Toth Database - Cinema

 Fascist propaganda film



During the early years of fascism, the Duce earlyto give importance to the cinema as a medium of mass communication by stating publicly that feel it the strongest weapon of the State. The first movie to be considered fascist propaganda, is The cry of the Eagle (1923) by Mario Fox, one of the first films to March on Rome

In the movie the Duce was enhanced by linking it to the figure of Garibaldi. As well as the shape of Mussolini was tied to that of the hero of two worlds, in the film was also associated with the figure of the Serpent (with obvious Biblical references) to that of Communist. It is therefore an extremely high level of symbolization, mechanism which became very common in films of Propaganda Fascista. In 1924, the year of the short crisis suffered by System Fascista after the murder of Socialist Deputy Giacomo Matteotti, was established The Educational Film Union, known as the Istituto Luce, of which the various ministries they used for the production of newsreels and documentaries with educational and propaganda purposes. In 1934 was created the Undersecretariat of State for Print and the Propaganda, later transformed in Ministry for the press and the Propaganda in 1935. Finally it was renamed Ministry of popular culture in 1937. The main function of the Ministero consisted in the publications control and censorship of documents considered dangerous for the regime, but also operated in the field film, by promoting the production of propaganda films. Other events for the development of Cinema F ascista were the inauguration, in 1932, of the  Venice's Cinema and the birth, in 1934, of General Directorate of cinematography, of which Luigi Freddi, was appointed General Manager. The tasks of Direction ranged from reviewing and changing your screenplays of the films, to the delivery of prizes to the directors who supported the fascist cause, until arriving to monitor the import of foreign films. In fact, a good number of American movies were censored because they could influence the Italian people in a negative way for the regime. The main objective of this activity was not censorship, to ban Italian films that don't support the fascist ideology, but rather to adjust them so that the victory was not contradicted or Italian people to turn against the Government. In this regard, the introduction of talkies in the early 30 's, he expanded the possibilities of the censorship that could fit into the process of dubbing of a movie, making changes to the dialogues. When a film was considered totally inappropriate, it was directly blocked the purchase to distributors. An important example is that de gashed (Scarface, 1932) by Howard Hawk, distribution was prohibited because: "all the criminals supporting the scaffolding of the terrifying subject, even though they lived in the American environment, were carefully and deliberately italiani». In 1935 the National film industries (E.N.I.C.), a film production and distribution company, noting the company's activities Anonima Stefano Pittalunga. In 1938 the ENIC expanded to adjust the number of foreign films that were imported in Italy. L'ENIC became the only channel through which it was possible to bring foreign films into the country and severely limited selection of American movies that could be sold to distribution companies. In 1937 were founded in Rome Studi of Cinecittà and the attached Experimental Center of Cinematography the most famous professional school of cinema in Italy still in operation. On the opening day of Cinecittà, on April 21, was chosen as the symbolic date because it is believed to be the day of Rome's founding, establishing a link with the greatness of Italian cinema. In the same year the seat of Light was moved to the neighborhood Quadraro and for the laying of the foundation stone was set up a giant theatrical apparatus depicting Mussolini behind a camera and the inscription: the Cinematography is the strongest weapon

With the birth of the Republic Ssocial The taliana was born in Venice Cinevillaggio (also called Cineisola), a structure for film production that was an alternative to Cinecittà (abandoned by the fascists as a result of the conflict), founded in the autumn of 1943 at the instigation of the Ministry of popular culture of CSR, directed by Ferdinando Mezzasoma. In studies of the Cinevillage was made a final film due to the trend of propaganda: a true story, directed by Piero Ballerini and starring Osvaldo Valenti e Luisa Ferida (actors-symbol of fascist cinema, then shot by partisans because accused of collaborating with the fascists). 

In terms of aesthetics and propaganda cinema theme is manly, heroic, revolutionary (according to fascists) and celebrating the regime and its ideals. Of the 772 films produced in Italy from 1930 to 1943, can be classified as direct or indirect propaganda film about a hundred, with an absolute pre-eminence of propaganda on the indirect direct.


Among the main propaganda film we can mention:


1933/ Black shirt, by Giovacchino Forzano, 

1934/ Old guard, by Alessandro Blasetti,

1937/ Leaders, by Luis Trenker

1938/ Luciano Serra pilot, by Goffredo Alessandrini.


The main features depicted in movies by Propaganda Fascista are:


Portray the positive changes that have occurred with fascism to celebrate the values of fascism.. 

Celebrate the March on Rome and the rise of fascism Depict the size of Italy and devotion to the homeland. 

