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Hollywood films & Italian Art Cinema

'Casablanca' was well-crafted entertainment, not an exploration of its characters' psychological complexities or society.

A major difference between classic Hollywood films such as 'Casablanca,' and Italian Neo-Realistic films such as 'The Bicycle Thief' was the actors. In Italian Neo-Realism actors were largely nonprofessionals while Hollywood films of the era were star oriented. While Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman are good actors, Bogart's personality created the character of Rick. Thomas and Vivian Sobchack argue that while an actor or actress submerges his or her personality and creates a character, 'a star lets his or her own personality create the character' (330). The 'concept of stardom would seem to involve a duality between actor and character. To audiences of 'Casablanca,' Humphrey is the character Rick, but he is also the actor Humphrey Bogart playing the character of Rick' (Allen & Gomery 172-173).

Robert Allen and Douglas Gomery point out that the movie star has been one of the defining characteristics of the American cinema since 1910. Thomas and Vivian Sobchack contend that the Hollywood star system uses charismatic screen personalities in familiar roles, and that one of the reasons audiences go to movies is to see their favorite stars 're-enact familiar personae' (327). Ellis gives an example of how the Hollywood studios exploited the star system by marketing films not on content but on star quality such as 'Judy and Mickey together again in the kind of story that made 'Babes in Arms' a smash' (152). He also contends that Dooley Wilson playing and singing 'As Time Goes By' in 'Casablanca,' makes audiences 'believe in and care what happens to Rick, Humphrey Bogart, and Ilsa, Ingrid Bergman, as much as we've cared for any screen lovers, and maybe to confuse them with ourselves' (197).

Identifying the character with the actor could not happen in the films of Italian Neo-Realism. Cesare Zavattini, who co-wrot...

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Hollywood films & Italian Art Cinema. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 00:31, August 21, 2017, from
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