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Classic Hollywood films & Italian Art Cinema

Classical Hollywood films, from the 1930s to the early 1960s, were products of a studio system devoted to making films that would be popular successes. Entertainment and profits were the guiding principles. Although each big studio had its own style, basically the same movies were made over and over again. Studio heads discovered early on that the familiar faces of popular stars would bring in audiences and profits, and the star system reigned in Hollywood in contrast to Italian art films in which the auteurÆs voice reigned. Although both Hollywood movies and Italian art cinema are forms of narrative cinema, there are vast differences between the two. In Hollywood films individual expression was sacrificed to the box office whereas Italian art cinema was motivated by authorial expressivity and realism. The films of Michael Curtiz, director of ôCasablanca,ö for example, offer no evident signature compared with the films of Vittorio De Sica. This research paper will compare and contrast Italian art cinema with classic Hollywood films, focusing on the elements that make up the style and content of each type of cinema. Examples will be given from the Italian films ôThe Bicycle Thiefö (1948), ôFistful of Dollarsö (1964), ôLast Tango in Parisö (1972) and the popular American 1942 classic ôCasablanca.ö

Davis Bordwell notes that the motivations of classic Hollywood and Italian art films were vastly different. The Italian films were shot in real locations, and had psychologically complex characters with real problems. The director rather than the star provided context. A key element of Italian art films was ambiguity, whereas in conventional Hollywood films everything is neatly tied up by the end. Classic Hollywood films presented a make-believe world and ôCasablanca,ö for example, while set in Morocco and Paris, was shot on the studio lot with the exception of the airport sequence, in contrast to ôThe Bicycle Thiefö which...

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Classic Hollywood films & Italian Art Cinema. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 09:34, November 29, 2021, from