The Italian | Chicago Reader

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Pioneering movie producer Thomas Ince clearly appreciated the enormous appeal of motion pictures among American immigrants: this 1915 melodrama about a Venetian gondolier transplanted to New York's Lower East Side speaks fluently to their hope and their fear of corruption in this strange and modern land. The movie's notable for its striking location photography, though the action is framed as both a play and a novel—curtains rise on a drawing-room scene in which a man settles down to read the immigrant's story. Reginald Barker directed a script cowritten by Ince (whose mysterious death was chronicled by Peter Bogdanovich in The Cat's Meow). 75 min.

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