Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Duke..Mussolini, not John Wayne

Over the past few months, while soliciting participants for my WWII Political Leaders Opinion Survey, I’ve been blogging about times when my path through life has inadvertently crossed these guys. I suddenly realized that not only did I know very little about Il Duce Benito Mussolini of Italy; but unlike Churchill, Hitler, Roosevelt, and Stalin, his legacy has been pretty much zilch. My life has virtually been untouched by this man. I decided some movie-watching was in order. So far I’ve watched one: Vincere (site, imdb).*

This historical drama is about Ida Dalser and her fight against the man she worshipped who literally took her for a ride. She spends the rest of her life fighting back and loses. It’s dark. It’s sad. It’s depressing. And if I were cold-hearted I’d ask, “Why does she bother?” But hormones definitely can do that to women. That was what the NWNW movement was all about. Some men are perfectly happy to take a woman’s virginity and money and run, leaving her with a kid and a difficult legal situation. At least from what I’ve been able to find, Ida Dalser was actually able to get a marriage out of him (unlike what the movie portrays). However, that didn’t do her any good when her husband was Number One Fascist and eager to avoid a bigamy charge. (Where’s the Italian Inquisition when you need it?)

Now the details: The acting was fairly convincing, even if the leading actor looked nothing like the real deal. I also really liked the use of historical footage and silent film interspersed throughout the movie. But did I enjoy the movie? Sort of. It’s not American “family friendly” by any means, so I’m not recommending it. But for me, it painted a more personal view of the dictator’s life than I’d gotten from any history textbook. He was Number One Cad.

*Netflix has this film on instant viewing, but not the documentaries. Shows you where their priorities lie.