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We appreciate a skill to play piano. Piano, as an instrument to play, and also as a beautiful object, is something many are or would be delighted to own. But they are so troublesome, sensitive to humidity.
Acoustic instruments, such as pianos, have developed under various constraints. Skillful crafters have been able to construct new instruments, idiophones, aerophones, membranophones and chordophones but only within the limitations set by those very categories. Ultimately there is a limited choice of materials on planet earth materials which are never totally standard in quality and to all of which no artisan has access. Instruments should also be playable within the limitations human body.
Therefore, how acoustic instruments sound, is. But there is a solution: the digital piano. The digital piano simultes the acoustic by means of sound samples of acoustic pianos, which are saved to an electric memory. These imitate not only sound, but look, touch, price and bourgeois status also.
They are almost like the real thing, many say even concert pianists can practice fingerings on them. Overwhelmingly more of them are. It is clear now: the digital piano is becoming the standard. How long the piano as a concept will live, it will do it in a digital form. The piano is a mechanical device with lots of small parts: it was a perfect product for the emerging mass production concept. Mass production in general began with standardization of small parts screws and bolts; ornaments with pianos.
The question is then: why does the piano survive at all? What is happening to it in this change to digits? Piano has been central in western music sonorically as well as tacitly and symbolically. This makes it a perfect showcase to approach digital simulation. Two features are important here:. Piano has been a dominating force in western music for years. In the th century piano became a symbol to social elevation for the prospering middle-class.
It still is emblem of middle-class life. Piano has been so succesful, that its sound has become arch-sound, neutral or uncoloured: piano suits well almost every musical context. The diatonic keyboard has close links. Keyboard instruments now dominate the instrument business. This results at least partly from the fact that piano introduced the keyboard interface to masses. Developement of the forte-piano is an example of two allThe first pianos in the th century were cembaloes with a hammer-mechanism: they were better than cembalo with more nuances and better than clavicord with more volume.
The forte-piano this original name of the instrument referred to its wide and stepless dynamics was an instant hit. Steel-frame was introduced later: this enabled even more volume. Acoustic principles set the limits for acoustic instruments. Acousto-electric instruments seemed a solution for both goals: with it, one could achieve any soundpressure, and it provided great possibilities for colour variation.
But purely Gianni Ferrio - Reflection (Vinyl) instruments. The next generation made the feature a part of the instruments vocabulary: they did not try to. First synthesizers were made by enthusiasists in the s and 70s. Programming them required effort. Trial and error was the tactique of creating new sounds, although some knowledge on acoustics helped: Thus, sounds were born out of interaction between the programmer and the machine. The analogue synthesizers were never able to provide sounds to reach the limits of imagination: they always sounded like analogue synthesizers but nevertheless, nobody knew exactly what was going to come out of the first instruments that were made.
On general level it should be noted that musical instruments, as well as any other instruments, do not become complete during design and production, but only after the users have ended up using them in some particular fashion. Naural and organic to acoustic and electro-acoustic instruments: their limitations open the doors for their transcendence. The overdriven guitar-sound is now a matter of course.
Every unwanted feature resulting from the inherent nature of the instrument, has been unwanted only until someone has broken the convention or cultural code: transcended earsplitting feedback into powerful artistic effect, noticed the attraction in the sound of the out of tune piano, or marvelled how moving a hand in front of the trumpet makes the horn almost as speak.
Also artefacts other than musical instruments have been adapted to make music e. The end goals of the original use of the artefacts tend to sedimentate to features of the artefact by repetition the concept was introduced by Edmund Husserl, see Husserl : saw is meant for dividing objects into smaller parts although you could do countless other things with it also.
But sedimentation can be broken, as with the saw. What do I mean with this? I give an example: a musical instruments provide possibilities for innavation for a musician, who is willing to use it wrong. I will illustrate with the case of the electric guitar. The first amplifiers for them wre tube amplifiers. An electrode tube produces distortion when it is overloaded. Thefirst electric guitarists. With digital instruments breaking sedimentation becomes however problematic.
A digital instrument needs an interface, but an acoustic instrument is an interface. The flaw of the digital instrument stems from same features as strengths: easy, durable, reliable and of uniform quality, but also for all this sedimented for good.
The potential hazard, which was due to the capricious interaction between the imperfect human player and the imperfect instrument, and which functioned as a catalyst for creation, no longer exists with simulation. With simulation, one can not produce new by destroying old. A digital piano will not go out of tune under heavy handling, and one can not preparate its unexisting strings. Acoustic piano will eventually start naturally sound old and tired, but digital does not go out of tune.
