For Whom the Bell Tolls

For Whom the Bell Tolls

DVD - 1998
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"The story of Robert Jordan (Cooper), an American demolition expert who lends his abilities to the anti-fascist freedom fighters of Spain. Assisting him is a band of warriors that includes the strong-willed Pilar (Katina Paxinou), the dangerously undependable Pablo (Akim Tamiroff), and the lovely, innocent Maria (Bergman). As danger mounts, Robert and Maria develop a closeness that blossoms into one of the screen's greatest love stories."--Container.


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Mar 20, 2019

I watched this very old film when I was young, and decided to give it another short as a walk down memory lane. Fact is, I don't remember much of the film so it turned out to be a new viewing experience. Bottom line: at close to 3 hours, with an intermission (popular for long films in the old days), the film dragged on unnecessarily at a number of places. With a good editor it can be cut down to under 2 hours and this film would have been much more watchable. A missed opportunity.

Oct 10, 2018

Yuck. I thought Gary Cooper was too old and wooden. Ingrid Bergman? Really? I struggled through the book and got halfway through and didn’t see a blond, Swedish actress mentioned anywhere. It was almost like a play with a few actors on the screen belting out the plot. Way to long. Didn’t like the cheesy music. Not a fan of films in this era, the ‘40’s.

Oct 09, 2018

Reading some of the comments here left me wondering, in some cases, whether the writers had this film confused with some B-movie potboiler. Some have written scathing contumelies with not a single positive remark to be found. It's amazing how differently two people from the same planet, same culture, can view the same thing. For me, this has always been one of my favorite movies, with very few flaws to be found. Gary Cooper could never be accused here (or anywhere else) of over acting. His style has always been one of understatement. He, in fact, was one of the actors who helped change the style of acting from the theatricality of the silents, to the more realistic method still in vogue today. Here, he is perfectly cast (Hemingway, author of the novel, would accept no other for the part)--the quiet, stoic, ruggedly handsome American.

Ingrid Bergman is my favorite actress, so it's probably hard for me to be objective, but I feel this is one of her greatest roles, playing the damaged, yet still innocent, Maria (it was, in fact, the role for which Bergman felt she would be most remembered). True, her accent could hardly be mistaken for Spanish, but this seems trivial when this is stacked up against her immense talent as an actress. The criticisms about her appearance have no justification at all, as has been pointed out by others. All Spaniards do not look alike. Ms. Bergman is absolutely radiant, luminous, stunningly beautiful. Her scenes with Coop are wonderful. You can see "Roberto's" interest in her immediately, first of a carnal nature, but increasingly with tenderness and concern. Their's is one of the best love stories on film.

The supporting characters are superlative; Akim Tamiroff is fine as the once courageous but now cowardly (and possibly treacherous) Pablo; Vladimir Sokoloff as the lovable aging guide--but where did they find Ms. Paxinou? Her Pilar is a fascinatingly vibrant character, full of grit and valor and indomitable courage, and yet capable of being deeply wounded by the thoughtless actions of a child. She apparently did few films either before or after this one--just taking her well deserved Oscar and slipping away.

It's true that war is not romantic, and the film shows some of the horrors of this enterprise. It is also true that it does to some extent romanticize this war in that it emphasizes the self-sacrifice and courage of these people. In any case, I feel most people will find themselves moved by the sacrifices and **SPOILERS** the doomed romance of the leads. The story has been altered a bit from the wonderful novel, but this is inevitable. Still, it follows it much more closely than most Hollywood filmizations. The scenery is spectacular--the color, the cinematography are top notch, and Victor Young has composed a lush and moving score that wonderfully underscores the action and emotions of the players--his creation being among the best in cinema history. The direction strikes an excellent balance between showing us the details of day to day survival by these hunted insurgents, the suspense of battle, and the growing romance. Some have criticized the dialogue, but I find it quite believable. That last speech of Jordan's and his thoughts right after, have in particular been singled out for scorn. But for me, it is extraordinarily real. He doesn't utter some plasticized ideal of what a parting speech should be--no it's something someone might actually say, filled with simple but heartfelt phrases. This is a great film.

Aug 17, 2018

Challenging to watch 'cause of the dvd quality but worth the effort. One can only Imagine what a Gone With The Wind type restoration would be like. Serious left-wing-pinko ideology handled by serious right wing director Sam Wood. It's hard not to put yourself in Ingrid Bergman's shoes.

Aug 12, 2017

This may not be the worst movie ever, but it challenges number one; it is boring, banal, sniveling, trite, but other than that, I can't believe I wasted my time. Go outside and dig holes and fill them in--don't watch this crap!

Jun 14, 2016

This is a 1943 American war drama produced and directed by Sam Wood, based on the novel of the same name by Ernest Hemingway.
An American volunteer, Robert Jordan, is fighting in the Spanish Civil War against the fascists.
During his desperate mission to blow up a strategically important bridge to protect Republican forces, Jordan falls in love with Maria, a young woman guerrilla fighter.
As danger mounts, Robert and Maria develop a closeness that blossoms into one of the greatest love stories, but the most of the film is slow-paced without thrilling twists nor turns.

Doubtless of interest to movie historians but acting is stilted and formularic.

Mar 01, 2013

The first half was monotonous, and dull; the second half thankfully woke me up. Two and three quarter hours of arguing gypsies was nearly unbearable, but I stuck it out. Ingrid lays on the doe-eyed, overly emotional female thing a little thick, but she's still adorable, regardless. Calm, cool, and collected Coop is a constant -- he never changes. Akim Tamiroff cracked me up as Pablo.

Jun 01, 2011

For people who used to the theatrical style of 50's and 60's with more chatting about philosophy of life (?), politic, ... than actions in an action film, it's not bad.
It's boring to other people.


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Mar 01, 2013

Pablo: "I don't prowoke."


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