"The Greatest Film of the Fascist Era": The Distribution of Camicia nera in Britain
Abstract: During the Fascist era in Italy, the state-controlled L’Unione Cinematografica Educativa produced newsreels and documentaries promoting the regime’s achievements. By the 1930s, LUCE’s films were screened to Italian immigrant audiences abroad in order to engage spectators already sympathetic or potentially allied to the Fascist agenda. In this article, I discuss the distribution and reception in Britain of Camicia nera (1933), a film produced by LUCE to mark the tenth anniversary of Mussolini’s rise to power and often referred to as “the film of the Decennial”. Employing records retrieved from state archives and contemporary British sources from the period of the film’s release, I revisit the history of one of the most important official films of the Fascist era and offer a new perspective on the dynamics and actual applications of Italian propaganda operations abroad during the 1930s.