Un pilota ritorna (A Pilot Returns, 1942) was sponsored by the Air Force and, similar to his first film, celebrated the glory of pilots who fought and risked their lives for their country. However, this time the censorship board had a small disagreement with Rosselliniís script in parts where he seemed to reject the war rhetoric. He was lightly criticized, and then given a new script in which all the dialog was rewritten in respect to his first copy. Not knowing whether it was Mussolini, or his son, who changed the script, it did not matter much to Rossellini who never worked directly from a shooting script anyway. Recalling this episode in a later interview, Rossellini explained, "I always maintained an extreme liberty, I never work from pieces of written paper" (Apra 42).
He made his third film, Uomo dalla croce (Man of the Cross, 1943), without any military help or funding. Shooting began in July of 1942 during the time when Italian troops, without adequate weaponry, equipment, food supplies, and clothing, were being pushed back from the Russian front. The main focus of the story line was Italyís great victory over the Russians which, in reality, ended with defeat and certain death for the troops. It was released one month before the Allied troops invaded Sicily and was yanked from the movie theater almost immediately after the invasion.
The Fascist Trilogy: Realism in the Story Line