This cinema history illuminates the role of southern Italian performance traditions on American movies from the silent era to contemporary film.
In Napoli/New York/Hollywood, Italian cinema historian Giuliana Muscio investigates the significant influence of Italian immigrant actors, musicians, and directors on Hollywood cinema. Using a provocative interdisciplinary approach, Muscio demonstrates how these artists and workers preserved their cultural and performance traditions, which led to innovations in the mode of production and in the use of media technologies. In doing so, she sheds light on the work of generations of artists, as well as the cultural evolution of “Italian-ness” in America over the past century.
Muscio examines the careers of Italian performers steeped in an Italian theatrical culture that embraced high and low, tragedy and comedy, music, dance, acrobatics, naturalism, and improvisation. Their previously unexplored story—that of the Italian diaspora’s influence on American cinema—is here meticulously reconstructed through rich primary sources, deep archival research, extensive film analysis, and an enlightening series of interviews with heirs to these traditions, including Francis Coppola and his sister Talia Shire, John Turturro, Nancy Savoca, James Gandolfini, David Chase, Joe Dante, and Annabella Sciorra.