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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>
(Some Spoilers) Despite the high hopes and bombastic claims by Adolf Hitler and the German High Command about achieving a swift and total victory in the invasion of the Soviet Union by Hitler's Wehrmacht which racked up spectacular results in the summer and fall of 1941. As cold and freezing weather set in the invading Axis forces started to bog down due to the severe Russian winter and stubborn and fanatical Soviet resistance. By the Red Army on the front lines and the Russian partisan bands behind them.
The Russian partisans were groups of lightly armed but highly motivated and disciplined men and women who ambushed German, and their allies, troops and disrupted the German supply and lines of communications. From the start of the war with the USSR on June 21, 1941 to when the German Army was finally driven out of Russia in the early spring of 1944 Russian partisans inflected over 500,000 casualties on the German army and it's allies. The film "Days of Glory" is about one of these Russian partisan bands, operating out of the swamps marshes and forests around the town of Yasnaya Polyana in Central Russia, led by Soviet Red Army officer Vladimir (Gregory Peck).
Far better then most movies made by Hollywood during WWII "Days of Glory" didn't overdo the Russian heroics as well as the evil and viciousness of the invading Germans. The bravest thing that happened in the movie, in regard to the Russian partisans, was when young Mitya, Glen Veron, was captured by the German Army. When Mitya was about to be executed he had a smile on his face and defiance in his voice, toward his German executioners, as he was hung in the town square.
The Germans for their part were brutal and ruthless to the Russian people that they were in control of. Non the less the Germans weren't as bad as in movies like "The North Star". Where they drained out the blood, like vampires, of the Russian villagers to be used to treat wounded German soldiers, with badly needed blood-transfusions. Or even like in the film "Till We Meet Again" where they, the Germans, raped and inducted Catholic Nuns into brothels to serve and entertain the German Army.
The movie has a very sad and touching love story with Vladimir and the two women who were in love with him Yelena & Nina, Maria Palmer & Tamara Toumanova, and resulted in one of them getting killed by the Germans. Leaving the other feeling guilty, and in a way responsible, about what happened to her. Yelena was a hardened guerrilla fighter who killed over 60 German soldiers during the war. Nina was a sweet sensitive and no-violent young women who was a star dancer in the Russian Bellet before the war began and a Russian guerrilla fighter after it started.
Even though the war action in "Days of Glory" was very sparse when it did come on the screen it was awesome. With a spectacular German ammunition train explosion and a tremendous shoot-out with the attacking German Army, at the very end of the movie. With the Russian Partisans, led by Vladimir and Nina, fighting for their lives with mostly home-made guns and grenades against German tanks planes and artillery pieces. "Days of Glory" did in no way celebrate the brutal Joeseph Stalin regime that ran Russia during WWII as well as before and after the war. In fact I don't remember hearing even once "Comrad Stalin's" name mentioned in the movie.
The film "Days of Glory" was about a people, the Russian people, raising up against an invader and fighting him with everything that they had at their disposal, as meager as it was; in order to drive him, the Germans, out of their homes and land for good and forever.
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