Although released anonymously, as was the custom with all films produced by the Italian Navy, La Nave Bianca is the first feature-length effort directed by Roberto Rossellini; it is also very much the work of its co-writer and supervisor Francesco De Robertis. The film combines a documentary look at the Italian Navy during World War II with newsreel combat footage and a scripted love story performed by non-professional actors. A Fascist sailor, wounded in battle, is transferred to a hospital ship. While recuperating, he falls in love with the young Red Cross nurse who cares for him, not knowing that she is also his longtime pen pal. One of the film's (uncredited) camera operators, Mario Bava, who would later direct such classic horror films as Black Sunday and Lisa and the Devil.
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