I will still iIlustrate, now with Jimi Hendrix. He was able to produce a spectacular soundscape with an electric guitar and an amplifier. To Hendrix and his contemporaries it had occurred, that amplifiers are an organic part of the instrument electric guitar. Hendrix was very much responsible of making the english-made Marshall-amplifier a rock-icon. He was the best advert for the amplifiers, although the sound the audience and potential buyers among heard, was very much a sound of Jimi Hendrix: he played it cranked up for too long, used feedback as an effect, and even bashed them.
Now we have digital simulations of Marshall-sound. These would maybe sound different without Hendrix. And Hendrix would not be able to create his sound with that simulation, because the simulator would not respond to his abuse. One can not use the digital piano wrong, and it can not get broken just right: all deviations to the norm have to be designed into it, it is, the deviations have to exist preconcieved.
To sum up: There is no unconceptualized dialogue between the musician and the digital instrument, and the instrument does not tell the human anything the human does not know already, because there is nothing the human has not programmed into it.
Last: a digital instrument is based purely on cognition. The fact that in can be played, is more an appendix than inherent to it. When the force of the body changes into digits, the direct link between the body and the sound ceases to exist.
The more the physical connection. As Steven Feld76 has noted, musicians rather feel a musical style than acknowledge it cognitively. A musical style is not rigid, mechanical and static, but rather a physical resource, which enables the creation of endless variation.
This resource is distictly corporeal, not cognitive: it can not ultimately be defined with concepts, only by playing. Digital piano has relatives: digital devices that emulate old tube amplifiers, tube microphones, Hammond organs and other classic analogue electric musical equipment.
Here is a list of different classic guitar amplifiers a Line6 Flextone III digital combo-amplifier is able to simulate:. The length and particularity of the list suggests that these sounds are of great distinction. But who would know? The average consumer does not know what any. As acoustic pianos slowly became scarce, fewer and fewer players have experienced the sensation of the touch and sound of the real thing.
Eventually, as the acoustic piano as a point of reference ultimately disappears, the point of reference to digital pianos become other digital pianos. What an odd situation:. But somewhere along the way a certain change is bound to come: eventually there will be people who will think of the digital piano as the real thing There we will have arrived, as Baudrillard coined it, to the moment of simulacrum. Selected Bibliography Feld, Stephen. Communication, Music, and Speech about Music. Yearbook for Traditional Music, pp.
Husserl, Edmund. Evanston: Northwestern University Press, Thberge, Paul. Any Sound You Can Imagine. Hanover: University Press of New England, Vahtokari, Reijo. Illan solisti. Only thus shall we understand to what extent the music of Los Brincos was involved and caught up in the construction of a youth identity, being above all a commercial, fun and carefree music. Also, the mayority of the essays on the culture of Francos regime, published since the 70s, ignored popular music, although the copla and the folkloric cinema of the 40s have awakened academic interest.
As far as sixties music is concerned, works have been published on the Nova Can and singer-songwriters, but no similar academic studies exist into pop rock, which explains why the meaning of spanish beat has not yet been analysed properly. In this sense, I shall put forward a number of ideas to connect what I consider the ambivalent meaning of the Spanish beat with the production of subjectivity and identity in Sixties Spain, focussing my attention to an emblematic band, Los Brincos, created in latea year in which small cracks were beginning to open up in Francos dictatorship, the appropriate time to change the course of popular Spanish music.
Between andSpain experienced a complex political situation, one of conflict and contradiction. The university crisis that led to the dismantling of the University Student Union SEUthe distancing of the regime from the catholic church, the creation of the Womens Democratic Movement, the partial Amnesty Decree, the Press Law which abolished prior censorship and direct control of the pressthe Law of Religious Freedom, acute labour conflicts, the strengthening of the unions, and the manipulated referendum on the Organic Law of the State are symptoms of political evolution that did not conceal other, more sombre situations, such as the.
The Minister for Information and Tourism, Manuel Fraga, had initiated a campaign of cultural liberalisation in This was part of an strategy for capturing the support of the middle classes, in a period of economic prosperity and increasing average buying power.
It was a seduction campaign on the part of the government Malerbe, ; in order to construct an image of modernity and to offer a minimum degree of credibility both within and outside the country. Francos regime celebrated its 25 Years of Peace, the First Economic and Social Development Plan came into force, a restrictive Law of Associations was passed that did not contemplate the possibility of political associationsnegotiations commenced with the European Economic Community, the Democratic Student Union was created that was to play a crucial role in the university protests between and and the first constitutive assembly of the communist labour union Comisiones.
