Comedy in British and Italian film from 1949 to 1975
University of Cambridge
Department of Italian, Faculty of Modern & Medieval Languages
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
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Cantarini, G. (2014). Comedy in British and Italian film from 1949 to 1975 (Doctoral thesis). https://doi.org/10.17863/CAM.11760
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This thesis uses six Italian and British film comedies released between 1949 and 1975 - drawn from the canon of commedia all'italiana, 'Ealing comedies' and Monty Python films - as case studies for a comparison of comic modes in Italian and British cinema. By placing the films within the historical and social contexts in which they were produced, it explores the ways in which different comic modes (parody, grotesque, satire) are interplayed with the use of national stereotypes in order to address issues of social criticism. The first chapter analyses comparatively The Ladykillers (A. Mackendrick, 1955) and I soliti ignoti (M. Monicelli, 1958) in terms of elements of parody of gangster films, representation of women, and comic characters, with particular reference to the intertextual features employed in the films. The second chapter examines the elements of satire of Sicilian and Victorian values in Kind Hearts and Coronets (R. Hamer, 1949) and Divorzio all'italiana (P. Germi, 1961), with particular focus on issues of class and honour, and evaluates their effectiveness in terms of discursive positions, taking into account both the formal devices for the audience's identification with the main characters, and the employment of black humour. The third chapter analyses the comic and narrative devices through which Monty Python and the Holy Grail (T. Jones and T. Gilliam, 1975) and L 'armata Brancaleone (M. Monicelli, 1966) diverge from previous cinematic depictions of the Middle Ages and demystify the rhetoric of their heroic representation. It explores in particular the use of grotesque realism and carnivalesque humour as a means criticise archaic patriarchal societies and heroic values.
This record's DOI: https://doi.org/10.17863/CAM.11760