Days of Glory (1944 film)

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Days of Glory
Daysofglory.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Jacques Tourneur
Produced by Casey Robinson
Written by Casey Robinson
Starring Tamara Toumanova
Gregory Peck
Music by Daniele Amfitheatrof
Cinematography Tony Gaudio
Edited by Joseph Noriega
Production
  company
RKO Radio Pictures
Distributed by RKO Radio Pictures
Release date(s)
  • June 8, 1944 (1944-06-08)
Running time 86 minutes
Country United States
Language English
German
Budget $958,000[1]

Days of Glory is a 1944 American film which tells the story of a group of Soviet guerrillas fighting back during the 1941 Nazi invasion of Russia. It starred Tamara Toumanova and Gregory Peck (in their feature film debuts). It was also the first film produced by screen writer Casey Robinson, who in early January 1943 had been contracted by RKO Radio Pictures to write and produce the film under the working title This Is Russia.[2] Robinson and Toumanova married in 1944[3] and divorced in 1955.[4]

Plot[edit]

Nina Ivanova (Toumanova), a Russian dancer, becomes separated from a group sent to entertain the troops. She is found and taken to the hideout of a partisan group led by Vladimir (Peck) operating behind the German lines near the city of Tula. At first, the veteran guerrillas do not know what to make of her. Youngster Olga is astonished that she does not know how to fight, cook, mend or clean. The men, however, are entranced by her beauty.

When a German soldier stumbles upon their lair, he is captured. Vladimir is ready to execute him out of hand for answering his questions with transparent lies. Nina is aghast at the thought. The highly educated Semyon persuades Vladimir to give the prisoner a fair trial the next day. That night, the German tries to escape, forcing Nina to shoot him. This act gains her the group's acceptance.

The next time the guerrillas carry out an attack, Vladimir takes her along. They lay explosives under a railroad track and blow up a German ammunition train. While hiding from a German patrol, Vladimir and Nina embrace and kiss. Although she has fallen in love with him, she does not understand his ruthlessness. He explains that before the war he was an engineer, proud to have helped build a dam to provide electricity. He had to destroy it to keep it out the hands of the Germans.

When Vladimir has to send a message to headquarters, he decides a woman would be less likely to be suspected. He chooses the veteran Yelena, the only other woman in the group and a skilled sniper. Yelena loves Vladimir herself. She is killed by the Germans, forcing Vladimir to try again, this time by sending Nina. However, he softens enough to send along the teenage Mitya with her. They get through, then rendezvous with Vladimir at a village with the message that the long hoped for first Russian counterattack will begin the next day ("The snow will fall tomorrow"). When a German officer unexpectedly confiscates the house in which Vladimir is hiding, Mitya spits in the German's face before he can discover the guerrilla leader. He is taken away and questioned. Nina begs Vladimir to do something, but he cannot risk endangering his part in the next day's operations. When Mitya refuses to betray his comrades, he is publicly hanged. Nina watches helplessly from the crowd.

Vladimir is put in charge of all the local partisans. They are ordered to attack and then retreat to draw away a German reserve force. Thus, when the Russian spearhead breaks through, there will be nothing in its path. One by one, Vladimir's men die bravely. In the last scene, Vladimir and Nina resist as an enemy tank approaches and fills the screen, then blows up in front of them.

Cast[edit]

Award nominations[edit]

Vernon L. Walker, James G. Stewart and Roy Granville were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Richard Jewell & Vernon Harbin, The RKO Story. New Rochelle, New York: Arlington House, 1982. p194
  2. ^ Long Beach Independent, January 10, 1943, page 31: RKO Signs Casey Robinson to Write, Produce "This Is Russia" Retrieved 2012-08-29
  3. ^ Is Ballet Dancing Slavery? The Examiner (Tasmania), April 19, 1952 - Retrieved 2012-08-29
  4. ^ Hamilton Daily News Journal, October 19, 1955, page 7: Little Black Book Leads to Divorce Retrieved 2012-08-29
  5. ^ "The 17th Academy Awards (1945) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Retrieved 2013-06-23. 

External links[edit]