BIFF 2011 #5: Hollywood on the Tiber (Italy 2009)

Audrey Hepburn crosses a Rome street in Hollywood on the Tiber.

This documentary screening was a bit of a stinker, wasting some useful and interesting material. Produced by Cinecitta Studios, using only archive material, it purports to tell the story of the years from the late 1940s to the early 1970s in which Rome’s studio (alongside other Italian locations such as Venice) became the biggest international film centre attracting Hollywood ‘runaway’ productions as well as international and domestic Italian films.

The first section of the film briefly promises some kind of analysis but this is soon abandoned and replaced by a stream of film clips featuring well-known stars (and attendant paparazzi) at the airport on arrival, attending premieres and flying out again. This is diverting for a few minutes but then becomes tedious unless the audience can find some kind of game to play with the star-spotting. Even the attempted argument is rendered unintelligible by an over-excited commentary translated into subtitles that change far too quickly to keep pace. There are also several awful music tracks. I did read a review before the screening which warned of the film’s faults but I thought I’d chance it. I wish I hadn’t. However, if you are a star-spotter you may have fun.


  1. keith1942

    Star-spotter is right. Elizabeth Taylor was extensively featured, and only a couple of days afterwards we read that she has joined the great box office in the sky. I assume we will get a more worthy tribute in time.
    I should note there were one or two interesting clips among the archival extracts – the anti-Hollywood demonstrations of the late 1940s, and Alain Resnais collecting the award at Venice.


  2. dan

    i am trying to find out where i can obtain a photo quality copy of the picture of audrey hepburn on this page….. do you have any advice?


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