Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

L'oro di Roma, 1961

GOLD OF ROME: One more trip back to Italy in the early '60s for this impressive film by Carlo Lizzani - another one I did not know as it may never have been released in the UK, but again, it is on YouTube complete at 93 minutes.

It used a fictional story to recount the facts behind the final deportation of the Jews of Rome: Nazi Colonel Herbert Kappler summoned the highest representatives of the Jewish community ordering them to collect 50 kgs of gold within 36 hours. The punishment in case of failure or disobedience was the detention of 200 people. Gold was collected and brought but on nothing could save 1259 Jews from deportation: it was the beginning of the end for the Jewish community of the Ghetto of Rome.

The film stars French actor Gerard Blain as the militant Jew determind to fight back and who joins the partisans, and Jean Sorel (again, see below) as the Catholic who falls for Jewish Anna Maria Ferrero who witnesses the start of the round-up. The Roman locations are nicely used and we see a lot of the Jewish community as they try to reason with the Germans and understand what is happening to them as they are rounded up. One of many films then on the German occupation of Rome, like THE RED AND THE BLACK 1983 (Christopher Plummer plays Kappler here, to Gregory Peck's priest in the Vatican, with John Gielgud excellent as Pius XIIP) [review at War link] and MASSACRE IN ROME with Mastroianni and Burton.

The film was shown in New York a few years ago on Remberance Day, with director Lizzani present. Having recently enjoyed De Sica's L'ORO DI NAPOLI (Mangano, Loren, De Sica, Italian labels) and other early 60s Italian movies like GHOSTS OF ROME, THE LONG NIGHT OF '43, and the '51 ANNA - as reviews below - this is an interesting addition. Now for BITTER RICE (RISO AMARO) before moving on to some modern titles ...
Another great Italian war film of this era is the 1962 well-regarded FOUR DAYS OF NAPLES by Nanni Loy, with Jean Sorel again as a sailor who gets shot by the invading forces; one to track down then!

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