Saturday, May 2, 2009


You might recognize this swinging Italian tune from "The Talented Mr. Ripley," a film adapted from a crime novel by Patricia Highsmith. (An even better adaptation of the same book is "Plein Soleil," a french film from 1960 starring Alain Delon as Ripley) In this scene, Jude Law and Matt Damon join a jumping Italian band to sing Tu Vuo' Fa' L'Americano. See if you can keep up.

Tu vuo' fa l'americano !
" mmericano! "mmericano!
siente a me, chi t'ho fa fa ?
tu vuoi vivere alla moda
ma si bive " Whisky and soda"
p? te sente' e disturb?
tu abballe'o" Rocco Roll"
tu giochi al "basebal"
ma'e solde pe' camel
chi te li d? ?...
la borsetta di mamm? !
tu vou' fa l'americano
" mmericano, "mmericano!"
ma si nato in Italy !
siente a me non ce st? niente a fa
okay, napolitan !
tu vuo' fa l'american !

The original, by Renato Carosone in 1958.

What's the meaning of this canzone Napolitane? Here is a rough translation:

You want to make like an American,
You want to make like an American,
And want to live in the latest style,
But when you drink whiskey & soda it makes you sick.

You dance to rock & roll and play baseball,
Sure, but when you need money for Camels,
Where do you go? To Mamma's pocketbook.

So you want to make like an American,
But you were born in Italy.
Seems to me there's nothing to be done.
OK, you're Neapolitan anyway.

Another take on Mr. Ripley, "Plein Soleil," directed by René Clément in 1960

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