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In late 1941, with the Nazi invasion of Russia still advancing, the Red Army leaves bands of guerillas behind in the forests. One such band is joined by beautiful ballet dancer Nina; initially inept, a series of bitter lessons gradually make her a seasoned soldier. The group still form human attachments, despite the shadow of grim death that makes their greatest hope one of selling their lives dearly... Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This tribute to Russian resistance in World War II gave Gregory Peck his opportunity for a starring film screen debut. No walk-ons, or bit parts are in Peck's career resume. He was billed a star from the beginning.
Not that Days of Glory was the greatest of debuts. In fact it was only in his second film, The Keys of the Kingdom for which he got his first Oscar nomination that made him a big star. Still Peck as the stoic and brooding Russian peasant resistance leader certainly had star quality written all over him.
Now that the Cold War is over we can appreciate the Russian contribution to defeating Nazism without getting hung up over Communism. The Russians took a quick study in what defeated Napoleon and applied those lessons to World War II. Where you see the German Army in the Ukraine in Days of Glory is roughly how far they advanced into the Soviet Union. Those partisans that Peck heads are on the cutting edge as factories are being transported and rebuilt in the Urals and east of same and the Red Army is being reorganized. Joe Stalin is also looking a military leadership team to beat the Nazis.
The Russian people took a tremendous toll and it was the great worry of both Roosevelt and Churchill up to the Allied invasion of Normandy that Stalin might just make a separate peace. If he had the world would be very different.
Peck's love interest was dancer Tamara Toumanova who plays a dancer caught up in the partisan movement. As an actress she's a great dancer, she's seen to better advantage in Alfred Hitchcock's Torn Curtain where she concentrates on dancing.
Days of Glory did get an Oscar nomination for Special Effects, but despite that it's essentially an A picture from a B picture studio, RKO. Still it's not a bad last stand story and a decent enough debut for Gregory Peck.
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