Odessa in Flames

Odessa in Flames
Directed by Carmine Gallone
Written by Nicolae Kiriţescu, Gherardo Gherardi
Starring Maria Cebotari
Mircea Axente
George Timică
Silvia Dumitrescu-Timică
Carlo Ninchi
Filippo Scelzo
Olga Solbelli
Rubi D'Alma
Bella Starace Sainati
Release date(s) December 1942
Country Italy
Language Italian

Odessa in Flames (Romanian: Odessa în flăcări) (Italian: Odessa in fiamme) is a 1942 Italian-Romanian film directed by Carmine Gallone.[1] The film is about the Battle of Odessa in 1941.

The Siege of Odessa was part of the Eastern Front area of operations in 1941. The operation was primarily conducted by Romanian forces and elements of the German Army's 11th Army (11. Armee of the Wehrmacht Heer).


The movie is a Romanian-Italian co-production, about the drama of the refugees from Basarabia (Republic Moldova), in World War II. It brings homage to the Romanian troops, who free Basarabia from the Red Army, which occupied it in 1940. The movie wins the great prize at the Festival of Venice, in 1942. The movie shows also true images from contemporary newsreels, with the refugee columns running away.

Maria Cebotari plays the role of Maria Teodorescu, opera singer from Bessarabia, who was in Chisinau with her 8 years old son at the time of the invasion. The boy was taken somewhere in Odessa. The mother was told that he will be maintained in a camp, where he will be educated as a man again, as Soviet. The mother agrees to sing Russian songs in theaters, in taverns, only to get her son back. Maria Teodorescu sing in those places, sharing pictures of hers. One such image is found by chance by her husband, who is in Romanian army with the rank of captain (he was in Bucharest at the time of the invasion). In the end the family reunites. Unfortunately, the history of the movie was a sad one. Because of the invasion of Soviet troops in Bucharest in 1944, the movie becomes banned, along with many others, and the actors in the movie are taken into arrest. Many such movies were either destroyed or censored. Nothing was heard of this movie for more than 50 years. Luckily, someone re-discovered it in the Cinecittà archives in Rome, and it was shown for the first time in Romania in December 2006.


  1. ^ (Romanian) Odessa in flacari at Telecinemateca.com

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