What could you buy in Italy in 1937 for two lire? Here’s what it got you: a seat in the dark, waiting in quiet anticipation of an exhilarating adventure, a tear-jerker love story or the thriller of a lifetime—at least until the next movie was released in the theatres. In Fascist Italy, going to the flicks became a national pastime, an hour devoted to escaping the monotony of life and entering into the fantastic realm of the imagination. And while Italian cinema did exist, the majority of films viewed by Italians were imported from Hollywood, adding to the appeal and magic of the silver screen. People were so enamored with movies that Benito Mussolini adopted a Hollywood-style model when constructing Cinecittà, or Cinema City, in the Roman capital. Although most of the world saw America only through Hollywood’s rose-colored lens, America’s glamorous divas and charming playboys quickly become the world’s principal reference points for American life and culture. People wanted to laugh with Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton, swoon for Gary Cooper and dream of being Greta Garbo.