Dolce Vita Confidential: Fellini, Loren, Pucci, Paparazzi and the Swinging High Life of 1950s Rome (Hardback)Shawn Levy (author)
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The Sunday Times Stage & Screen Book of the Year
'A beautifully written walk on the wild side ... It oozes nostalgic glamour' The Times
'Uproariously readable ... Levy is a master of the group biography' Sunday Times
From the ashes of the Second World War, Rome in the 1950s was reborn as the epicentre of film, fashion, tabloid media and bold-faced libertinism that made 'Italian' a global synonym for style and flair.
A confluence of cultural contributions created a bright, burning moment in history: it was the heyday of fashion icons such as Pucci, whose superb craftsmanship set the standard for women's clothing for decades. Rome's huge movie studio, Cinecitta, also known as 'Hollywood on the Tiber', attracted a dizzying array of stars from Charlton Heston, Audrey Hepburn, Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner and Frank Sinatra to that stunning and combustible couple, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, who began their extramarital affair during the making of Cleopatra. And behind these stars trailed street photographers - Tazio Secchiaroli, Pierluigi Praturlon and Marcello Geppetti - who searched, waited and pounced on their subjects in pursuit of the most unflattering and dramatic portraits of fame.
Fashionistas, exiles, moguls and martyrs flocked to Rome hoping for a chance to indulge in the glow of old money, new stars, fast cars, wanton libidos and brazen news photographers. The scene was captured nowhere better than in Federico Fellini's masterpiece, starring Marcello Mastroianni and the Swedish bombshell Anita Ekberg. La Dolce Vita was condemned for its licentiousness, when in fact Fellini was satirizing the decadence of Rome's bohemian scene.
Colourful and richly informed, Dolce Vita Confidential recreates Rome's stunning ascent with vivid and compelling tales of its glitterati and artists, down to every last outrageous detail of the city's magnificent transformation.
Publisher: Orion Publishing Co
Number of pages: 480
Weight: 800 g
Dimensions: 238 x 166 x 40 mm
Shawn Levy's fascinating book takes you on a postwar tour of Rome at the birth of celebrity during the boomtime of Cinecitta, the studio responsible for the city's glory days reputation as 'Hollywood on the Tiber' ... Levy has achieved a feat in including so much in one volume - he pours a large bottle of chianti into a digestivo glass ... [A] beautifully written walk on the wild side ... [It] oozes nostalgic glamour -- Alex O'Connell * The Times Book of the Week *
Something extraordinary in cultural terms happened in Italy in the postwar years, as Levy recounts with enthusiasm and colour ... [He] captures much of the excitement of that time and place in a prose style that is teeming with satisfying gossipy details ... This book would be just the thing to pack if you were intending a Hepburn-ish Roman holiday this summer -- Bee Wilson * Guardian *
Uproariously readable ... [Levy] tells some terrific, if dreadful, stories about the convergence of noblemen and actresses ... Fans of La Dolce Vita will recognise many scenes from the film in these tales. Levy pulls all the threads of his story together in his discussion of the world-conquering movie. The author of Rat Pack Confidential, he is a master of the group biography, pacing his chapters for maximum suspense and revelation ... The climactic story is a humdinger ... Wickedly readable -- John Walsh * Sunday Times *
Shawn Levy's absorbing, well-researched book exalts the intoxicating, beguiling dreaminess of Rome in its celluloid heyday -- Ian Thomson * Times Literary Supplement *
Shawn Levy has composed an exuberant portrait of postwar Rome and the filmmakers, movie stars, fashion designers, journalists and paparazzi whose supreme hunger, energy and creativity transformed it into the most stylish city in the world. He brings an infectious and freewheeling enthusiasm to every page as he reintroduces us to the extravagant romanticism of fast cars, reckless hedonism, and beautiful people behind the resurrection of the Eternal City -- Glenn Frankel, author of The Searchers: The Making of an American Legend
A fantastically gossip-filled but intelligent history of Italy's postwar film-making industry and the culture it spawned * Sunday Times Summer Reads *
[A] zabaglione of a book -- Roger Lewis * Daily Mail Book of the Week *
A palatable and stimulating engagement with an era that still functions as a powerful marketing tool for Italian exports ... This is an exciting account of a revolution in art and society ... Levy's snapshots of ruthless newshounds and voluble starlets show his flair for scene-setting. He takes us on a joyride through the photoshoots and exposes that gave birth to new, competitive media, and the ideas and freedom generated by democracy ... All roads led to Fellini's masterpiece of decadence, La Dolce Vita. Levy laps up the image that encapsulated an era: the blonde goddess Anita Ekberg lifting her skirts in the ancient well-spring of the Trevi -- Lilian Pizzichini * The Spectator *
In this ebullient tour of Rome in the 1950s, film critic and celebrity biographer Levy portrays the city as a burgeoning centre of fashion, photography and, especially, movies ... Levy's spirited history is nothing less than a love letter to Rome's luxurious, sensational past * Kirkus Reviews *
A brisk, frothy narrative ... informative and fun -- Ben Downing * Wall Street Journal *
A sensational read -- John Cooper Clarke * Irish Examiner Books of the Year *
Although it also covers the rise of Italian fashion and automobiles, the real heart of Dolce Vita Confidential, Shawn Levy's account of post-war Italian culture, is pure celluloid; from the emergence of Hollywood on the Tiber (resulting in films like Roman Holiday and Quo Vadis) to the rise of Italian directors such as Roberto Rosselini, Michelanglo Antonioni and, the book's real hero, Federico Fellini. Levy is enamoured of Italian sixties cinema and the way it reflected and refracted Il Boom years. Fellini's La Dolce Vita was both a response to and an advertisement for the emergence of paparazzi photographers on Via Veneto after all. But the pleasure of the book probably comes in the gossip; here are love affairs between actresses and aristocrats, a tragic murder or two and the inevitable starry feuds -- Teddy Jamieson * The Herald Best Film Books of 2017 *
An account of the life-enhancing background from which sprang the masterpieces of Italian cinema in the 1960s -- Duncan Fallowell * The Spectator Books of the Year *
Details the fashion and cinema of 1950s Rome - from Pucci to Peck - with love -- Sloan Crosley * Vanity Fair *
An eclectic portrait of Rome's rise out of the ashes of WWII into a metropolis ... a fascinating look at decades of Italian cultural history * Publishers Weekly *
Dolce Vita Confidential is so much fun that after a few pages you'll want to set it aside, tie on a chic little scarf, jump on a Vespa and cry 'ciao' as you buzz past corner cafes and flower stands * Portland Tribune *
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