14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
W. GRUENDLER I I
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Here's a film that no decent Gregory Peck fan should be without. Perhaps this is why the video is OUT OF STOCK?? Or perhaps the subject matter - The Great Patriotic War - is unpopular in these days of glory in occupied Iraq? The things that strike me about this film, apart from Peck's rawboned, wide-eyed performance (yes, his VERY FIRST) are the deep B&W photography and the treatment of children in the movie.... it's as though much of the story is seen through their eyes. Indeed, "Enemy at the Gates" owes a plotline to "Days of Glory". In fact, I am gonna go ahead and put this on my list of grand all-time war movies 'about' children, right up there with Boorman's "Hope and Glory" (similarity intentional, Bro. John?); "Come and See"; "Empire of the Sun"; "The North Star"; "Back to Bataan"; and of course "Mrs. Miniver". Perhaps YOU can add others?
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
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This iis Gregory Peck's first movie role. The film was made back when Stalin was good ole uncle Joe. So pre Korea, pre Mac Carthy, pre the USSR getting their very own bomb. This is a good dramactic tale for a WWII movie. I'm not sure just how they did it but the German tanks in this film look just like, German tanks ... something that I don't think happened again in an American film until Kelly's Heros.
8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
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The year was 1944. Screenwriter and producer Casey Robinson wanted to chronicle the harrowing and valiant resistance of the Russian people against the Nazi military machine that invaded their homeland in 1941. To give the film a look of realism Robinson went outside Hollywood to find fresh young faces for the leads. He cast New York theatre actor Gregory Peck and ballerina Tamara Toumanova to star. Robinson got Jacques Tourneur to director based on his imaginative work (CAT PEOPLE) for producer Val Lewton. There are some good action sequences but the film is weighed down by Robinson's own script that is full of long stretches of dialogue and many romantic interludes which detracts from the intended theme of the film. The film's greatest assets are Gregory Peck's performance as Vladimir the leader of the Russian resistance and Academy Award Nominated Special Effects by Vernon L. Walker.
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I have fond memories of watching this film on TV (under the title INN OF THE FRIGHTENED PEOPLE) during the 70's with my late mother. It was a favorite of hers, thanks to the psychological, rather than physical, violence as well the surprise ending and would soon become a favorite of mine, too (for the same reasons). The TV showings dried-up during the mid-80's and, besides a short-lived AIR Video VHS release (using the title BEHIND THE CELLAR DOOR), it disappeared from view. Imagine my surprise finding this tight little thriller on DVD. The story is simple: Jim and Carol Radford (James Booth, Joan Collins) lose one of their daughters (it's actually Carol's step-daughter) when she is raped and killed by a pedophile when leaving school. The police arrest a suspect named Seely (Kenneth Griffith), but have to release him when all the evidence in the case against him turns out to be circumstantial. A distraught Jim enlists the help of his teenage son Lee (Tom Marshall) and family friend Harry (Ray Barrett) to kidnap Seely and bring him to the Radford's cellar, which sits below a crowded pub that the Radford's own and run. After slugging Seely a few times (even Carol gets in a few licks), they tie him up and must decide what to do with him. As they try to keep their prisoner a secret from their other daughter Jill (Zuleika Robson), Lee's fiancee Rose (Sinead Cusack), who works as a waitress at the pub, and the pub's patrons, the Radfords and Harry begin fighting amongst each other (especially about who is actually going to kill him) and have many close calls with their new prisoner, including a couple of nosy beer deliverymen and an escape by Seely. When information comes to light that Seely may actually be innocent, it puts the Radfords into an even deeper quandary: Should they let him go and hope for the best or should they kill him to cover up their mistake? After all, haven't they all suffered enough? When Seely returns to the Radford's home on his own after the escape, that seems to resolve their problem, but the surprise ending (which I won't reveal here) is a doozy and fits in perfectly with the rest of this tension-filled film. It's a shocker. This is an excellent little British thriller (originally filmed under the simple descriptive title REVENGE) that should be seen by those that like their films suspenseful and well-plotted. Unrelenting in tone, this film ponders the age-old questions: How far would you be willing to go to achieve justice, when all legal avenues have failed you? How far do you have to cross that invisible line in the sand before it's too late to turn back? Could