The impact that The Brincos caused in this context is explained by their capacity to articulate concepts such as modernity, consumerism, fun and a certain nationalist nuance, as well as a sense of generational awareness that made a deep impression on Spanish middle-class youth.
Via a noisy, lively, electric, modern, youthful music, as well as certain visual style associated with it, the so-called ye-yeismo, a sector of Spanish youth, with scant or no political awareness, was able to channel its eagerness for leisure, collective fantasy and, above all, freedom. And it achieved this precisely thanks to its frivolous and banal appearance as opposed to the explicit political opposition of the Nova Can. Obreras was held.
An intestine war commenced within the regime, between advocators of a more open, progressive system of government and those resisting such change.
Within the sphere of musical creation, it took place a great optimistic boom. The cultural liberalisation had several fronts: on the one hand, a toning down of censure, on the other, a window-dressing operation articulated via a skilful policy of official support for avantgarde music, painting, sculpture and cinema, intellectual manifestations with scant public success. Fraga was responsible for breaking the traditional.
But the hermetic nature of avantgarde music was far from the life pulse of the Spanish. Not even the irreverent iconoclastic proposals of the Grupo Zaj, with its action musics, its art-life identification and its movement towards pop art, had any important social transcendence.
The composers of the so-called Generation of 51 moved in very minority, elitist circles. In Sixties Spain, there was an unbreachable wall between academic musical circles and popular music bands and it is difficult to establish bridges between them, except those of mutual ignorance and disdain.
Nonetheless, they shared the search for new values. Zaj undermined the cohesion of the Spanish musical avantgarde, which from that moment on became intensely polarised: constructivism and objectualism cohabited with concepts such as flexibility of discourse and spatial elements. Likewise, the impact of Los Brincos brought about a polarisation of foreign influences in popular music, breaking away from the monopoly of Italian and French pop and opening up a rift with the solo singers who triumphed at the Song Festivals instigated by Francos government to promote tourism along the guidelines of the Italian festivals.
Zaj inaugurated its public activity hardly three weeks before the record launching of Los Brincos, in November in a hall of residence, with a Concert of Musical Theatre. It is Mark Harris coincidence that a hall of residence housed this novelty.
By then secondary schools, colleges, university residences and faculties also lent their support to the so-called festivals of modern music, some even organised by the Spanish University Union SEUin which young bands were not required to have the professional musicianss permit.
These festivals received a severe blow with the regimes suppression of the Price Matinees a hotbed for rock and roll fans in February, after a weight campaign of hostility from the official press. Los Brincos were a group of young kids from Madrid who demonstrated that it was possible to sing in Spanish with a guarantee of success and originality.
Both these multinationals had placed their bets on Spanish groups and solo singers and operated in Madrid and Barcelona respectively, with greater investments than those of Columbia, RCA or the modest domestic subsidiaries such as Vergara, Belter or Hispavox That is why Zafiro tried to propose more daring ideas like creating a subrecord label aimed at the young public, Novola, under the directorship of an ex-member of Los Estudiantes a pioneering group of Spanish rockLuis Sartorius.
The aims of Zafiro were to bring about a sharp shock by betting on young groups and taking up the standard of the growing musical revolution of the British beat.
The result was the launching of a group intended to be the Spanish replica of The Beatles and to conquer the middle-class youth market, creating a top quality band, going beyond the clichs of American rock, with a beat sound, but also purely Spanish.
This was shared by Fernando Arbex, a Law student and the drummer of. In DecemberZafiro staged an intense promotional campaign to launch the new group, Los Brincos, simultaneously publishing 5 records, an unprecedented event in Spain: 2 EPs, 2 singles and an LP with 12 tracks that combined songs in Spanish and in English. Under the supervision of the artistic producer Marini Callejo, the two-track recordings had taken place in October using the most advanced sound techniques available in Spain and without studio musicians.
The youth music magazine Discbolo created in anticipated the launch, highlighting the novelties: the prior experience of the musicians, a very new sound with a certain Spanish flavour pompously called the Woodling Soundthe groups own songs, a substantial investment in instrumental equipment and a great ambition, to take to Europe young, modern Spanish music with its own personality, instead of copying foreigners, concluding that it might be a decisive step forward along the road that lead us to finding modern Spanish music, which, at the present time, does not exist 1.
