For Whom the Bell Tolls


forwhomthebelltollsAmerican Robert Jordan (Gary Cooper), fighting in the Spanish Civil War on the side of the Republicans, intends to blow up an important bridge and joins a small band of fighters. One of Ernest Hemingway’s most famous novels became a huge hit and earned nine Oscar nominations. Radiant in Technicolor, director Sam Wood and his team create visually striking, stylized scenes in the wilderness. The film suffers from its running time, but tension and romance run high, and you can’t take your eyes off the two leads. Katina Paxinou is also colorful as the seasoned freedom fighter who sees everything in black or white. The last scene is unforgettable; immensely romantic and emotional.

1943-U.S. 165 min. Color. Produced and directed by Sam Wood. Screenplay: Dudley Nichols. Novel: Ernest Hemingway. Cinematography: Ray Rennahan. Music: Victor Young. Cast: Gary Cooper (Robert Jordan), Ingrid Bergman (Maria), Akim Tamiroff (Pablo), Arturo de Cordova, Joseph Calleia, Katina Paxinou. 

Trivia: Alternative version runs 130 minutes. Henry Fonda was allegedly considered for the lead.

Oscar: Best Supporting Actress (Paxinou). Golden Globes: Best Supporting Actor (Tamiroff), Supporting Actress (Paxinou).

Last word: “I pinned Hemingway down today and he told me clearly and frankly that he would like to see [Bergman] play the part. He also said this to the press today. However, he tells me also that at Paramount he was told she was wooden, untalented, and various other things. Needless to say, I answered these various charges…. I am also personally supervising a publicity campaign to try to jockey Paramount into a position where they will almost have to use her. You will be seeing these items from time to time. Incidentally, Ingrid wasn’t in town today, or I could have brought her together with Hemingway. However, we are arranging for her to fly today to see Hemingway in San Francisco before he sails for China. If he likes her, I am asking him to go to town with Paramount on it. If she doesn’t get the part, it won’t be because there hasn’t been a systematic campaign to get it for her!” (David O. Selznick in a 1941 note to talent scout Kay Brown, “Notorious: The Life of Ingrid Bergman”)

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