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New Italian Migrations to the United StatesVol. 2: Art and Culture since 1945$
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Laura E. Ruberto and Joseph Sciorra

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780252041396

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252041396.001.0001

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“Hot-Blooded Eye-talian” Women

“Hot-Blooded Eye-talian” Women

The Lascivious and Desperate Post–World War II Italian Immigrant in U.S. Cinema

(p.65) 2 “Hot-Blooded Eye-talian” Women
New Italian Migrations to the United States

Laura E. Ruberto

University of Illinois Press

This chapter explores U.S.-produced films from the first decades after World War II through two competing themes—World War II and Italian style—which together influenced how new Italian immigrant women were shaped on screen. The chapter argues that Italian American women had been previously gendered in cinematic representations, but that the gendering had occurred around issues of domesticity, religion, labor, and family rather than lasciviousness and exotica. However, these postwar films turned Italian actors such as Anna Magnani, Sophia Loren, and Pier Angeli into hyper-sexualized immigrant characters: provocatively out-of-place war brides, nannies, and prostitutes each sexually willing and exoticized through visual and narrative emphases on their bodies, physical abandon, and illicit behavior.

Keywords:   war brides, post-World War II, film, exoticized, Anna Magnani, Sophia Loren, Pier Angeli, hyper-sexualized, Italian immigrant women, Italian style

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