The possibilities of international success did not go unnoticed, not only owing to their vocal and instrumental quality, but also because their English was almost perfect. The first LP demonstrated the wealth of ideas, the EP responded to a format that was familiar to the public and the single was the wager on the immediate future, since Zafiro was one of the first companies that believed in the possibilities of the single Casas, ; It has often been pointed out that Gianni Ferrio - Reflection (Vinyl) launch was scrupulously planned and coordinated, since the commercial possibilities of the group were evident.
However, Marini Callejo states that, rather than a meticulous planning, there was great enthusiasm in Zafiro: they were convinced that Los Brincos supposed an unquestionable, qualitative leap forward.
As a businessman, Morencos tried to adjust the budget, though within a spirit of a certain degree of lavishness, since the cost of the first LP practically doubled what was then normal to invest in a long-playing record.
Marini Callejo insists that Zafiro ran risks, although optimism prevailed: above all there was a great yearning to do something important 2. Marini, the fifth Brinco states that they worked with absolute cordiality and responsibility, the rehearsals were exhaustive, the end result of the songs was painstakingly cared for down to the last detail, the sound was compact and there were interesting instrumental details such as the introduction of a Hammond organ on.
But the fundamental novelty was that the LP was made up of 12 unpublished themes, there was not one single cover version: once more, unprecedented in Spain. Flamenco was the visiting card, its aim was to mix the beat with typically Spanish sounds, along with interesting lyrics. The majority of young musicians of the time saw it as a Spanish-style Twist and Shout, not very representative, a flagship song to enter the market.
No less important than the title and sound of Flamenco was the construction of the groups image, dressed in Spanish capes and with bells on their shoes, which converted into icons for some fans: just like Flamenco, it responded to the somewhat artificial idea of creating an initial impact. What was truly successful was the musical formula: Junior and Juan Pardo sang really well, played with inventiveness and, whats more, they were composers.
Fernando Arbex, according to Marini, was an amazing ideas machine. He proposed the outline of many songs: then, absolutely everyone worked on these as a team.
In her opinion, they were born musicians: Junior developed magnificent solos, Juan Pardo focused on the lyrics and guitar accompaniments. Their formula caused a sort of revolution. They were a compact, autonomous, creative group with two excellent singers, three good composers, four good musicians and a fifth Brinco who had an extremely complete academic musical background.
Their image they later abandoned. Los Brincos were fundamental in the formation of the Spanish beat. Some features linked them to the pre Beatles: they were exciting, autonomous they were composers and interpreters of their own themeslively, their songs had real quality and simple images, the lyrics were sometimes shallow, words to sing, good rhythm, they irradiated a lack of concern and fun.
Their merit increases if we consider that they did not even have, as the majority of bands at that time did including The Beatlesa prior stage as a cover band. Musically, there was concomitance, excellent vocal harmonies, instrumental arrangements, similar vocal effects and some people think certain rehashes.
Offering an intelligent combination of professionalism, modernity, youth, a national accent and a great commercial sense, Los Brincos were fundamental because they managed to capitalise on the migration of minority pop rock that was somewhat fringe at the beginning of the Sixties to the more mass beat, opening up sounds to the public at large: the Spanish beat definitively came into being with them.
After the impact they caused, the persecution and repression of youth music on the part of the regime became progressively diluted.
Their music offered a clear alternative to both the neo-populism as well as the pop represented by. They also marked the displacement of the musical epicentre from Barcelona to Madrid, where the national and international record industries became strengthened. Los Brincos caused a shock wave that opened the door to dozens of groups.
In Januarythe published records had sold out, and they became the emblems of Spanish pop abroad. In April, Flamenco reached N 1 in the hit parade, where it remained for 3 weeks. The Saar recording studio became interested in them and they travelled to Milan to record.
They were the first Spanish group to record abroad. The single Sola remained at the top of the hit parade for 3 weeks in August Borracho sold In November, Discbolo reported on the bands success, with almost In one year, the group had published records in 30 countries, appeared on the cover of Cash Box and were the most well known Spanish band abroad 4.
In the Critics Awards ofthey won the awards for best group and best song of the year for Sola. Their success was extraordinary, because they got three songs into the top three, Sola, Flamenco and Borracho, being unquestionably the best composers as well as the best group 5. Italian songs which were strong competitors for The Beatles in the Spanish hit parade were no match for the popularity of Los Brincos.
At the same time, I was not about to alienate my academic read- ership with excessive description at the expense of analysis, or present m o v i e reviews instead of cultural discussion. T h e films included in this book are those I could get my hands on. M a n y are out of print, or very hard to find. I tried, but 1 kept getting outbid on eBay for them. S oif your favorite obscure giallo is not mentioned in this book, my apologies.
