With Fire and Sword: Italian Spectacles on American Screens, 1958-1968

With Fire and Sword: Italian Spectacles on American Screens, 1958-1968

by Patrick Lucanio
Pub. Date:
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.


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With Fire and Sword: Italian Spectacles on American Screens, 1958-1968

With Fire and Sword is a comprehensive study of the English-dubbed Italian spectacles produced in the 1960s which are often described as "beefcake" and "sword'n'sandal" epics. Termed respectably peplum by the many French critics who thought highly of the genre, such films as Hercules and Goliath and the Barbarians held a fascination for American movie and television audiences at a time of social and political turmoil. Using myth criticism to extract value in the films, the book first presents a descriptive study of the genre by defining its characteristics before analyzing its motifs, iconography, and narrative patterns; as a result, the book concludes that the films exerted a fairy tale appeal to their audiences which effectively reduced the vicissitudes of political confusion to manageable yet nonetheless sophisticated terms. The book then presents a comprehensive filmography of over 300 films with most titles annotated with synopses, casts, credits, production notes, critical responses, and historical associations. Complementing the text are numerous stills, advertising art, and frame enlargements from significant works. The book also contains appendices on early films, on related English-language films, and on related foreign films produced in countries other than Italy. Also included are a comprehensive bibliography and index.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780810828162
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date: 12/01/1994
Pages: 540
Product dimensions: 5.68(w) x 8.76(h) x 1.23(d)

About the Author

Patrick Lucanio (Ph.D., M.S., University of Oregon; M.A.T., B.S., Western Oregon State College) is a lecturer in Humanities at Western Oregon State College in Monmouth. A myth and Jungian critic with interests in film and American literature, Luciano has written numerous articles on film and television history and genre studies. He is the author of Them or Us: Archetypal Interpretations of Fifties Alien Invasion Films, the first book-length treatise of the 1950s monster movies. He is currently co-authoring a book on the contributions of Jack Webb to radio, television, and film.

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