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Mangiafuoco (/ˌmɑːndʒəˈfwoʊkoʊ/ US dict: mân′·jə·fwō′·kō; Italian pronunciation: [mandʒaˈfwɔːko], literally "Fire-Eater") is the fictional directorand puppet master of the Great Marionette Theatre (Gran Teatro dei Burattini), who appears in Carlo Collodi's book The Adventures of Pinocchio(Le avventure di Pinocchio). He is described as "... a large man so ugly, he evoked fear by simply being looked at. He had a beard as black as a smudge of ink and so long that it fell from his chin down to the ground: enough so that when he walked, he stepped on it. His mouth was as wide as an oven, his eyes were like two red tinted lanterns with the light turned on at the back, and with his hands, he sported a large whip made of snakes and fox tails knotted together." Though imposing, Mangiafuoco is portrayed as easily moved to compassion, which he expresses by sneezing.



Role in the book[edit][]

Mangiafuoco is first encountered in Chapter X, after Pinocchio ruins one of his puppet shows by distracting the other puppets, and demands that Pinocchio be burned as firewood for his roasting mutton. Moved by Pinocchio's lamentations, Mangiafuoco decides to burn one of his own puppets, Harlequin (Arlecchino), instead. When Pinocchio begs for Harlequin's life and offers to sacrifice himself in Harlequin's stead, he is refused by Mangiafuoco, who upon hearing that he is poor, gives Pinocchio five gold coins, later seized by The Fox and the Cat (Il Gatto e la Volpe).

In other media[edit][]

Disney's Pinocchio[edit][]

Stromboli as he appears in Disney's Pinocchio
First appearance Pinocchio (1940)
Created by Bill Tytla
Voiced by Charles Judels

In the 1940 animated Disney film Pinocchio, Mangiafuoco is renamedStromboli (in Italian dub of the film "mangiafuoco" is Stromboli's epithet). The character is voiced by Charles Judels (who also voiced The Coachman in the same film), and animated by Bill Tytla. Unlike Mangiafuoco, who meets Pinocchio by chance, Stromboli buys Pinocchio from John Worthington Foulfellow and earns a great deal of money by showing Pinocchio on stage. Stromboli is at first portrayed as gruff but kind-hearted, but suddenly locks Pinocchio in a cage, stating that once he is too old to work, he will be used as firewood. Pinocchio escapes with the help of the Blue Fairy.

Despite his limited screen time, Stromboli is one of Disney's most infamous and acclaimed villains. The character has been praised by critics for possessing the ability to instill in audiences both laughter and fear.[1] Art critic Pierre Lambert has stated that "Tytla's innate sense of force is revealed in all its magnitude in the creation of the character of Stromboli,"[2] and animation historian Charles Solomon refers to the puppet master as "the grandest of all Disney heavies", while John Canemaker describes Stromboli as "an overweight monster of mercurial moods, capable of wine-soaked, garlic-breathed Old World charm one second, and knife-wielding, chop-you-up-for-firewood threats the next".[3] William Paul drew some parallelism that "It is not too difficult to regard Stromboli as burlesque of a Hollywood studio boss, complete with foreign accent. Disney's own relationship to the Hollywood power structure was always a difficult one, and his distrust of the moguls was well justified by his earliest experiences in the industry".[4]

During the premiere of Pinocchio, Frank Thomas sat in front of W.C. Fields, who, upon Stromboli's entrance, muttered to whoever was with him that the puppet master "moves too much". Michael Barrier agrees with Fields' criticism, considering Stromboli a "poorly conceived character" whose "passion has no roots... there is nothing in Stromboli of what could have made him truly terrifying".[5] Leonard Maltin disagrees, considering Pinocchio's encounter with the showman to be the wooden boy's "first taste of the seamy side of life... (Stromboli) tosses his hatchet into the remnants of another ragged marionette, now a pile of splinters and sawdust, a meekly smiling face the only reminder of its former 'life'."[6] Though the character is Italian, characteristics such as Stromboli's facial expressions, obsession with wealth, and long black 'goat's beard' have led some to make comparisons with Jewish stereotypes (particularly Hollywood moguls).[4]

Later portrayals[edit][]

  • In Giuliano Cencis 1972 adaptation Un burattino di nome Pinocchio, Mangiafuoco's portrayal is true to the book in design and personality. He is voiced by Michele Gammino.
  • In the 1987 animated film Pinocchio and the Emperor of the Night, a similar character named Puppetino (voiced byWilliam Windom) is a henchman to the Emperor of the Night who is given the power to turn children into puppets, which he does to Pinocchio and a girl named Twinkle. He is later betrayed by the Emperor and is turned into a puppet himself which is later burned when the Emperor of the Night's ship is destroyed.
  • In the 1993 direct to video adaptation entitled Pinocchio from GoodTimes Entertainment, Mangiafuoco (voiced by Jim Cummings) is not identified by name, but resembles the original character.
  • In Steve Barron's 1996 live action film The Adventures of Pinocchio, Mangiafuoco (who is played by Udo Kier) is renamed Lorenzini and is portrayed as the main antagonist of the film, encompassing 3 Different Villains: the Puppet Master, The Coachman, and the Sea Monster. He initially adopts Pinocchio into his puppet troupe when he enlists Volpe and Felinet to bring Pinocchio to him. Lorenzini is addicted to chilli peppers, identified as the cause of his "fiery" breath. After Pinocchio accidentally sets Lorenzini's theatre on fire, Lorenzini begins luring bad naughty boys to Terra Magica, where the children inevitably drink cursed water which turns them into donkeys. Lorenzini, during a struggle with Pinocchio, falls into the water and becomes The Monstrous Whale.
  • In The New Adventures of Pinocchio (a sequel to The Adventures of Pinocchio), it was shown that Lorenzini had a widowed wife named Madame Flambeau (played by Udo Kier) who owns a circus that took in the animal forms of Volpe and Felinet as part of the circus acts. Madame Flambeau turns out to be the disguise of Lorenzini.
  • In Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child, the character Mr. Buzzard (voiced by Garrett Morris) is based on Stromboli.
  • In Geppetto (2000), a television film broadcast on The Wonderful World of Disney, Mangiafuoco (again named Stromboli) is played by Brent Spiner. He is portrayed as an unsuccessful puppeteer who constantly argues with his ventriloquist's dummy and other puppets. He captures Pinocchio in order to use him as the main attraction in his puppet show, thus warning him it will violate a contract he had him sign to perform in every show he holds. When Pinocchio runs away from the show and goes to Pleasure Island, Stromboli sets out to recapture him, as well as Geppetto. When Pinocchio and Geppetto come home to the toy shop after escaping the whale, Stromboli shows them the contract and wants Pinocchio back with him. Geppetto offers his whole shop in exchange. When the Blue Fairy refuses to help Geppetto save Pinocchio, Geppetto pleads and begs to give him one last chance, she turns him into a real boy and frightens Stromboli away with her magic.
  • Mangiafuoco appears in the 2002 Pinocchio film played by Franco Iavarone while his English dub voice was provided byKevin James.
  • In the 2007 film Shrek the Third, a Puppet Master (voiced by Chris Miller) similar to Mangiafuoco appears who refers to Pinocchio as his "star puppet" and is a villainous character like Disney's Stromboli. As Prince Charming rouses the band of villains at the Poison Apple tavern to join him, he says to the Puppet Master that "Your star puppet abandons the show to go and find his father". His only line is "I hate that little wooden puppet". Though he is not seen, his name is used in the title of the Shrek the Third level "Stromboli's Workshop." A picture of himself could be seen in the video game.