Stardom, Italian Style

Stardom, Italian Style : Screen Performance and Personality in Italian Cinema

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Marcia Landy examines the history of Italian celebrity culture and ponders the changing qualities of stardom in the 20th and 21st centuries. She considers the historical conditions for the rise of stardom in the context of various media, from the silent era to contemporary media, tracking how stardom shapes national and international identities. The phenomenon of the diva in the early European cinema, the invention of new stars in the sound cinema, the postwar impact on stardom through the introduction of changing forms of narration in popular genres, and the contributions to the changing faces of stardom through the films and the personas of such auteurs as Rosselini, Visconti, Fellini, and Pasolini are examined in Stardom, Italian Style. Landy's genealogy of Italian star images identifies their connections to social history, landscape and geography, conceptions of femininity and masculinity, the physical and virtual body, regionalism, technology, and more

Product details

  • Paperback | 312 pages
  • 154 x 234 x 22mm | 498.95g
  • Indiana University Press
  • Bloomington, IN, United States
  • English
  • 35 b&w illus.
  • 0253220084
  • 9780253220080

Review quote

"Stardom, Italian Style is a worthy introduction for casual and undergraduate readers, andcontains valuable insights that Italian film specialists will enjoy." -Film & History "Marcia Landy has produced a wonderful and in many ways path-breaking examination of the history of Italian stardom from silent film to the present.... The book is rich in stimulating observations and thought-provoking propositions. As with other works by Professor Landy it is the fruit of an ideal blend of theoretical insights and historically grounded film analysis." -Ruth Ben-Ghiat, New York University Writing on the nexus of aesthetics and politics, Landy (Univ. of Pittsburgh) prefers the filmic text over extra-filmic elements. She describes how in the Italian silent cinema, the "diva" and "divo" bridged tradition and modernity; how, in 1930s sound films, the star fired popular culture fascination but was de-idealized; and how Mussolini used cinema to project his virile image. Then, writes the author, as neorealism reworked old genres it remade old stars and reconceived the male and female body. Anna Magnani typified the resurgence of stardom. In the popular genres in the 1950s, stars embodied the quest for national identity in the changing social milieu. In discussing the 1960s, Landy looks at the social concern of comedies and how international stars (e.g., Marcello Mastroianni, Sophia Loren, Vittorio Gassman, Alberto Sordi, Monica Vitti) showed commonsense surviving in a threatening climate. Landy also discusses television, co-productions, the spaghetti western, horror films, and the emerging stardom of the director (Federico Fellini, Lena Wertmuller, Roberto Benigni, Dario Argento). A postscript proffers Italian President Silvio Berlusconi as televisual star, a wishful reflection of power and affluence. This comprehensive study of Italian stardom is closely argued, clearly written, and rich in detail and insight. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty and professionals. -- ChoiceM. Yacowar, emeritus, University of Calgary, December 2008show more

About Marcia Landy

Marcia Landy is Distinguished Service Professor of English/Film Studies with a secondary appointment in the Department of French and Italian Languages and Literatures at the University of Pittsburgh. Her books include Monty Python's Flying Circus; Stars (edited with Lucy Fischer); The Historical Film; Italian Film; Queen Christina (with Amy Villarejo); and Fascism in Film: The Italian Commercial Cinema, more

Table of contents

ContentsAcknowledgmentsIntroduction1. Eloquent Bodies: The Cinema of Divismo2. The Stars Talk3. Stars amidst the Ruins: The Old and the New4. Popular Genres and Stars5. Starring Directors and Directing Stars: The Cinematic Landscape and Its Changing BodiesEpilogue: An End to Stardom?A PostscriptNotesBibliographyIndexshow more

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