The Great Appeal

The Great Appeal (Italian: Il Grande appello) is a 1936 Italian war film directed by Mario Camerini and starring Camillo Pilotto, Roberto Villa and Lina d'Acosta. It is sometimes known by the alternative title The Last Roll-Call.

The Great Appeal
Directed byMario Camerini
Produced byRoberto Dandi
Written byErcole Patti
Pietro Solari
Mario Soldati
Mario Camerini
StarringCamillo Pilotto
Roberto Villa
Lina d'Acosta
Guglielmo Sinaz
Music byAnnibale Bizzelli
CinematographyMassimo Terzano
Edited byFernando Tropea
Artisti Associati
Distributed byArtisti Associati
Release date
November 1936
Running time
80 minutes

Camerini was considered to have no sympathies with the Fascist regime of Italy, but he made this propaganda film that endorsed the colonial policies of the Italian government.[1] It was one of a number of African-set films made during the Fascist era including The White Squadron (1936), Sentinels of Bronze (1937) and Luciano Serra, Pilot (1938).[2] The film portrays the rediscovery of his patriotism of an Italian, who eventually dies for his country.


Giovanni Bertani is a rootless Italian emigrant who is currently running a hotel in French-ruled Djibouti, while selling arms to the Abyssinian forces fighting the Italians in the Second Italo-Ethiopian War although his son Enrico is serving on the other side. Following a journey to Abyssinia Giovanni regains his sense of Italian identity, and is fatally wounded blowing up the shipment of arms to the Abyssinians.[3]



  1. Gundle p.31
  2. Palumbo p.294
  3. Ben-Ghiat p.134


  • Ben-Ghiat, Ruth. Fascist Modernities: Italy, 1922-1945. University of California Press, 2004.
  • Gundle, Stephen. Mussolini's Dream Factory: Film Stardom in Fascist Italy. Berghahn Books, 2013.
  • Palumbo, Patrizia. A Place in the Sun: Africa in Italian Colonial Culture from Post-unification to the Present. University of California Press, 2003.

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