Tell historical facts relating to the history of Italy, above all the most important Italian risorgimento narrating the biographies of the characters of the story, to exalt the greatness and superiority of the Italian people. Exalt the Roman Empire, highlighting the link between this and the fascist regime:


Enhancing the rural world

Enhance Italian colonialism for its civilizing mission


Enhance the military operations and military actions undertaken by various Italian armed forces and volunteers in the various wars fought from fascist Italy (Spanish civil war, war in Ethiopia, Italian occupation of Albania, world war Premiere)


Denigrate and ridicule opponents of the regime (United States, Great Britain, Soviet Union)


Real movie poster of fascist propaganda was Old flexibility by Alessandro Blasetti, 1934 's movies focused on the March on Rome. Despite the recurring characteristics of these films, during the Fascist period were undoubtedly produced films of value turned true classics of Italian cinema. The dictatorship of Mussolini was limited to external control of the behavior of people to crush any opposition to the Government, giving a little more space to develop their own ideas and personal opinions. Unlike Germany, in Italy, the Government was more tolerant towards intellectuals provided no victory was the people against the Government. 

This phenomenon has undoubtedly passed on productions of the time. The real propaganda was then in newsreels shown before screenings, allowing the film to have greater breath and dwell on different themes. 

Fascist propaganda films took up residence with two other film strands: the first was to disengaged of white telephones, whose name came from the presence of white telephones in some of these films, which lined the social well-being of characters, since at that time white phones were more expensive than those of black color, most popular priced (and most common). The films belonging to this genus were sweetened sentimental comedies, light and carefree, bourgeois setting, where the arguments were the threat of adultery or a family separation (things unthinkable for Italy at that time ). One of the iconic actresses clung to this genus was Assia Noris. Another film genre that was traveling in parallel with that was the most accurate and sophisticated propaganda of elaborate style, characterized by more complex formal and textures and rich in artistic, theatrical and quotes literature (hence the term) and that special attention and care to scenic and perfection of framing and camera movements.One of the greatest exponents of this movement was film director and writer Mario Soldati, consecrated to the success with the movie Little ancient world (1941), the most representative of this current cinematic film, withstarring Massimo Serato and Alida Valli. Many directors were given the opportunity to start experimenting during the Fascist period. First of all the future master of realism with the fascist war trilogy of Roberto Rossellini, including his first three films:


1941/ The white ship 

1942/ A pilot returns 

1943/ The man of the cross 


 In these first three films were already present elements of neorealism.


1939/ The conquest of the aria 

1940/ The men of the Legion 

1942/ M.A.S. 

1943/ Special correspondents


  Marcello Albani 


1943/ Redemption 

1944/  The last dream 

1944/  Domenico M. Gabriel

1938/ Struggles in the shadows 

1939/ Black Crossing 


Cesare Meano 


1934/ Borders


 Enrico Guazzoni 


1936/ The two sergeants 

1940/ Antonio Meucci - film

1929/ Sun 

1931/ Mother Earth

1934/ 1860 - film

1934/ Old guard 

1935/ Aldebaran 

1938/ Ettore Fieramosca  

1941/ The Iron Crown

1943/ Four steps in the clouds


Mario Camerini 


1936/ The big appeal 


 Corrado D'errico 

1936/ The path of Heroes 


 Augusto Genina


1936/ The White Squadron

1940/ The siege of the Alcazar 

1942/ Bengasi 


 Carlo Campogalliani 


1934/ Stadium 

1940/ The Knight of Kruja

1943/ The train Crusader 


 Pier Luigi Faraldo 

1941/ Sancta Maria 


 Carmine Gallone 


1926/ The last days of Pompei 

1937/ Scipione Africanus 

1937/ Christopher Columbus 

1938/ Giuseppe Verdi 

1942/ Odessa in flames 

1943/ Harlem 


 Francesco De Robertis 


1941/ Men on the bottom 

1942/ Alfa Tau! 

1943/ Men and heaven 

1943/ Sailors without stars 

1944/ Live again 


Piero Costa 


1944/ Airport


  Giovacchino Forzano 


1933/ Black shirt

1934/ Villafranca 

1935/ May Camp 

1936/ Thirteen men and a cannon

1937/ Autumn, winter and spring tales


 Goffredo Alessandrini 


1936/ Cavalry

1938/ Luciano Serra pilot

1939/ Abuna Messias 

1942/  We live 

1942/ Addio Kira! 

 1942/ Giarabub 


 Luis Trenker 


1937/ Leaders


 Mario Volpe


 1923/ The cry of the Eagle 


 Domenico Gaido 


1927/ Martyrs of Italy 



Silvio Laurenti Rosa 

 1927/ Martyrs of Italy 



Piero Ballerini 


A true story

Walter Ruttmann



Esodo Pratelli 


1943/ Air People


  Nunzio  Malasomma 


1939/ Things from another world 


  Mario Baffico 


1943/ Three hundred of the seventh 

1944/ Every day is Sunday 

1944/ 30 years of service



Aldo Vergano


1938/ Pietro Micca - film

1942/ Those of the mountain 


  Marco Elter 


1935/ The shoes in the Sun 



 Oreste Biancoli 

1940/ The small alpine 


 Gennaro Righelli 


1932/ The armed azzura 

1939/ The Knight of St. Mark 

1943/ Horizon of blood 



Edgar Neville 


1939/ Carmen among the reds


 Guido Brignone 


1935/ Red Passport 

1938/ Under the Southern Cross 


 Flavio Calzavara 

1939/ Little castaways