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Emilio Ghione and the Mask of Za La Mort

NORTH, JOSEPH,ALBERT (2011) Emilio Ghione and the Mask of Za La Mort. Masters thesis, Durham University.

PDF (Emilio Ghione and the Mask of Za La Mort by Joseph North (1)) - Accepted Version


This study aims to examine the cultural impact of Emilio Ghione's Za La Mort films (1914-1924) on Italian culture. These films constitute a significant Italian combination of several early cinema genres and sub-genres, such as the apache film, the traces of which have almost entirely disappeared. More broadly, the changing interpretations of Za La Mort figure allow us to understand wider shifts in Italian and European popular culture.

The first chapter of the study considers the wealth of influences from European popular culture that Emilio Ghione merged into the apache films, such as the apache sub-culture in Paris. The second chapter of the study then reconstructs the Za La Mort filmography, most of which has now been lost, from film viewings and archival documents. The third chapter considers Emilio Ghione's Za La Mort novels and theatrical productions in the years 1922-1930, and Ghione's attempts to make Za La Mort a more Fascist and nationalistic figure. The fourth chapter considers the enduring figure of Za La Mort in Italian popular culture, especially in Raffaele Matarazzo's Fumeria D'Oppio and a 1940's fumetti series. The fifth chapter considers the audience reception of the Za La Mort films from the limited remaining evidence and, positioning the series between the Cinema of Attractions of the 1900s and the Classical Cinema of the mid-1920's, analyses how the Za La Mort films were constructed to please a predominantly working class audience that valued spectacular thrills and great acting performances over narrative consistency and stable characterisation.

This research re-establishes the importance of one of Italian cinema's most important film-makers of the silent period, and his enduring importance as a popular cultural figure in Italy.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Keywords:Emilio Ghione, Za La Mort, Italian silent cinema, Italian silent film, cinema muto italiano, Kally Sambucini, apache, Matarazzo, serial film, diva Film, Francesca Bertini, I Topi Grigi, Fern Andra, Tiber Film, Itala Film,
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Modern Languages and Cultures, School of
Thesis Date:2011
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:21 Mar 2012 10:04

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