Days of Glory (1944 film)

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Days of Glory
Daysofglory.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJacques Tourneur
Written byMelchior Lengyel
Screenplay byCasey Robinson
Produced byCasey Robinson
StarringTamara Toumanova
Gregory Peck
CinematographyTony Gaudio
Edited byJoseph Noriega
Music byDaniele Amfitheatrof
Constantin Bakaleinikoff
Production
company
Distributed byRKO Radio Pictures
Release date
  • June 8, 1944 (1944-06-08)
Running time
86 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguagesEnglish
German
Budget$958,000[1]

Days of Glory is a 1944 American film, directed by Jacques Tourneur, which tells the story of a group of Soviet guerrillas fighting back during the 1941 Nazi invasion of Russia. It marked the film debut of Tamara Toumanova and Gregory Peck, as well as most of the other principal actors. 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]

In the snowy Russian countryside of the early 1940s, Vladimir (Gregory Peck) leads a squad of nearly a dozen partisan fighters operating behind German lines. The group's routines are disrupted when Nina (Tamara Toumanova), a ballerina, is brought to their hideout after becoming separated from her troupe. She confesses she has neither handled a gun nor learned to fight, cook, mend, or clean. Vladimir favors sending her away. Later, a German soldier stumbles upon the group's lair but is captured. That night, he nearly escapes, but Nina shoots him, winning the approval of her new comrades. The next night, when the guerrillas carry out the sabotage of a German munitions train, Vladimir takes Nina along. The operation is a success. Yet although she and Vladimir are falling in love, Nina does not understand his ruthlessness. He explains that before the war he, as an engineer, had to destroy the very electric power plant he had helped build in order to keep the enemy from using it.

The couple's budding romance threatens the stability of the squad. At one point, when Vladimir must enlist someone to hand-deliver a coded message on Nazi troop strength to Soviet headquarters, he decides a woman courier would less likely be caught. He chooses the veteran Yelena (Maria Palmer), the only woman in the group besides Nina. So when Yelena's horse returns to their hideout with blood on the saddle, Nina then volunteers to take her place. Vladimir reluctantly accedes, sending the teen-aged boy Mitya (Glen Vernon) along with her. After Nina and Mitya reach headquarters and deliver Vladimir's information, she is given a coded reply to Vladimir: "The snow will fall tomorrow." This indicates that a massive Russian counterattack will begin the next day. Vladimir's superiors put him in charge of a merged partisan operation. Before the fighting begins, however, he orders Nina to take Mitya's younger sister, Olga (Dena Penn), to safety. Fighting bravely, the group's members are killed one by one, but Nina returns to Vladimir. As they fight on, he administers her the partisan oath of allegiance just before a German tank rolls atop their machine-gun nest and explodes.

Cast[edit]

Peck and Toumanova

Production[edit]

Days of Glory is one of a handful of Hollywood films made during American participation in World War II to increase public support for the country's alliance with the Soviet Union against Nazi Germany. Such films, which would become the target of investigations during the Cold War by the House Committee on Un-American Activities, included Mission to Moscow, The North Star, Three Russian Girls, Counter-Attack, and Song of Russia.[5]

Parts of the film were shot in Cedar City, Utah.[6]: 287 

Reception[edit]

Bosley Crowther faulted the screenwriter for "letting his story progress so fitfully and loading his characters with dialogue rather than stirring deeds." He said "the director failed to make the best of what he had," and "Gregory Peck comes recommended with a Gary Cooper angularity and a face somewhat like that modest gentleman's, but his acting is equally stiff."[7] The film recorded a loss of $593,000.[8]

Award nominations[edit]

Vernon L. Walker, James G. Stewart, and Roy Granville were nominated for the Oscar for Best Effects.[9]

See also[edit]

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. ^ Small, Melvin (Winter 1973). "Buffoons and Brave Hearts: Hollywood Portrays the Russians, 1939-1944". California Historical Quarterly. 52 (4): 326–337. doi:10.2307/25157468. JSTOR 25157468.
  6. ^ D'Arc, James V. (2010). When Hollywood came to town: A history of moviemaking in Utah (1st ed.). Layton, Utah: Gibbs Smith. ISBN 9781423605874.
  7. ^ Crowther, Bosley (June 17, 1944). "' Days of Glory,' Starring Tamara Toumanova and Gregory Peck, at Palace -- Mexican Film Opens" – via NYTimes.com.
  8. ^ Richard B. Jewell, Slow Fade to Black: The Decline of RKO Radio Pictures, Uni of California, 2016
  9. ^ "The 17th Academy Awards (1945) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Retrieved 2013-06-23.

External links[edit]