Italian Cinema under Fascism

Max Ophüls – La signora di tutti AKA Everybody’s Woman (1934)


Plot & review:
From a novel by Salvator Gotta, scripted by the director with Curt Alexander and Hans Wilhelm.
Under anesthesia, after a suicide attempt, Gaby Doriot, movie star, relives her life and her unlucky loves, sprinkled with violent deaths. The end of the commemoration coincides with that of the surgery.
The first and only Italian film by M. Ophüls, in exile from Nazi Germany and called to Rome by Angelo Rizzoli.
Despite the exaggerated romanticism and the vehement acting “Italian style”, it is a cooled melodrama (with veins of Pirandello) that anticipates the themes of later Ophüls’ films, especially Lola Montès (1955).
M. Benassi heatedly over the top, and a memorable I. Miranda, poised between Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich.
Awarded at the Venice Film Festival.
Morandini Read More »

Mario Soldati – Tragica notte aka Tragic night (1942)


Released from jail, Nanni (Checchi) punches prison guard Stefano (Ninchi) who has
denounced him. In order to take revenge, Stefano suggests the suspicion that, during his
absence, his wife has had business with the Count Paolo (Rimoldi). A few days later, at
night, a deadly ambush will be prepared. Read More »

James Hay – Popular Film Culture in Fascist Italy – The Passing of the Rex (1987)

This is the first comprehensive examination in English of Italian cinema during the Fascist era. James Hay discusses the films of the 1920s and 1930s in terms of the popular culture and cultural policy of the times. The hundreds of films produced during this period have generally been discredited as propagandistic or as “white telephones” by both film and social historians. Hay, however, argues that this interpretation is much too simplistic. He demonstrates that this popular film culture was the result of a growing public “literacy” of film and of the interaction of cultural, social, and political transformations. This study uses popular cinematic narratives and images to discuss how Italians began to see themselves as a nation and as a cultura popolare.
Popular Film Culture in Fascist Italy is profusely illustrated with photos from films such as Grandi magasini and Squadrone bianco as well as popular classics such as Amarcord Read More »

Michelangelo Antonioni – Gente del Po AKA People of the Po Valley (1947)

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“Paste Magazine” wrote:
by Sean Gandert

“Gente del Po” is very much a neo-realist work of its period, even though it’s completely a documentary rather than just having the trappings of reality. The film follows a family of fishers through their day-to-day life, inflecting a semblance of narrative onto things at the end by explaining a journey into town as a trip for medicine, but for the most part, the film is simply descriptive. Of course, Antonioni has never been particularly known for his narratives, which usually consist of little more than pretty young people angsting around, but here the difference is that the family doesn’t even approach characterization, described only as “a man, a woman, and a girl.” Read More »

Mario Camerini – Gli Uomini, che mascalzoni! AKA What Scoundrels Men Are! (1932)


(imdb user review)

“Author: janus-12 from vicenza, italy

In this movie we can find the best of italian movie-makers of 30’s (the age of “telefoni bianchi”, the “white phones”, in relation to comedies in which Wh.-Ph. were often used): Camerini as director, Vittorio De Sica, who worked as actor but years after will be one of the most relevant directors in the world, Bixio & Cherubini who wrote one classic song of italian music “Parlami d’amore Mariù” (“Mary, speak about love to me”). The plot is easy, the scenario is in an old Milan, but… seeing this movie means going back in years in which… love was the most important thing. ” Read More »

Roberto Rossellini – Fantasia Sottomarina aka Undersea Fantasy (1940)


Funny cinematic exercise made by Rossellini before his first feature. Something between a Discovery Channel animal documentary and a fable under the sea.
Worth seeing for its historical status. Read More »

Roberto Rossellini – Un Pilota ritorna aka A Pilot Returns (1942)


IMDB plot:
“A young Italian pilot is interned in a British prison camp after his plane is shot down during the war against Greece. He falls in love with a doctor’s daughter and manages to escape during a bombardment. He reaches home, wounded, just as news arrives of the Greek surrender.”

The film is based on a story by Vittorio Mussolini (credited with the anagram Tito Silvio Mursino). Read More »