If you have a copy, I'd love to take a look at it, and maybe I c a n include it in a second edition, again de- pending on the caprices of the publishing gods. A few c o m m e n t s on the organization of this book: the first chapter, " W h a t Is Giallo? T h e second chapter, " T o - ward an Understanding of Vernacular C i n e m a" is a methodological chapter: here I discuss the c o n t e x t of the study of Italian c i n e m a and how such stud- ies tend to ignore horror cinema, how journalistic film critics deride these films as "incompetent," and how such criticisms reveal more about the re- viewers' own prejudices than any problem with the film.
As a counter to t h e middle-class bias inherent in the giallo's omission from the academic study o f Italian c i n e m a and t h e poor press these films tend to get, I argue for studying these films by approaching them as vernacular c i n e m a. Together the first two chapters are largely contextual; I am trying to lay a cultural foundation for the later chapters' study of the films themselves.
In chapters 3 - 91 address various themes, motifs, and tropes in these films: their use of space; the murders; the role of the detective; the identity of the killer; issues of belief, excess, and the set-piece; and the giallo as "cinema of poetry. Based on these textual analyses, I begin to hypothesize what such moments might mean culturally, specifically for vernacular audiences.
In my conclusions to each chapter, I begin to point to where these discussions intersect with the critical theories of our disci- plines. I apologize in advance if my analyses tend to be overly descriptive, but due to the unfamiliarity of many of the films under discussion, I felt that such foci were required.
Finally, as a conclusion, I recontextualize the giallo in terms of how it in- fluenced the N o r t h A m e r i c a n slasher movie of the late s and early 1 9 8 0 s. It is also worth noting how the giallo influenced the slasher film then reinfluenced some Italian horror films in the mids. I would like to thank my colleagues at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, who have supported and encouraged my research into this bizarre subject: Ioan Williams and M a r t i n Barker b o t h actually believed I could pull off this book.
T h a n k s also to Mick Mangan, now at the University of Exeter, who came back from Italy with a Mondadori edition of an Ed M c B a i n novel to in- spire my work in gialli. T h a n k you to Kevin Donnelly and Kate Egan, who made some useful suggestions early on in this research. T h a n k s also to K a t e Woodward, whose i n n o c e n c e I helped to corrupt by showing her some of these movies, particularly Dario Argento's Opera.
T h a n k s should also go out to my colleagues at large, S t e v e n Jay Schneider, Xavier Mendik, and espe- cially my fellow explorer of vernacular c i n e m aS h e i l a Nayar. A shy t h a n k you as well to Richard Dyer, who suggested I continue with this research; your encouragement meant a lot to me. T h e research for this book has taken several years to complete, but I would not have been able to complete this at all without the support from the U n i - versity of Wales, Aberystwyth, Department of T h e a t r eFilm and Television, which granted me two semesters sabbatical leave to complete the project; di- olch yn fawr!
I would also like to thank the British Academy, which awarded me an Overseas C o n f e r e n c e G r a n t in 2 0 0 3 so I could present a preliminary version of chapter 7 at the Perspectives on Contemporary Legend Confer- e n c e in C o r n e r Brook, Newfoundland. Also a massive thank you to all of the International S o c i e t y for Contemporary Legend Research I S C L Rwhose support over the years has been a great encouragement to me; a specific.
Based on these conference papers, an alternative version of this chapter was published in Midwestern Folklore 3 0. Also, an earlier version of chapter 3 was presented at the 2 0 0 3 European C i n e m a Research Forum conference at the University of Bath, and was even- tually published in W e n d y Everett and A x e l Goodbody, eds, Revisiting Space: Space and Place in European Cinema Bern: Peter Lang, 2 0 0 51 1 5 - 3 1 ; thanks to Wendy and A x e l for their work on the volume.
Special thank you to A l a n Simpson at the Sex, Gore, Mutants website— probably the best horror fan site in cyberspace www. A n d to Adele Hartley at Edinburgh's "Dead by Dawn" film festival, the best damn film festival in the world! Special thanks also to Harvey Fenton at F A B Press—probably the best publisher of horror and extreme c i n e m a fan- oriented materials; without FAB's books, this study could not have been done.
Very special thanks to Kelly Jones, whose support, encouragement, coffee, and proofreading skills I could not have done without. Now if 1 c a n just get you to watch o n e of these movies. A n d finally to my wife, G i a nand son, Isaac: your support, love, and af- fection gave me the strength and encouragement to persevere with this work.
