Inquiring minds: hard-boiled Italian movies

Each week the staff at the Roseville Library answers more than 2,500 questions on every subject under the sun. Here are some of the most interesting ones they’ve gotten lately.

Q.    There’s a certain type of old Italian movies from the ‘60s that I really used to enjoy. They were dark, violent hard-boiled crime stories, and I think the name begins with a hard “G” sound. Can you help me figure this out?

A.     Most people remember the spaghetti westerns from that era, but for moviegoers who liked a dash of gangster style with their dark story lines, the Italian cinema was happy to comply. They developed a genre of tough-guy film noir that went by the name “Giallo.” In Italian, “giallo” is the word for the color “yellow.” Starting back in the 1920s, Italian and other European publishers customarily issued detective stories in volumes with yellow covers. Eventually the whole hard-boiled detective genre, in both book and movie form, became known as “yellow” or Giallo. The Library owns plenty of classic Italian movies, and we may even have a couple of giallo films in our collection.
(Internet Resources including a website for  Mondadori publishing history.)

Do you have a question for the staff at the Roseville Library? You can call them at 628-6803 or ask your question in person at the Information Desk, Roseville Library, 2180 Hamline Ave. Library hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday; and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

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