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Fame Amid the Ruins: Italian Film Stardom in the Age of Neorealism

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Fame Amid the Ruins

Italian Film Stardom in the Age of Neorealism

Stephen Gundle

384 pages, 30 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78920-001-0 $149.00/£110.00 Hb Published (November 2019)

eISBN 978-1-78920-002-7 eBook

Hb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Buy the eBook! $34.95 Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


Fame amid the Ruins is a comprehensive study with an impressive scope and great relevance for questions of history, politics, and intellectual life in postwar Italy. In clear and direct prose, it encompasses a variety of important topics and approaches, including individual biographies, stars’ roles within the wider industry, performance, and film style.” • Louis Bayman, University of Southampton

“Stephen Gundle admirably devotes close and sustained attention to the stardom phenomenon by providing profiles of stars rarely examined and, most importantly, by looking at the sum of their impact on Italian culture. This is a tour de force for its range and argumentative depth.” • Giorgio Bertellini, author of The Divo and The Duce: Promoting Film Stardom and Political Leadership in 1920s America


Italian cinema gave rise to a number of the best-known films of the postwar years, from Rome Open City to Bicycle Thieves. Although some neorealist film-makers would have preferred to abolish stars altogether, the public adored them and producers needed their help in relaunching the national film industry. This book explores the many conflicts that arose in Italy between 1945 and 1953 over stars and stardom, offering intimate studies of the careers of both well-known and less familiar figures, shedding new light on the close relationship forged between cinema and society during a time of political transition and shifting national identities.

Stephen Gundle is Professor of Film and Television Studies at the University of Warwick. He is the author of several books and many articles about modern and contemporary Italy. His most recent volumes are Death and the Dolce Vita: The Dark Side of Rome in the 1950s (Canongate, 2011) and Mussolini’s Dream Factory: Film Stardom in Fascist Italy (Berghahn, 2013).

Subject: Film Studies Postwar History
Area: Southern Europe


List of Illustrations



Chapter 1. Postwar Cinema and the Challenges of Democracy
Chapter 2. The Film Industry from Fascism to the Cold War
Chapter 3. The Transformation of the Star System
Chapter 4. The Public, Film-Going and the Stars


Chapter 5. Massimo Girotti: Proletarian Apollo
Chapter 6. Clara Calamai: The Suspension of Glamour
Chapter 7. Aldo Fabrizi: Nostalgia and Popular Culture
Chapter 8. Anna Magnani: Authenticity and the Star Persona
Chapter 9. Andrea Checchi: Shadows of Defeat


Chapter 10. Totò: Jester of the Republic
Chapter 11. Silvana Mangano: Beauty and Stardom
Chapter 12. Amedeo Nazzari: The Hero Domesticated
Chapter 13. Silvana Pampanini:  Dream Girl of the Masses
Chapter 14. Raf Vallone: The Physiognomy of Fame


Chapter 17. The Non-Professional Actor and Low Definition Stardom
Chapter 18. Co-productions and the International Stardom



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