Jun. 19th, 2017


Jun. 19th, 2017 04:38 pm
rinue: (Default)
Without thinking about it much, I assumed Stromboli in Disney's Pinocchio (1940) was named after the sandwich, because he is fat and Italian and it's an overstuffed pastry full of salty Italian meats. This assumption did not require any critical thinking on my part; it is a conclusion I came to as a kid and had no reason to doubt, and was not remotely important to my understanding of the movie or anything else in my life.

Thanks to a conversation yesterday about the character in the Collodi novel Disney adapted - who is named Mangiafuoco - I have now looked into it, and no. There is no relationship between the man and the sandwich. Mangiafuoco, literally translated, means fire eater. Stromboli (pronounced STROM-bo-li, not Strom-BO-li) is one of three active volcanoes in Italy; erupts continuously and explosively in a way characteristic enough that the type of eruption is called "strombolian eruption" when other volcanoes do it; is maybe the basis for Mount Doom and definitely the location of the ending of Journey to the Center of the Earth; and is nicknamed "the lighthouse of the Mediterranean." Probably the character is named after the volcano.

Definitely, he is not named after the food, which wasn't invented until the 1950s - invented in the U.S., not in Italy. This should be obvious to you if you've eaten in Italy and also eaten stromboli. It is so goddamn American and so 1950s. Italians haven't even heard of stromboli, the food. I guessed the place/time of origin before I even looked it up, at approximately the same second I found out the Italian name of the character was not Stromboli.

The food was also not named after the character, nor was it named for the volcano. It was named for a Rossellini film set near the volcano, Stromboli (1950), which is a masterpiece of Italian neo-realism, but was not popular in the U.S., partly because the studio re-edited the American release to be crap. It was, however, very well known in the U.S., because during the filming director Rossellini and star Ingrid Bergman had the out-of-wedlock affair that produced Isabella Rossellini.

Scandalous! This got Bergman blacklisted for a while, because of puritan assholery, but had a lot of Italian-American men cheering for Rossellini. In Italy, there was a partisanship divide based on whether you preferred Rossellini or his sometime romantic partner Anna Magnani, who was pissed off enough she made a competing movie, Volcano (1950).

At least two different Italian-American chefs claim to have invented the food, but both of them agree it is definitely named in slightly lewd honor of Rossellini - not for volcanic heartburn, but as a dick joke.

Meanwhile, the naming of the Pinocchio character is pretty highbrow and clever, I think. Hat tip to whatever writer came up with that.


rinue: (Default)

August 2017


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