Nessuno torna indietro AKA Responsibility Comes Back (1945)

http://img266.imageshack.us/img266/476/nessunotornaindietrodvd.jpg

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Late fascist chickflick or early lib melo – hard to tell. Early production title was Vagine di ferro. Read More »

Mario Camerini – I Promessi Sposi aka The Spirit and the Flesh (1941)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Alessandro Manzoni’s book I Promessi Sposi from 1823 seems to be one of the best kept secrets of the whole Italian literature. While by many considered to be the greatest novel ever written in the Italian language, it doesn’t seem to have a particularly strong reputation abroad. I first heard about it from an Italian friend during a long night of Totò films and beer some months ago, but when doing some googling after watching Camerini’s film during a train trip yesterday, I realized that I actually have a Norwegian translation myself, bought some years back when I spent most of my time going to book sales in Oslo and filling up my parents’ attic with everything I came across. Read More »