Mafia Movies: A Reader

Mafia Movies: A Reader

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Edited by Dana Renga
Toronto Italian Studies
University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division © 2011
World Rights
368 Pages
ISBN 9780802096654
Published Apr 2011
Online discount: 15%
 $40.95    $34.81
ebook (EPUB format)
ISBN 9781442661745
Published Apr 2011
Online discount: 24%
Full purchase $40.95
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.
Dana Renga is an assistant professor in the Department of French and Italian at the Ohio State University, and editor of Mafia Movies: A Reader.

PART ONE: Setting the Scene

  1. Introduction: 'The Corleones at Home and Abroad' by Dana Renga (Ohio State University)
  2. Gender and Violence: 'The Everyday World Of Mafia Wives: Four Themes' by Peter Schneider (Fordham University) and Jane Schneider (City University of New York)

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 by Vincenzo Maggitti (Stockholm University)
  2. "Most Thrilling Subjects": D.W. Griffith and the Biograph Revenge Films by JoAnne Ruvoli
  3. Ethnicity and the Classical Gangster by Norma Bouchard (University of Connecticut)
  4. Playing Good Italian/Bad Italian in ABC's The Untouchables by Jonathan Cavallero (University of Arkansas)
  5. Prelude to The Godfather: Martin Ritt's The Brotherhood by Robert Casillo (University of Miami)
  6. Micheal Corleone's Tie: Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather by Anthony Tamburri (Florida Atlantic University)
  7. Nihilism and Mafiositá in Scorsese's Mean Streets by Pellegrino D'Acierno (Hofstra University)
  8. Thematic Patterns in Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather: Part II by John Paul Russo (University of Miami)
  9. The Sexual Politics of Loyalty in John Huston's Prizzi's Honor by Rebecca Bauman
  10. Between Postmodern Parody and Generic Hybridization: The Gangsters of Brian De Palma's The Untouchables by Norma Bouchard (University of Connecticut)
  11. The Bandit, the Gangster, and the American Army Shorts: Michael Cimino's The Sicilian by Chiara Mazzucchelli (University of Central Florida)
  12. Martin Scorsese's GoodFellas: Hybrid Storytelling between Realism and Formalism by Fulvio Orsitto (California State University)
  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 by Lara Santoro
  15. Inside the Mafia: Mike Newell's Donnie Brasco' by Robert Casillo (University of Miami)
  16. 'Martin Scorsese's The Departed, Or the Quest for a (Departed) Ethnic Identity by Margherita Heyer-Caput (UC Davis)
  17. When Words Can Kill: David Chase's The Sopranos by Franco Ricci (University of Ottawa)
  18. Don't Stop Believing, Don't Stop... (De)Structuring Expectations in the Final Season of The Sopranos by Giancarlo Lombardi (College of Staten Island)

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 by Danielle Hipkins (University of Exeter)
  2. The Visible, Unexposed: Francesco Rosi's Salvatore Giuliano by Laura Wittman (Stanford University)
  3. Modernity, Mafia Style: Alberto Lattuada's Il Mafioso by Nelson Moe (Barnard College)
  4. Francesco Rosi's Hands Over the City: A Contemporary Perspective on the Camorra by Anna Paparcone (Bucknell)
  5. Prototypes of the Mafia: Luchino Visconti's The Leopard by Elizabeth Leake (Rugers)
  6. To Each His Own: The Failure of the Intellectual. From Book to Film; Leonardo Sciascia, Elio Petri by Daniela Bini (University of Texas at Austin)
  7. Damiano Damiani's The Day of the Owl: A Western Flirtation by Piero Garofalo (University of New Hampshire)
  8. Smaller and Larger Families: Lina Wertmuller's The Seduction of Mimi by Thomas Harrison (UCLA)
  9. Deconstructing the Enigma: Logical Investigations in Francesco Rosi's Lucky Luciano by Gaetana Marrone (Princeton)
  10. Power as Such: The Idea of the Mafia in Franceso Rosi's Illustrious Corpses by Alan O'Leary (University of Leeds)
  11. Marco Risi's Forever Mery: Desperate Lives Converge in Sicilia "non bedda" by George De Stefano
  12. Threads of Political Violence in Italy's Spiderweb: Giorgio Ambrosoli's Murder in Michele Placido's A BourgeoisHero by Carlo Testa (University of British Columbia)
  13. Sacrifice, Sacrament and the Body in Ricky Tognazzi's La Scorta by Myriam Ruthenburg (Florida Atlantic University)
  14. Pasquale Scimeca's Placido Rizzotto: A Different View of Corleone by Amy Boylan (University of New Hampshire)
  15. Marco Tullio Giordana's The Hundred Steps: The Biopic as Political Cinema by George De Stefano
  16. Roberta Torre's Angela: The Mafia and the "Woman's Film" by Catherine O'Rawe (Bristol University)
  17. Organized Crime and Unfulfilled Promises in Gabriele Salvatores' I'm Not Scared by Michael O'Riley (Colorado College)
  18. Growing Up Camorrista: Antonio and Andrea Frazzi's Certi bambini by Allison Cooper
  19. Lipstick and Chocolate: Paolo Sorrentino's The Consequences of Love by Mary Wood (Birkbeck University of London)
  20. The In(di)visibility of the Mafia, Politics, and Ethics in The Mafia is White by Stefano Maria Bianchi and Alberto Nerazzini by Robin Pickering-Iazzi (University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee)
  21. Marco Turco's Excellent Cadavers: An Italian Tragedy by Maddalena Spazzini (Royal Holloway University of London)
  22. Dispatches from Hell: Matteo Garrone's Gomorrah by Pierpaolo Antonello (University of Cambridge)
History and Criticism

'Mafia Movies is an outstanding guide to a genre that has not yet received full critical attention. The range of works discussed in these essays is excellent, covering early American movies through to very recent Italian films. With a splendid introduction by Dana Renga, this immensely rich and informative collection will surely become an indispensable resource.'

Stephen Gundle, Department of Film and Television Studies, University of Warwick

‘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.’

Nicoletta Pireddu, Quaderni d’Italianistica; vol 32:02:2011

‘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.’

George S. Larke-Walsh, Italian American Review, vol 4:01:2014