T h a t my now five-year-old can talk intelligently about Dawn of the Dead and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a bit worrying, but I assure S o c i a l Ser- vices he's never seen one of these movies! He does do a terrific zombie im- personation, however. G i a nmy love and best friend, your idea to demand a first draft of this manuscript as a Christmas present was inspired and with only six more hours till midnight—I might just make it!
T h a n k you for everything. Several years ago, I produced a lengthy article on the relationship b e t w e e n contemporary urban legends and the slasher films largely produced in Canada and the U n i t e d States in the later s and early 1 9 8 0 s. As part of that piece, I characterized three different types of the slasher film: those slashers that are based on urban legends, which I called "terror tales"; "psycho-character studies," those films that attempt to understand the serial killer from the psycho-sociological perspective, using the killer himself they are usually male from the inside; and finally what I called " S c o o b y - D o o movies"—which I characterized thus:.
In the " S c o o b y - D o o " slasher films, however, the killer is revealed to be h u m a n and using some kind of killer-legend to distract from their own motives.
T h e s e slasher films are, in reality, gory murder mysteries, where t h e " g a m e " for t h e audience is to a t t e m p t a hypothesis as to w h o m t h e killer may be out of a set group of people. O n e of t h e readers for this article queried t h e relationship b e t w e e n what I was calling the " S c o o b y - D o o " movies and the Italian giallo, and in t h e final published version of t h e paper I made a vague and n o n c o m m i t t a l. But almost immediately after submitting that final edit of the paper, I c o n t i n u e d thinking about the re- lationship b e t w e e n t h e giallo and the slasher m o v i e and realized my term " S c o o b y - D o o " m o v i e was inaccurate: this particular form of slasher was a c - tually N o r t h A m e r i c a n gialli.
My intention at the time was to continue my research into the slasher film, and in preparing that research I wanted to firm up the c o n n e c t i o n be- tween the slasher and the giallo. To do this, I sought out an article or two that defined the giallo, as genre, and gave some reference to the defining charac- teristics of these films. T h e giallo at this stage in my research was highly pe- ripheral to my study.
Unfortunately, no such articles or pieces of research could be found. Disappointed and discouraged, I decided that I would have to write those articles myself; but as I dug deeper and deeper into this genre of Italian vernacular filmmaking, I identified increasingly significant issues that had not b e e n discussed within film studies—that were not only essential to a discussion of the giallo, but to a larger form of c i n e m a language that of- t e n falls below the radar of most "serious" film watchers.
T h i s was back in 2 0 0 2and for the next three years I found myself exploring the labyrinthine world of the Italian vernacular c i n e m a of the 1 9 7 0 s.
T h e s e are the results of that exploration. First, before discussing the giallo film as vernacular cinema, some defini- tion of the genre itself is required. T h e word giallo simply means "yellow" and is the metonymic term given to a series of mystery novels that the Milanese publisher Mondadori began producing in the late 1 9 2 0 s. T h e s e paperback novels, often translations of English-language novels by writers like Arthur C o n a n Doyle, Ngaio Marsh, A g a t h a Christie, and Edgar W a l l a c ewere pre- sented with vibrant yellow covers.
Gianni Ferrio - Reflection (Vinyl) few years earlier, Mondadori had achieved success with a series of romance novels published with bright blue covers, and so their "giallo" series was an extension of this color-coding of popular literature. T h e "giallo" series is still going strong, with Mondadori continuing to publish gialli paperbacks with vibrant yellow covers.
Very quickly other Italian publishers joined in on the demand or at least avail- ability of mass-market murder mystery novels. Dozens of competing series were produced, all using the term giallo, further defining the literary genre within an Italian c o n t e x t. A quick perusal of a list of those books published in the s and early s reveals that Edgar W a l l a c e seems to have been o n e of the most popular authors—certainly translations of his novels are plentiful in the various series, followed closely by Agatha Christie, C o n a n Doyle, and Dorothy Sayers.
Despite their popularity during this period, gialli were seen as corrupt and decadent by the Italian Fascist government; it viewed the books as advocat- ing the worst kinds of criminal behavior as opposed to the "right" kinds of criminal behavior, like their Racial Laws. In spite of this, or maybe because of it, filmmakers tended to overlook the giallo as potential source material.
Fascist cinema tended to prefer the facade of sophistication in the so-called " W h i t e Telephone" films.
