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‘You want to be American’!

A tongue-in-cheek, Neapolitan language song written by Renato Carosone in the late 1950s, Tu vuò fà l’americano is about a young wannabee who affects a contemporary American life style (sharp clothes, whisky and soda, rock-and-roll, baseball and Camel cigarettes) but who relies on his parents for money.  Seen as a satire on the process of Americanisation in post-war Italy, the lyrics most damningly accuse: ‘How can your girl friend understand you, if you speak to her in half American when you make love under the moon.  Where do you get off saying ‘I love you?’

Sung famously, in English, by Sophia Loren in ‘It Started in Naples‘, and also appearing in the Talented Mr Ripley, lyrics in both Neapolitan and English are below. Continue reading

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Io Amo Napoli!

Marcello Mastroianni Marriage Italian style (1964)- A greying, sick man sits on a beach on a southern shore and speaks warmly about Naples.  Marcello Mastroianni, the incomparable and very cool post-war Italian actor, notes that ‘the strength of the Neapolitan is ..in their character, in their nature, in their traditions’.  He continues:

‘Io amo Napoli. E’ la città meno americanizzata d’Italia anzi d’Europa. Una volta a Roma,mentre passeggiavo,qualcuno alle mie spalle disse:”Ammazza le rughe,come s’è invecchiato!”, invece a Napoli uno mi si avvicinò così:” Marcellì, ce simmo fatt’ viecchiarell,eh? ‘o volite nu cafe?” :che garbo,che gentilezza d’animo…Napoli va presa come una città unica,molto intelligente: Napoli è troppo speciale quindi non la possono capire tutti’.

Translation and video below. Continue reading

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It started in Naples

Sophia Loren and Clark Gable on location on Capri in ‘It started in Naples‘ (Melville Shavelson, 1960).  IMDB says:

When American lawyer Michael Hamilton (Clark Gable) hears that his estranged younger brother and sister-in-law have died in a car accident, he flies to Naples, Italy, to settle their estate. Upon arriving, the xenophobic Hamilton meets his impish nephew, Nando (Marietto), for the first time, and decides he will bring the boy back with him to the United States. But when Nando’s gorgeous aunt, Lucia Curcio (Sophia Loren), protests, a lengthy and heated custody battle ensues.