Days of Glory (1944)
Peck Starts the Road to Glory
"Days of Glory" is about a group of guerrillas hiding out in the woods and battling the Nazi enemy. That doesn't sound in the least bit special as there were a variety of movies made about Guerillas fighting the Nazis, except this is an American made movie from the 1940s which focuses on and praises Russian Guerillas. Now that does make it a little bit different as does the fact that this movie marked the movie debut of various actors including Gregory Peck. But whilst it does have these unique aspects "Days of Glory" is in truth no more special than any other war movie about Guerrillas and is little more than a propaganda movie to have people realise that Russians were fighting the common enemy.
With the Nazis advancing into Russia, groups of Russian guerrillas hide out in the forests, picking off the enemy and planning for a major attack. One of these groups is lead by Vladimir (Gregory Peck - The Sea Wolves) who is 100% focussed on the job at hand to the point he blanks Nina (Tamara Toumanova), a beautiful Russian ballet dancer who ends up staying with them. That is until Nina kills a German and suddenly Vladimir not only notices her but falls for her leading to him becoming conflicted when tough decisions have to be made.
"Days of Glory" is a pure propaganda movie and its purpose was at the time to show Americans that Russians were in the fight with them against the common enemy. What does that mean well we have various Russian characters, characters that in truth could have been any nationality as what goes on in the movie is typical of any war movie featuring Guerrillas. As such we watch them pick of the enemy, put themselves in danger, have great friendships during quite times and prepared to sacrifice themselves for the greater good. All of which works to build a solid if unremarkable storyline which of course also has a typical romantic subplot as Vladimir falls for Nina.
Aside from the USP of this being an American movie from the 1940s which praises Russian Guerrillas there is also the USP that the cast were making their movie debuts. Whilst it does say this at the start of the movie it is not entirely true as some of the cast had been in other movies but this is the movie which marked Gregory Peck's movie debut. You wouldn't know that this was Peck's debut in front of the camera because he comes across as relaxed and delivering a performance of someone who was a veteran movie star. In fact all the acting is good with Tamara Toumanova working well with Peck when it comes to the romantic subplot but unfortunately the characters are generic, typical of this sort of movie.
What this all boils down to is that "Days of Glory" achieves its purpose which for when it was made was to show that Russians were fighting the same fight, putting themselves in the same danger and making the same sacrifices. But in truth whilst solid "Days of Glory" is just a typical 1940s movie about Guerrillas fighting the enemy and that is it.
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