Riccardo Freda

The Life and Works of a Born Filmmaker


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About the Book

In an eclectic career spanning four decades, Italian director Riccardo Freda (1909–1999) produced films of remarkable technical skill and powerful visual style, including the swashbuckler Black Eagle (1946), an adaptation of Les Miserables (1947), the peplum Theodora, Slave Empress (1954) and a number of cult-favorite Gothic and horror films such as I Vampiri (1957), The Horrible Dr. Hichcock (1962) and The Ghost (1963). Freda was first championed in the 1960s by French critics who labeled him “the European Raoul Walsh,” and enjoyed growing critical esteem over the years. This book covers his life and career for the first time in English, with detailed analyses of his films and exclusive interviews with his collaborators and family.

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: 376
Bibliographic Info: 40 photos, notes, filmography, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2017
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6970-0
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2838-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi
Introduction 1
1. A Portrait of the Filmmaker as a Young Man 13
2. Learning the Craft 20
3. Filming During Wartime 31
4. Adventure, ­Italian-style 45
5. Brazil … and Back 65
6. Under the Sign of Melodrama 84
7. Historia Magistra Vitae 99
8. Diving into Genres 126
9. Exploring the Myth 147
10. Intermezzo—A Director for Hire 168
11. The Gothic Years 177
12. In Exile 206
13. A Sort of Homecoming 230
14. The Twilight Years 259
Epilogue 279
Filmography 289
Chapter Notes 331
Essential Bibliography 351
Index 353

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “A most welcome critical biography of the Egyptian-born filmmaker…. The joy of Curti’s text is that he has sought out and screened as much of Freda’s work as can presently be found…you must have this book”—Video Watchdog
  • “Incredibly well researched…a book like this on Freda is a rare treat. Well written and just overflowing with stories of the Italian film industry after the war”—Little Shoppe of Horrors
  • “Writer Roberto Curti of Cortona Italy has done a remarkable job tracking down an amazing amount of information on Freda’s life and career…this is a must have for lovers of film”—Scarlet: The Film Magazine