Although we were aware of Italian-American film productions made in the early thirties by small local production companies as a kind of home-brew ethnic cinema intended mainly for the resident immigrant population, we had never before been able to see even one such movie since most of the prints seem to have disappeared forever. This is in stark contrast to the many Yiddish-language American films that have survived. The recently discovered print has come back to us from the dead and was shown at the Museum of Modern Art's "Napoletana -Images of a City" series. It currently resides at George Eastman House, Rochester. The story of the film deals with a father who worries about the disintegration of the family after the mother dies. There is a good daughter and a bad daughter. There are the problems caused by a wayward son who cravenly attempts to steal all the father's money. The family melodrama also portrays the intense nostalgic desire of the father to leave America behind and return to Naples (with a daughter and son-in-law) and a less painful existence. The film was shot in Neapolitan dialect but also has a good deal of English. It is a schmaltzy, mawkish, overacted but riveting time capsule. More about this rare film can be found in the volume "Napoletana - Images of a City" that accompanied the series and includes an essay on it by Giuliana Bruno. The movie was also known as MEMORIES OF NAPLES.
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