Finalist, 2010 Lora Romero Book Prize (American Studies Association)Finalist, 2010 Modernist Studies Association Book PrizeWinner, 2010 American Association of Italian Studies Book AwardWinner, 2010 Canadian Association for American Studies Robert K. Martin Book Prize
Giorgio Bertellini traces the origins of American cinema's century-long fascination with Italy and Italian immigrants to the popularity of the pre-photographic aesthetic—the picturesque. Once associated with landscape painting in northern Europe, the picturesque came to symbolize Mediterranean Europe through comforting views of distant landscapes and exotic characters. Taking its cue from a picturesque stage backdrop from The Godfather Part II, Italy in Early American Cinema shows how this aesthetic was transferred from 19th-century American painters to early 20th-century American filmmakers. Italy in Early American Cinema offers readings of early films that pay close attention to how landscape representations that were related to narrative settings and filmmaking locations conveyed distinct ideas about racial difference and national destiny.