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Old June 21st, 2015, 03:27 PM   #1
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WWII history buffs: I seek your input


I’m a nerdy college kid who is adapting French playwright Victorien Sardou’s La Tosca (later the opera Tosca by Giacomo Puccini) to a screenplay.

For those unfamiliar with the story, here’s the historical context: The French Revolutionary Wars began and the establishment of the Roman Republic occurred, later falling in 1799 due to the French withdrawal from Rome. The Kingdom of Naples takes control of Rome with British and Austrian support. The French and the Austrians continue fighting with the Austrians victorious at the Siege of Genoa on June 4, 1800. On June 14, 1800, Napoleon’s troops beat the Austrians at the Battle of Marengo, much to the surprise of Italian royalists. In the action of the play, the apparent Austrian victory is celebrated, which then turns to horror upon the news of the French victory.

Now for the actual plot: Painter and Bonapartist sympathizer Mario Cavaradossi is painting for a church in Rome when Cesare Angelotti, former consul of the Roman Republic, escapes from the prison of the Castel Sant’Angelo. Cavaradossi offers to give refuge to Angelotti. Baron Scarpia, chief of police and a royalist, seeks to capture Angelotti—and upon discovering that Cavaradossi helped him—seeks to punish Cavaradossi as well. All the while, Cavaradossi’s pious opera singer girlfriend Floria Tosca gets caught in the mix of interrogation, torture and feud of ideology.

I will be updating the action to WWII—particularly to Nazi-occupied Italy—making Cavaradossi an Ally sympathizer and Scarpia siding with the Axis powers, with a historical event of relevance to Italy’s involvement with the war or politics as the backdrop. I was thinking of setting it on June 17, 1943 when the Allies bombed Sicily and the Italian mainland or on D-Day. So, my question is would either event would be of relevance to the story and the characters in the same way that the Battle of Marengo was relevant to the story and the characters in the original. Or, was there an event in WWII that was of equivalent relevance to the Battle of Marengo? The more important factor is that the event took place in June.

Thanks in advance.
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Old June 21st, 2015, 06:28 PM   #2

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The Salerno landings, triggering the fall of the Fascist government, might fit the bill.
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Old June 23rd, 2015, 09:50 AM   #3

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Italian-occupied Libya, June 1942- Gazala and the fall of Tobruk to Rommel.
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Old June 23rd, 2015, 10:00 AM   #4

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Salerno would be good, but it occurred in September, and I understand that it is important that the event take place in June.

Maybe bombing of Sicily, maybe Allied Forces entering Rome in June 1944 could be made to work.

If you could do it in May, how about the Germans moving out of the Gustav line and abandoning Rome in May 1944?
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