Darkening the Italian Screen

Interviews with Genre and Exploitation Directors Who Debuted in the 1950s and 1960s


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About the Book

The birth and rise of popular Italian cinema since the early 1950s can be attributed purely to necessity. The vast number of genres, sub-genres, currents and crossovers and the way they have overlapped, died out or replaced each other has been an attempt, in postwar years, to contain the invasion of U.S. product while satisfying the demands the American industry had created in Italy.
The author explores one of the most multi-faceted and contradictory industries cinema has ever known through the careers of those most closely associated with it. His recorded interviews were conducted with directors and actors both well-known and upcoming.

About the Author(s)

Eugenio Ercolani is a film scholar and documentarian. For the past decade he has alternated these activities with those of assistant director and screenwriter. He is responsible for dozens of extras and featurettes, for both American and European labels. He lives in Rome.

Bibliographic Details

Eugenio Ercolani

Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 334
Bibliographic Info: 73 photos, notes, index
Copyright Date: 2019
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6738-6
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3538-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface 1
1953  A Touch of Class: The Cinema of Giorgio Capitani 7
1958  Armed to the Teeth: The Cinema of Umberto Lenzi 21
Giovanni Lombardo Radice, a.k.a. John Morghen, on Cannibal Ferox 57
1959  Melancholy and Revolution: The Cinema of Giulio Petroni 65
1961  Jazzing from the Background: The Cinema of Alberto De Martino 89
1961  The Bitter and the Sweet: The Cinema of Romolo Guerrieri 109
1962  Lovable Slobs: The Cinema of Mario Caiano (Interview by Manlio Gomarasca) 126
1967  Call Me François: The Cinema of Franco Rossetti 135
1967  Destruction in Slow Motion: The Cinema of Enzo G. Castellari 155
From Uruguay with Love: Interview with George Hilton 176
1968  The Serious Caress of Frivolousness: The Cinema of Vittorio Sindoni 188
1968  Real Cannibals: The Cinema of Ruggero Deodato 199
Italy’s Whipping Boy: Interview with Giovanni Lombardo Radice 232
1969  Of Films and Horses: The Cinema of Marcello Avallone 245
1969  Strange Vices in Locked Rooms: The Cinema of Sergio Martino 261
Designing Mayhem: Interview with Massimo Antonello Geleng 285
The Origins of EX: Interview with Martine Brochard 292
Chapter Notes 297
Index 305

Book Reviews & Awards

• “This is what I love about this book, that it brings light to more than a few people that had connections to some of the films we love, but maybe didn’t know as much about them. There is a lot I learned from this book…. It really will give you a better insight to these unsung heroes of Italian genre.”—Kitley’s Krypt

• “Whilst film historian, Eugenio Ercolani’s impressive text on the directors of Italian genre cinema is titled Darkening the Italian Screen, if anything, his tome serves to illuminate the key figures of the industry who debuted and worked in its postwar heyday. An insightful and extensive treatment of its subject, Ercolani’s book is a much needed account of the prominent individuals who worked during this period, cataloguing their experiences and recollections and shedding light on the arduous production experiences they encountered and the central figures they worked with. In Darkening the Italian Screen, Ercolani makes the cinema he details come alive.”—Rachael Nisbit, Hypnotic Crescendos

• “detailed and informative study”—DVD Choice

• “Be sure to pick up a copy of Eugenio Ercolani’s Darkening the Italian Screen…splendid…a wonderful read”—Dark Side

• Anyone who has an interest in Italian cult cinema needs to purchase a copy of the new book Darkening the Italian Screen by Eugenio Ercolani. …this book is absolutely a must-buy”—Dread Central