Literally the first giallo film was made under Mus- 2. Luchino Visconti's Ossessione 1 9 4 2although mostly heralded as the first neorealist film, since the film is loosely based on James M.
Perhaps sig- 3. T h a t being said, perhaps it is ironic that, although the script for Ossessione passed by Mussolini's censors untouched, Vittorio Mussolini, II D u c e s son, was said to have been appalled by the film, and officially it was condemned by the gov- ernment L i e h m 1 9 8 4 : 5 7 - 5 8.
W h a t is significant for this current discussion of Ossessione in respect to the giallo is that part of the filmmaker's mandate was to "reopen Italian film to foreign influences and to re-establish c o n t a c t s with the world culture disrupted by the fascist isolationism" Liehm 1 9 8 4 : T h e later giallo filmmakers tend to be contextualized within other forms of exploitation horror cinema, although often they worked in as many different genres as were being produced within Italian cinema at the t i m e — m o n d o documentaries, zombie pictures, police action films poliziottoand sex comedies.
So most histories of giallo cinema, such as are available, c o n t e x t u - alize the genre within the history of Italian horror cinema, rather than the crime film, with Mario Bava unofficially credited with inventing the giallo as a cinematic genre. T h i s invention can be said to have occurred through two specific films.
He or she takes on the role of amateur detective in order to hunt down this killer, and often succeeds where the police fail. T h i s film, although the narrative structure is quite dif- ferent from Girl, introduced to the genre specific visual tropes that would be- come cliched. Specifically, the graphic v i o l e n c e was against beautiful women; there were many murders committed in Girl, all the victims are stabbed the same way, but in Blood and Black Lace we see stabbings, strangu- lations, smothering, burnings, and other violent acts ; but most important is the introduction of what was to become the archetypal giallo killer's disguise: black leather gloves, black overcoat, wide-brimmed black hat, and often a black stocking over the face.
Nevertheless, Gary Needham sees the opening sequence of Girl, where we are introduced to Nora Davis Letitia R o m a n on an airplane arriving in R o m e for a holiday, reading a gi- allo novel, as announcing the arrival of a new self-aware kind of genre, what Needham calls mise en abyme 2 0 0 3 : 1 3 6.
T h e year 1 9 7 0 is generally considered the key threshold for giallo cinema, due to the international success of Dario Argento's The Bird with the Crystal Plumage Luccello dale piume di cristallo 1 9 7 0which takes the innocent eyewitness who becomes an amateur detective through a grisly series of murders from Bava's Girl and adds the graphic violence and iconically dressed killer black hat, gloves, and raincoat from Bava's Blood and Black Lace.
It is this combina- tion that really defines the giallo film as it is more commonly understood. An av- alanche of similar films was quickly brought out by Italian producers looking to cash in on Argento's success, all using combinations and variations on the com- plexity of the mystery, with the standard giallo-killer disguise.
In West G e r m a n y at the time, there was a parallel movement in crime cin- ema, the krimi. Likewise, Dario A r g e n t o was heavily influenced, not only by Bava, but by these krimi films too, as Julian Grainger noted:.
T h e Italian giallo m i x e d the krimi with the police procedural and added a twist of its own; an almost fetishistic a t t e n t i o n to the murderer and the killings h e and s o m e t i m e s s h e perpetuated. As K e n H a n k e noted regarding the cross-fertilization between the gialli and krimi:.
Old Rialto favourites Joachim Fuchsberger and Arin Baal were in the cast and the film claimed to have been "suggested" by Wallace's The Clue of the New Pin, but it was a different sort of film for a different audience and a different time, and might best be viewed as an homage to the krimis rather than a true member of the series.
I point out this parallel tradition to demonstrate that the giallo was not entirely an independent phenomenon; these films were heavily influenced by, not to mention funded by and marketed to, international interests beyond Italy. Filone Although, in Italian, the word genere does literally mean "genre," within the c o n t e x t we are currently discussing genre, the Italian filone may be more ap- propriate.
In literary studies, the giallo, like crime or detective fiction as genre, would he considered genere. Filone, on the other hand, would tend to be used primarily in a more scientific c o n t e x tlike geology where filone would refer to a vein of mineral in a rock or geography as in the main cur- rent in a river. However, rather than the more traditional literary approach, filone here tends to be used more idiomatically, as in the phrase "sullo stesso filone" "in the tradition o f or "seguire il filone" "to follow the tradition o f.
Even the geological use of filone has an English equivalent: to be "in the vein of. T h e Italians h a v e the word filone, w h i c h is often used to refer to b o t h genres and cycles as well as to currents and trends.
