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Fascism in Film: The Italian Commercial Cinema, 1931-1943

Fascism in Film: The Italian Commercial Cinema, 1931-1943

Copyright Date: 1986
Pages: 410
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  • Book Info
    Fascism in Film: The Italian Commercial Cinema, 1931-1943
    Book Description:

    Through her study of the narrative themes and strategies of Italian commercial sound films of the fascist era, Marcia Landy shows that cultural life under fascism was not monopolized by official propaganda.

    Originally published in 1986.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-5472-1
    Subjects: Film Studies

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-2)
  5. INTRODUCTION. Remembrance of Things Past
    (pp. 3-30)

    Most film critics and filmgoers have formed an impression of the Italian commercial cinema from such silent films asQuo Vadisand from postwar neorealist films. A long period in the production of Italian feature films from the beginnings of sound to the end of World War II has not had any impact on our understanding of Italian cinema. I am well aware in writing about the films produced in Italy from 1931 to 1942 that most of my readers will have seen few, if any, of these films and may be inclined to dismiss them as propaganda. My book...

  6. Generation and Gender

    • CHAPTER ONE The Children Are Watching Us
      (pp. 33-71)

      Representations of young people are integral to the Italian cinema, spanning the prewar and postwar eras. Though the emphasis on youth can be linked to fascist ideology, it can also profitably be connected to the cinema of genres, which favors youth in its choice of “stars” and narratives that abolish time and history. In this sense, fascist ideology is erased even where the films appear to be most aligned with the ideals of the movement and the regime. As we shall see in this chapter, stories about young people in film are indeed related to fascist ideology, but they also...

    • CHAPTER TWO Women, Penitents, and Performers
      (pp. 72-117)

      On Christmas Day 1933, in Palazzo Venezia, Mussolini celebrated the First “Mother and Child Day.” Laura Fermi describes how he publicly honored ninety-three women, one from each province in Italy, for their reproductive fecundity. Only later did he acknowledge “the part fathers played in the production of children and honored not the most prolific mothers but the most prolific couples.”¹ At another ceremony in Pontina, the Ceremony of the Wedding Rings, women, among whom was Queen Elena, threw their rings into a burning crucible to symbolize their support for and identification with the regime’s objectives. Such festivities were cultivated by...

    • CHAPTER THREE A Man for All Seasons
      (pp. 118-172)

      Although much has been written in recent years about women and the cinema, there has been less analysis of the representation of men. Similarly, the position of women in the Italian cinema has received more attention than the position of men. Studies of women’s representation trace the ways the female subject is inscribed in the text and also the way that very inscription provides a basis for deconstructing the position of the female. Male representation invites a comparable analysis of its genealogy, its various expressions, and its effects. The representation of men, no less than that of women, provides an...

      (pp. None)
  7. Genres

    • CHAPTER FOUR The Forms of History
      (pp. 175-229)

      Under fascism the role of the past and tradition was fundamental, not only for the fascist party and the regime, but for Italian educational and cultural institutions as well. Yet, as George Mosse queries: “Was the fascist man then tied to the past or was he the creator of new values?”¹ The answer to the question is, however, neither simple nor unambiguous. Mosse asserts that

      the new fascist man in Italy ignored history no more than his Nazi counterpart…. this past remained, at least until the final years of the regime, a jumping-off point for the ideal fascist man of...

    • CHAPTER FIVE The Comic Vision of Work and Play
      (pp. 230-275)

      In 1977, Stuart Byron and Elisabeth Weis made the following assumption about the Italian comedies during the years of fascism: “Under fascism … it’s well known that the film industry went through a ‘white telephone era’ and apparently the comedies, like the other movies, were about the class of people who could afford white telephones. The neorealist movement, which stunned the world when it appeared after the fall of Mussolini, concerned itself with the kinds of people, urban and rural, who had black telephones, or, more likely, none at all.”¹ An examination of the comedies produced during the era, along...

    • CHAPTER SIX The Family Melodrama
      (pp. 276-330)

      In discussing the new industrialism, Antonio Gramsci asserted that “the new industrialism wants monogamy: it wants man as worker not to squander his nervous energies in the disorderly and stimulating pursuit of occasional sexual satisfaction.”¹ Most of the films of the thirties, whether set in the domestic or public spheres, emphasize a puritanical ethos in greater or lesser degrees. The family appears as the source of continuity, nurturance, social stability, and, as we have seen in the films of Camerini, a haven from the conflicts in the world of work. In this context, the woman serves as a procreator, nurturer,...

    (pp. 331-338)
  9. INDEX
    (pp. 339-349)
  10. Back Matter
    (pp. 350-350)