Cinecittà studios: Google Doodle marks 77th anniversary of 'The Dream Factory'

The sprawling Cinecittà film studio in Rome is perhaps most famous for its association with the flamboyant director Federico Fellini

The sprawling Cinecittà film studio in Rome, dubbed 'The Dream Factory', and perhaps most famous for its association with the flamboyant director Federico Fellini, has been celebrated with a Google Doodle.

Founded in 1937 by the dictator Benito Mussolini the aim of the 40-hectare (100-acre) facility was to revive the flagging fortunes of the Italian film industry.

The studios, dubbed the Hollywood on the Tiber during the 1950s because of its remarkably prolific output, was inaugurated on the 21 April 1937.

They were put under the control of Mussolini's son Vittorio, and his head of cinema Luigi Freddi for propaganda purposes. They operated under the slogan "Il cinema è l'arma più forte" (Cinema is the most powerful weapon).

 

Damaged during the bombing of Rome in the Second World War the studios reopened in the 1950s and drew some of the biggest and most successful Hollywood productions of the era.

They were the location for, among others, the epic Ben-Hur,  Helen of Troy (1956), Francis of Assisi (1961), Cleopatra (1963), The Agony and the Ecstasy (1965), and the Fellini classics, La Dolce Vita, considered by many to be his finest film, Satyricon and in later years Fellini's Casanova.

Federico Fellini

More recent productions include Martin Scorsese's Gangs of New York, Wes Anderson's The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and  The Passion of the Christ, directed by Mel Gibson. in 2007 a fire destroyed sets used in a HBO and BBC series about ancient Rome.

Fellini once said of the famous studios that they were "my ideal world, the cosmic space before the big bang".

The Google Doodle depicts a director filming surrounded by huge backdrops featuring architecture from around the world.

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