Elio Petri

Investigation of a Filmmaker


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About the Book

Elio Petri (1929-1982) was one of the most commercially successful and critically revered Italian directors ever. A cultured intellectual and a politically committed filmmaker, Petri made award-winning movies that touched controversial social, religious, and political themes, such as the Mafia in We Still Kill the Old Way (1967), police brutality in Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion (1970), and workers’ struggles in Lulu the Tool (1971). His work also explored genre in a thought-provoking and refreshing manner with a taste for irony and the grotesque: among his best works are the science fiction satire The 10th Victim (1965), the ghost story A Quiet Place in the Country (1968), and the grotesque giallo Todo modo (1976). This book examines Elio Petri’s life and career, and places his work within the social and political context of postwar Italian culture, politics, and cinema. It includes a detailed production history and critical analysis of each of his films, plenty of never-before-seen bits of information recovered from the Italian ministerial archives, and an in-depth discussion of the director’s unfilmed projects.

About the Author(s)

Roberto Curti is an Italian film historian and the author of numerous published books and articles. He lives in Cortona, Italy.

Bibliographic Details

Roberto Curti
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 353
Bibliographic Info: 44 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2021
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8034-7
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4283-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
One—Open City, Open Mind: The Early Years 7
Two—The Burden of Guilt: L’assassino (1961) 25
Three—Numbered Days: I giorni contati (1962) and Nudi per vivere (1964) 39
Four—To Have and Have Not: Il maestro di Vigevano (1963) and Peccato nel pomeriggio (1964) 59
Five—POP! La decima vittima (1965) 77
Six—Death of an Intellectual: A ciascuno il suo (1967) 102
Seven—A Portrait of the Artist as a Schizoid Man: Un tranquillo posto di campagna (1968) 121
Eight—Repression Is Civilization: Indagine su un cittadino al di sopra di ogni sospetto (1970) and Ipotesi sulla morte di G. Pinelli (1970) 137
Nine—Working Class ­Anti-Hero: La classe operaia va in paradiso (1971) 168
Ten—The Thief, the Actor, the Butcher and His Lover: La proprietà non è più un furto (1973) 194
Eleven—Maudit: Todo modo (1976) 220
Twelve—“Unsalvageable!”: Le mani sporche (1978) 252
Thirteen—Before Dying: Buone notizie (1979) 268
Fourteen—The Long Night 286
Filmography 309
Chapter Notes 315
Bibliography 333
Index 335