DOLCE VITA CONFIDENTIAL is a book which purports to be the story of Rome in the 1950s when it was the centre of the fashionable world. A city of impossible glamour that most of the world’s cities will never get within a whisker of. (The Last Shaun Levy book I read was about London in The Swinging Sixties, but even then London had the cool without the chic). However, despite its claims, I think – as the title suggests – what Levy is most interested in is detailing the making of Fellini’s LA DOLCE VITA, but putting it into full context of the time.
So, we get the whirl of fashion and tabloid photography that inspired the film, characters sketches of the main players in the film (and the likes of Sophia Loren, who it would be impossible to ignore) and what comes from this is a great conjuring of a long lost beautiful black and white world.
I like Levy’s prose style and its breeziness suits this subject perfectly. I have seen LA DOLCE VITA, but once and more than twenty years ago. (I’ll be honest with you, most of the Italian movies I’ve seen are Spaghetti Westerns or Giallo.) However, this is a book which seems to capture the essence Rome in the fifties, and in doing do makes me want me to ride a scooter, drink an expresso and start watching all the other Italian cultural milestones I haven’t seen but should have.
I also write about glamorous actresses in my ‘Screen Siren Noir’ series. If you’re interested, you can find the first book – DIANA CHRISTMAS – right here!