Saturday, May 23, 2015
Noted by Martin Scorsese in My Voyage to Italy but seldom screened in the U.S., Days of Glory marked the first documentary on the German occupation of Rome and Italian resistance in the waning years of World War II. Commissioned by the Allies’ Psychological Warfare Branch, the film was shot over two years by four soon-to-be major figures in postwar Italian cinema, with Luchino Visconti covering the trial of Fascist police chief Pietro Caruso, who organized the Ardeatine massacre of 300 Italian prisoners as reprisal for a partisan attack. With just one prior directorial credit, Visconti was entrusted with eight cameras and captured such eruptions as the murder of a prosecution witness mistaken by the mob for Caruso. A harrowing companion piece to Rome, Open City and a crucial record of Italy’s wartime experience.