Mafia Movies: A Reader

Overview

Rico 'Little Caesar' Bandello, Michael Corleone, and Tony Soprano are just some of the onscreen mafia figures that have fascinated audiences since cinema's inception. Portrayals of the Italian and Italian-American mafia, though, have differed markedly over time and across multiple cultures—from the Godfather trilogy to contemporary Italian films, and in works both by established producers like Martin Scorsese and emerging directors like Matteo Garrone.

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Mafia Movies: A Reader

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Overview

Rico 'Little Caesar' Bandello, Michael Corleone, and Tony Soprano are just some of the onscreen mafia figures that have fascinated audiences since cinema's inception. Portrayals of the Italian and Italian-American mafia, though, have differed markedly over time and across multiple cultures—from the Godfather trilogy to contemporary Italian films, and in works both by established producers like Martin Scorsese and emerging directors like Matteo Garrone.

Mafia Movies encourages mafia aficionados to explore the rich variety of classics and rarities within the genre with provocative analyses of over forty films. The essays in this volume provide a comprehensive exploration of the myth of the mafia onscreen, identifying key features and connections to styles such as film noir, thrillers, and even westerns. Mafia Movies also questions whether there are uniquely American or Italian ways of depicting the mafia, exploring how filmmakers from both countries have approached the subject in divergent ways.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
‘For the growing number of students and scholars dealing with mafia issues, the collection edited by Dana Renga is an excellent new resource…it demystifies clichés, it consolidates the genre status of the mafia film, and proves itself to be an unavoidable reference for future studies in this intriguing field.’
George S. Larke-Walsh
‘Thought-provoking essays from cultural standpoint… While this collection is specifically dedicated to Italian-American culture, the breadth of films does justice to the genre as a whole…A very welcome contribution to the topic of organized crime in cinema.’
Nicoletta Pireddu
‘For the growing number of students and scholars dealing with mafia issues, the collection edited by Dana Renga is an excellent new resource…it demystifies clichés, it consolidates the genre status of the mafia film, and proves itself to be an unavoidable reference for future studies in this intriguing field.’
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802096654
  • Publisher: University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division
  • Publication date: 4/16/2011
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Dana Renga is an assistant professor in the Department of French and Italian at The Ohio State University.

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Table of Contents

PART ONE: Setting the Scene


  1. Introduction: 'The Corleones at Home and Abroad'

  2. Gender and Violence: 'The Everyday World Of Mafia Wives: Four Themes'

PART TWO: American Mafia Movies: The Corleones at Home and Abroad


  1. Wallace McCutchen's The Black Hand: a Different Version of a Biograph Kidnapping

  2. "Most Thrilling Subjects": D.W. Griffith and the Biograph Revenge Films Ethnicity and the Classical Gangster

  3. Film: Mervyn LeRoy's Little Caesar and Howard Hawks' Scarface

  4. Playing Good Italian/Bad Italian in ABC's The Untouchables

  5. Prelude to The Godfather: Martin Ritt's The Brotherhood

  6. Micheal Corleone's Tie: Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather

  7. Nihilism and Mafiositá in Scorsese's Mean Streets

  8. Thematic Patterns in Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather: Part II

  9. The Sexual Politics of Loyalty in John Huston's Prizzi's Honor

  10. Between Postmodern Parody and Generic Hybridization: The Gangsters of Brian De Palma's The Untouchables

  11. The Bandit, the Gangster, and the American Army Shorts: Michael Cimino's The Sicilian

  12. Martin Scorsese's GoodFellas: Hybrid Storytelling between Realism and Formalism

  13. Redemption in Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather: Part III

  14. "Nothing Romantic about It": Gender and the Legacy of Crime in Abel Ferrara's The Funeral

  15. Inside the Mafia: Mike Newell's Donnie Brasco'

  16. 'Martin Scorsese's The Departed, Or the Quest for a (Departed) Ethnic Identity

  17. When Words Can Kill: David Chase's The Sopranos

  18. Don't Stop Believing, Don't Stop... (De)Structuring Expectations in the Final Season of The Sopranos

PART THREE: Italian Mafia Movies: Myth and Resistence


  1. Which Law is the Father's? Gender and Generic Oscillation in Pietro Germi's In the Name of the Law

  2. The Visible, Unexposed: Francesco Rosi's Salvatore Giuliano

  3. Modernity, Mafia Style: Alberto Lattuada's Il Mafioso

  4. Francesco Rosi's Hands Over the City: A Contemporary Perspective on the Camorra

  5. Prototypes of the Mafia: Luchino Visconti's The Leopard

  6. To Each His Own: The Failure of the Intellectual. From Book to Film; Leonardo Sciascia, Elio Petri

  7. Damiano Damiani's The Day of the Owl: A Western Flirtation

  8. Smaller and Larger Families: Lina Wertmuller's The Seduction of Mimi

  9. Deconstructing the Enigma: Logical Investigations in Francesco Rosi's Lucky Luciano

  10. Power as Such: The Idea of the Mafia in Franceso Rosi's Illustrious Corpses

  11. Marco Risi's Forever Mery: Desperate Lives Converge in Sicilia "non bedda"

  12. Threads of Political Violence in Italy's Spiderweb: Giorgio Ambrosoli's Murder in Michele Placido's A BourgeoisHero

  13. Sacrifice, Sacrament and the Body in Ricky Tognazzi's La Scorta

  14. Pasquale Scimeca's Placido Rizzotto: A Different View of Corleone

  15. Marco Tullio Giordana's The Hundred Steps: The Biopic as Political Cinema

  16. Roberta Torre's Angela: The Mafia and the "Woman's Film"

  17. Organized Crime and Unfulfilled Promises in Gabriele Salvatores' I'm Not Scared

  18. Growing Up Camorrista: Antonio and Andrea Frazzi's Certi bambini

  19. Lipstick and Chocolate: Paolo Sorrentino's The Consequences of Love

  20. The In(di)visibility of the Mafia, Politics, and Ethics in The Mafia is White by Stefano Maria Bianchi and Alberto Nerazzini

  21. Marco Turco's Excellent Cadavers: An Italian Tragedy

  22. Dispatches from Hell: Matteo Garrone's Gomorrah


Filmography

History and Criticism

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