Napoli/New York/Hollywood investigates the work of Italian immigrant performers and the impact of the traditions of the Italian stage within the history of Hollywood cinema and of American media from 1895 to today. The book discusses the historical context and institutional film history, from the perspective of the performers–the workers, who lend their bodies and their performance culture to screen representations.
Using an interdisciplinary approach, the book associates Southern Italian culture with Modernity and the immigrants’ preservation of cultural traditions with innovations in the mode of production and in the use of media technologies (theatrical venues, music records, radio, ethnic films.) It deeply revises the relation between fascism and American cinema, and Italian emigration.
The book examines the careers of those Italian performers who were not only born in Italy or were of Italian descent, but came either from the immigrant or the Italian stage, in order to be able to credit their influence on a cultural level. This unknown story is reconstructed through primary sources and extensive film-viewing, in addition to a series of interviews with heirs to these traditions, such as Francis Coppola and his sister Talia Shire, John Turturro, Nancy Savoca, James Gandolfini, David Chase, Joe Dante, and Annabella Sciorra.