you murder someone to satisfy that sense of justice? This film will make anyone think twice about committing vigilante justice, especially when they witness how it tears at the fabric of a tight-knit family. The acting here is top-notch, especially by both James Booth (AVENGING FORCE - 1986) and Joan Collins (those who know Collins only by her DYNASTY role, 80's TV movies and soap opera appearances are in for a surprise). They play decent, upstanding citizens who let their grief of losing their daughter get the best of them and their actions and guilt over what they do next will, unfortunately, do more damage to their lives and the lives of their remaining family members than the rape and murder of their daughter ever will. The look on Carol's face as she listens through the wall as her stepson Lee and Rose fight (Lee is unable to sexually perform due to his guilt of kidnapping Seely) says a lot, but when Lee rips off Carol's blouse and rapes her in front of Seely (after she tries to console him over what she has just heard), you know things are going to go downhill very quickly. Director Sidney Hayers, who also gave us the rape-themed IN THE DEVIL'S GARDEN (1971; a.k.a. ASSAULT and THE CREEPERS) and the underrated thriller DEADLY STRANGERS (1974), keeps things moving briskly and the script (by John Kruse) is expertly paced and not condescending. There is a smattering of blood, but the film is not about violence, it's about the breakdown of a family due to violence. Carol's rape is only seen through Seely's shattered eyeglasses, wonderfully projecting the disintegration of the Radford family. Required viewing for thriller fans. Also known as AFTER JENNY DIED. Also starring Donald Morley, Barry Andrews, Artro Morris and Patrick McAlinney. Available on DVD in its original OAR from Scorpion Releasing under the title REVENGE! It's the only way to watch the film. Rated PG.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Dr. James Gardner
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"Days of Glory" belongs to that unfortunate set of films (e.g., "The North Star", "Our Russian Front", "The Battle of Russia", "The Boy from Stalingrad", "Mission to Moscow", "Song of Russia") that glorified the Russian struggle against the Nazis in World War 2, and then got caught in the political winds of change during the Cold War, and quickly disappeared.
The film takes place in 1941 outside the Russian city of Tula where a group of Russian guerillas prepares for the counterattack against the Nazis. It was based on a story by Melchior Lengyel whose work formed the basis for "Ninotcha" (1939) and "To Be or Not to Be" (1942).
This was the film debut of Gregory Peck (1912-2003) who went on to become a film icon, ranked #12 on the AFI list of Greatest Male Actors. He won an Oscar for "To Kill a Mockingbird" (1962) and was nominated 4 more times ("Twelve O'clock High", "Gentleman's Agreement", "The Yearling", "The Keys of the Kingdom"). He was nominated for an Emmy in 1998 for the TV film "Moby Dick" for which he won the Golden Globe. He had two other Golden Globe nominations ("The Boys from Brazil", "Macarthur").
FWIW - despite all his war films, Peck never served in the military, being classified 4F due to a spinal injury.
This was also the film debut of Russian ballet dancer Tamara Toumanova (1919-96) who plays (guess what?) a Russian ballerina. She made only 7 films including "Torn Curtain" in which she played a Russian ballerina. She married Casey Robinson, the producer on this film.
Husky Alan Reed (1907-77) also made his film debut, as one of the partisans. He's best known as the voice of Fred Flintstone, but he was a busy actor, best known for playing Pancho Villa in "Viva Zapata" (1952).
This was the first film as a producer/writer for Casey Robinson (1903-1979) whose main claim to fame was his 1935 Oscar nomination as the writer of "Captain Blood".
Director Jacques Tourneur (1904-77) is best known for his work on films with Val Lewton, like "Cat People" (1942), "I Walked with a Zombie" (1942), and "The Leopard Man" (1943). In the 50s he transitioned to TV. This was his first big budget film for RKO.
1944 was not a strong year for films. "Going my Way" was the big multiple Oscar winner. "Gaslight" did well at the box office and won Ingrid Bergman an Oscar. Other notable films were Judy Garland's "Meet me in St Louis", "Double Indemnity", "Arsenic and Old Lace". War films were popular - "Lifeboat", "Since You Went Away", "To Have and Have Not", "Hollywood Canteen", "The Fighting Seabees", "Ministry of Fear", "Passage to Marseille", and "The Fighting Sullivans".
The NY Times called the film "artful but daring" and "grim and relentless" but disliked the heavy emphasis on dialogue rather than action, and called Peck's acting "stiff." Indeed Peck himself didn't like his performance and refused to watch the film.
Not only is the action sparse, the special effects are pretty meager. The film is clearly shot on a sound stage and there are very few on location shots.
Bottom line - an OK war film, but if you want to see a better film about the Russian struggle against the Nazis, try "The North Star".