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Hymn of the Nations

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Hymn of the Nations
DVD cover of Toscanini: The Maestro containing Hymn of the Nations
Directed byAlexander Hammid
Produced byIrving Lerner
Written byMay Sarton
StarringArturo Toscanini
Jan Peerce
Narrated byKnox Manning (original narration)
Burgess Meredith (alternative narration)
Music byGiuseppe Verdi
CinematographyBoris Kaufman
Distributed byUS Office of War Information
Arthur Mayer & Joseph Burstyn (1946 theatrical release)
Release date
  • February 1944 (1944-02)
Running time
31 minutes
CountryUnited States

Hymn of the Nations, originally titled Arturo Toscanini: Hymn of the Nations, is a 1944 film directed by Alexander Hammid, which features the Inno delle nazioni, a patriotic work for tenor soloist, chorus, and orchestra, composed by Italian opera composer Giuseppe Verdi in the early-1860s. For this musical work, Verdi utilized the national anthems of several European nations.


In December 1943, Arturo Toscanini filmed a performance of this music for inclusion in an Office of War Information documentary about the role of Italian-Americans in aiding the Allies during World War II. Toscanini added a bridge passage to include arrangements of "The Star Spangled Banner" for the United States and "The Internationale" for the Soviet Union and the Italian partisans.[1] Joining Toscanini in the filmed performance in NBC Studio 8-H, were tenor Jan Peerce, the Westminster Choir, and the NBC Symphony Orchestra.

The film also included the overture to Verdi's opera La Forza del Destino. The narration was written by May Sarton, film editing by Boris Kaufman, and narration read by actor Burgess Meredith. The original version was released on VHS by Blackhawk Films, which retitled it Arturo Toscanini Conducts Giuseppe Verdi. A newly restored version by the Library of Congress, with the Meredith narration, has been issued on DVD.


The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Short.[2] The Academy Film Archive preserved Hymn of the Nations in 2010.[3] The film is part of the Academy War Film Collection, one of the largest collections of World War II era short films held outside government archives.[4]


During the post-war Red Scare, the US government crudely censored "The Internationale" out of the film.[5] The version continued to be released without any acknowledgement of censorship. The uncensored version was thought to have been lost until it was rediscovered in Alaska.[6]


  1. ^ "Uncensored "Hymn of the Nations" version by Arturo Toscanini".
  2. ^ "The 17th Academy Awards (1945) Nominees and Winners". Retrieved May 29, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ "Preserved Projects". Academy Film Archive.
  4. ^ "Academy War Film Collection". Academy Film Archive.
  5. ^ "Hymn of the Nations, 1944". YouTube.
  6. ^ farmerne (1 February 2010). ""The Internationale" conducted by Arturo Toscanini--BANNED by U.S. censors!". YouTube. Retrieved 3 August 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

External links

This page was last edited on 30 March 2021, at 06:44
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