Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Italian Fascism in Color|
This is the untold story of how Mussolini seized power through systematic intimidation, violence and murder.
Good beginning; mediocre ending
midwestguy | Peoria, IL United States | 11/02/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Very little is available in English on Italian Fascism, unlike the veritable flood of books, films, and memorabilia on Nazi Germany. This documentary attempts to tell the history of Fascist Italy using color (or colorized) newsreels, still photos, modern shots of historical locations, and reinactments under the narration. It makes this history more real by interweaving the stories of a few representative people--who they were, what they did, how they shaped or reacted to events--into the larger historical story.
The first section of the DVD concentrates on the rise of the Fascists. It shows how the fascist movement arose from the turmoil and disillusion in Italy following World War I. Interestingly, in this section of the film Mussolini is mentioned relatively infrequently. Instead, the documentary concentrates on local or regional fascist "bosses" in the cities, and especially on conditions and events in rural areas, where the fascists battle both socialists/communists as well as Catholic organizations. Among other things, it dramatizes the fascist siege of Parma, in which the fascists were defeated by the armed and organized socialists. As the film makes clear, the fascists and their sympathizers were never in the majority in post-war Italy, and their rise to power was not inevitable. It was only because of the collusion of established heirachies--the King of Italy, the Vatican--that the fascist were able to take control. I found this section to be very well done and quite interesting.
Unfortunately, the second section of the DVD, Mussolini in Power, was not nearly as well done as the first. Whereas the section on the rise to power convered a period of perhaps five years, the section on the fascists in power covered some twenty years in the same amount of time. Instead of being a history of Italy, it becomes the story of Mussolini (these were not the same thing); and even as the story of Mussolini it is rushed and supperficial, recounting only the main events of his rule. For the most part, we get little idea of what it was like to live in Italy under the fascists, how the fascists operated once in power, or how they changed Italian society. The documentary still supplements history by focusing on a few individuals, except in this case the individuals are Mussolini and his son-in-law Count Ciano (though, to be fair, it also does complete the story of one of the characters from the first part). Count Ciano was chosen not only because his diaries provide an insiders account of Mussolini but also because of the natural drama of the story of Mussolini's relationship with his son-in-law (in the end, Mussolini had him executed at the insistance of the Germans). But by focusing so tightly on these two men (or three, if you include Hitler), the documentary fails to provide the larger picture and historical background. For example, it covers the Italian invasion of Ethiopia in just a few minutes, neglecting any discussion of prior Italian colonization in the area, and failing to mention that in 1896 the Italians became the only European nation militarily defeated by the "third world" peoples they were attempting to colonize (the Ethiopians, at the Battle of Adowa). Even in its coverage of Italy in World War II there are many interesting stories that the documentary could have included but does not. For example, in the first section on the fascist rise to power, we see Italo Balbo commanding the losing fascist troups at the battle for Parma. I was very much looking forward to how the documentary would deal with Balbo's role in the fascist state, and especially the question of whether on not Mussolini had him assassinated. However, Balbo is not even mentioned in the second section.
Since this is one of the few documentaries in English that deals with Fascist Italy I hate to not recommend it. The first section on the rise to power is very well done and worth watching. As for the second section, you would probably learn as much or more from some of the American TV dramas which were made about Mussolini (in one, he was played by George C. Scott; I think there are two in which he was played by Rod Steiger). The real value of the second section is that it shows footage of acutal people and historic events, and as such is a supplement to a history of the period such as Bosworth's "Mussolini's Italy"."
The Rise And Fall of Fascism
T. Trifonoff | Berri South Australia | 06/09/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There are few DVDs showing the rise of Fascism in Italy, as compared to the multitude showing the rise of Hitler in Germany.
This has been corrected somwhat with the release of this DVD, showing the rise of Mussolini and the Fascists in Italy and how this impacted in Europe, and eventually the world.
In two parts, and in colour, we see the rise and eventual destruction of Fascism in Italy. The colourisation, whilst not in the same league as "World War 1 in Colour" does not detract from the subject matter, and complements it.
I knew only a little about Mussolini before I bought this DVD, but I learnt a lot from it. As a history lesson it is terrific.
Recommended for those who have had enough of Hiler and the Nazis, and want to know more about a dictator who has become, over the years, a figure of buffoonery, but at the time seen in a very different light."