For Whom the Bell Tolls Reviews
I've written before that if there's a heaven, it must involve being loved by Natalie Wood. There's no reason not to add Ingrid Bergman to that list. Can you imagine both of them? It's hard enough to get one.
Bergman and Gary Cooper maximize the small amount of time the story dedicates to their love affair, and they make what seems convenient believable.
In typical Hemingway fashion, the story is about manhood and war but also love. And the group of people Cooper's character encounters are all round, interesting characters with complex backstories and intentions. Nobody is villainized, but it's nonetheless clear whom Hemingway respects.
Cooper, whose reserved performance in Pride of the Yankees can't be underestimated, was, I thought, too reserved in this film, especially at the end. I think the film needed an emotional explosion, a last gasp for hope and love in spite of the degradation that surrounded him.
Overall, this is a Hemingway story, so you know it's good, and the three hours goes by quickly.
Ingrid Bergman in her first role after Casablanca is radiant; a vibrant Katina Paxinou won a well deserved Oscar for her Pilar. Paxinou plays off Cooper well and gives us a tantalizing glimpse of her fiery younger self. The rest of the guerilla band, including the great Akim Tamiroff, unfortunately come off as cartoonish.
(1943) For Whom The Bells Toll
Based on Ernest Hemingway's book about an American fighter, Gary Cooper fighting alongside the Republic against fascists while in Spain by blowing things up! It wasn't until he was given another assignment to blow up a particular bridge is what 90% of this movie dwells on and while their meets a refugee (Ingrid Bergman)who eventually falls in love with him!
Despite it's running time of 156 minutes, when it was supposed to be 170 minutes, this film still feels quite long and pointless. Viewers can't seem to grasp onto anything memorable what they can't get from other films that consist of similar themes!
2 out of 4
Not a bad film and ready for a remake imo... but I feel the book is more satisfying and closer to the knuckle... go read
It's interesting that Ingrid Bergman herself thought For Whom The Bell Tolls was a superior film to Casablanca. I mean, I don't think Bell is anywhere near the same level as Casablanca, but it does have a lot to offer in terms of its story, character complexity, and tension. There is a problem with the tension, though. Director Sam Wood doesn't always keep the tension as high as I would like, and I did think the story started to lose focus in several places. Even so, there's a lot to admire about this movie and the way it depicts war.
Gary Cooper stars as Robert Jordan, a man who sticks himself in the middle of a civil war and attempts to blow up a bridge. A lot of war films seem to like the idea of blowing up bridges.
I liked For Whom The Bell Tolls, but I thought it got really melodramatic at times. It never went way over the top, but it frequently flirted with the line. It was more or less up to the actors to sell the film, and they did. This is one of very few films I know of that was nominated for an Oscar in all four of the acting categories, and all four of these actors deserved it. Gary Cooper's as strong as always, Ingrid Bergman's impossible to dislike, Akim Tamiroff manages to stand out a lot, and Katina Paxinou probably steals the show. Her performance has come to be one of my all time favorite supporting female performances.
Still, For Whom The Bell Tolls is not what I would call the sturdiest film in terms of structure. I can't say this enough--it does try way too hard with the melodrama a lot.
But that's its biggest problem, and Cooper, Bergman, Tamiroff, and Paxinou are able to make up for that really well.