T h i s points to the limitations of genre theory built primarily on A m e r - ican film genres but also to the need for redefinition c o n c e r n i n g h o w o t h e r popular film-producing nations understand and relate to their products. On the one hand, as Gary Needham does, we c a n see the giallo as less a distinct genre of film than as a filone of the larger horror or crime genres this latter, of course, in Italian, is giallo.
On the other hand, from a more c o n - servative literary perspective, if we see the giallo as referring to the entire crime genre of literature which it does, at least in the original languagethen it should be possible to identify smaller variations on that genre—the various filone that make up the genre, at least in popular cinema.
Or, as I am here, we can see filone more idiomatically, as a "tradition" to be followed; and, as we shall see below, the giallo appears more as a tradition of film nar- rative than as a genre. Seeing the generic diversity of the giallo in terms of its various filone strikes me as more productive than the subordinated term "subgenre.
From Bird's release in 1 9 7 0a slew of similar films were produced that likewise featured this archetypal killer disguise and the amateur detective role. Using filone in this sense, A r g e n t o was sullo stesso filone Mario Bava, but then a number of films were produced that were sullo stesso filone Dario A r g e n t othat is, in the tradition of first Bava and t h e n Ar- gento.
T h e s e films make up the central core of the giallo film, and perhaps we should designate them as "classic giallo. Lado's Who Saw Her Die? As c a n be gleaned from the selection above, the "classic" period of the giallo film ran from approximately 1 9 7 0 until 1 9 7 5. If the film takes the narrative perspective of the police in investigating and finally revealing the machinations of the plot, then rightly the film is more of a police procedural thriller than a classic giallo.
Italian vernacular cinema recognizes the poliziotto as a separate filone: films where the police are the protagonist.
Despite the differences between the giallo and the poliziotto film, both focus on the hunt for a serial killer or the investigation into some kind of drug or white slavery ring.
Often these filone are difficult to tell apart, with many poliziotto referred to as giallo in their marketing at least in the contemporary marketing of these films on D V D to horror fans. A number of films in this period and under consideration here clearly fall within the cycle of the police procedural.
In particular, Paolo C a v a r a s The Black Belly of the Tarantula La Tarantula dal ventre nero 1 9 7 2 runs the gamut between b o t h giallo and poliziotto, privileging the investigative perspectives of both an am- ateur detective Paolo Zani S i l v a n o Tranquilli and police officer, Inspector Tellini Giancarlo G i a n n i n i.
Flavio Mogherini's The Pyjama Girl Case La Ragazza dal pigiama giallo 1 9 7 7despite the use of the word giallo in the original Italian title, focuses more on Inspector Thompson's Ray M i l l a n d investigation than the events leading up to the murder being investigated. Significantly, Dallamano's Black Veil was made before the classic giallo began to dominate Italian terza visione screens i. So while the classic giallo dominated Italian vernacular c i n e m a roughly between 1 9 7 0 and 1 9 7 5this filone was topped and tailed by more traditional poliziotto films.
S t e p h e n Thrower noted "Italy's exploitation directors had, during the seventies, turned from the labyrinthine narrative excesses of the giallo to the right-wing law enforcement wet dreams of the poliziesco [sic.
Contemporary gialli, like Occhi di cristallo Eros Puglielli, 2 0 0 4focus almost exclusively on the police investigation. T h i s suggests to me that the classic giallo existed as filone in the first half of the s and emerged out of an existing demand for more traditional poliziotto films. O n c e t h e cycle had run out of steam, the filone returned back to t h e more familiar cop dramas.
S o m e gialli tended to avoid b o t h the police and the amateur detective, c o - alescing around plot lines that are more akin to suspense thrillers than either of the two gialli forms noted previously. As Charles Derry defined it, " T h e sus- pense thriller [is] a crime work which presents a generally murderous antag- onism in which the protagonist becomes either an i n n o c e n t victim or a non- professional criminal within a structure that is significantly unmediated by a traditional figure of detection" 1 9 8 8 : 6 2.
In the classic giallo films, the am- ateur detective looks for the killer "out there," somewhere in the city; the in- vestigation is external to the film's protagonist, even if the killer may be a friend or relative of the amateur detective. Likewise, in the poliziotto films, the investigation is externally driven, despite the possibility of uncovering internal corruption within the force.
But in the "suspense thriller" gialli, the criminal activities murder, blackmail, adultery, incest are internally driven. T h e s e films tend to feature fewer settings and locations, restricting most of the action to o n e or two locations.
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