DENNIS SCHWARTZ 
IS THERE ANY GOOD 
IN SAYING 
EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?

 
FOUR DAYS OF NAPLES, THE (LE QUATTRO GIORNATE DI NAPOLI) (director/writer: Nanni Loy; screenwriters: Carlo Bernari/Pasquale Festa Campanile/Massimo Franciosa; cinematographer: Marcello Gatti; editor: Ruggero Mastroianni; music: Carlo Rustichelli; cast: Regina Bianchi (Concetta Capuozzo), Aldo Giuffre (Pitrella), Lea Massari (Maria), Jean Sorel (Livornese), Franco Sportelli (Professor Rosati), Charles Belmont (Sailor),Gian Maria Volonte (Stimolo); Frank Wolff (Salvatore), Luigi De Filippo (Cicillo), Pupella Maggio (Mother of Arturo); Georges Wilson (Reformatory director), Raffaele Barbato (Ajello), Dominico Formato (Gennaro Capuozzo), Curt Lowens (Sakau), Enzo Turco (Valente); Runtime: 121; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Goffredo Lombardo; MGM; 1962-Italy-in Italian with English subtitles)

 
"Inspired by actual events."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
 
Italian filmmaker Nanni Loy ("Where's Picone?"/"Made in Italy"/"Heads I Win, Tails You Lose") directs this somewhat gripping black and white Open City type of wartime urban guerrilla drama. It tells of the citizens of Naples revolting against German atrocities, as the Neapolitans fight German artillery and tanks in the city streets. It's inspired by actual events. Loy nicely reconstructs the 1943 city battle that results in the heroic efforts by the Italians of driving the Nazis out of Naples.

General Badoglio of the Italian Army signs an armistice with the Allies on September 8, 1943, but the German Wehrmacht ignores the truce and easily occupies the city of Naples as the confused Italian army disbands. The Germans publicly execute an innocent Italian sailor and round up as many of the the male inhabitants of the city as they can locate for deportation to German labor camps as slave labor. On September 28, the Germans use a soccer stadium to randomly execute 50 men being held for delivery to a German work camp, after street fighting to release the men taken to the labor camps resulted in five Nazis killed. The Germans intend to show they mean business about any attempts to disobey their orders and attempt to scare the Italians from further retaliations. Instead the people of Naples organize a massive four-day rebellion against the Germans and after four bloody days of fighting the Germans retreat, just as the Americans are about to enter.

At times things seem too staged to excite, as the filmmaker knows just when to pull the strings to tug at the audience's heart and when to lighten up with some comedy relief. Many characters emerge as heroes, with no main characters in starring roles. The ones that caught my attention were a boy named Gennaro running away from his daffy mom to fight the war and getting killed trying to take out a tank on his own, and civilian heroes like Professor Rosati (heading the resistance), Salvatore (a tough street-fighter), the patriotic reform school inmate Ayello (leading the charge against the Germans with his fellow reform school inmates) and the reform school director fighting with his juvenile delinquent inmates.

It's shot like a documentary, in a neo-realist style.

REVIEWED ON 6/11/2011       GRADE: B

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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