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The Metamorphosis of Maciste in Italian Silent Cinema

Jacqueline Reich
Film History
Vol. 25, No. 3 (2013), pp. 32-56
Published by: Indiana University Press
DOI: 10.2979/filmhistory.25.3.32
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Page Count: 25
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The Metamorphosis of Maciste in Italian Silent Cinema
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ABSTRACT This essay examines the origins of the popular Maciste series in Italian silent cinema, from the character's birth in the groundbreaking Cabiria (1914) to the first film, the eponymous Maciste (1915), in which the character changes from a black-bodied African slave in ancient Rome to a white Italian in contemporary northern Italy. This transformation occurred during a crucial transitional phase in Italian cinema as films became more ideologically marked in support of nationalist policies and as the film series passed from short one- to two-reel films to a feature-length format.

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