For Whom the Bell Tolls (film)

For Whom the Bell Tolls is a 1943 American epic war film produced and directed by Sam Wood and starring Gary Cooper, Ingrid Bergman, Akim Tamiroff, Katina Paxinou and Joseph Calleia. The screenwriter Dudley Nichols based his script on the 1940 novel For Whom the Bell Tolls by American novelist Ernest Hemingway. The film is about an American International Brigades volunteer, Robert Jordan (Cooper), who 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 a young woman guerrilla fighter (Bergman).

For Whom the Bell Tolls
Theatrical release poster
Directed bySam Wood
Screenplay byDudley Nichols
Based onFor Whom the Bell Tolls
by Ernest Hemingway
Produced bySam Wood
Starring
CinematographyRay Rennahan
Edited by
Music byVictor Young
Color processTechnicolor
Production
company
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • July 16, 1943 (1943-07-16) (USA)
Running time
170 minutes (19 reels)
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Box office$7.1 million (U.S. and Canada rentals)[1][2]

For Whom the Bell Tolls was Ingrid Bergman's first Technicolor film. Hemingway's desire for Cooper and Bergman for the leading roles was much publicized, but Paramount initially cast Vera Zorina with Cooper. After shooting footage with Zorina's hair cut short (truer to the novel's character — a shorn head — than Bergman's "look" in the film), she was replaced with Bergman.[3]

The day's papers described the recasting: "They [Paramount] compromised on Zorina's hair, cutting it to two inches; the rest of the makeup was true to the book. The results were shown to Paramount executives. They gasped. 'No glamour,' they explained. 'She looks like a dishrag.' Sam Wood, producer-director, sighed. 'The part doesn't call for glamour,' he tried to explain. 'Well, she ought to have glamour without looking like it.' They tried it. They put caps on Zorina's teeth, touched up her facial makeup with a bit of mascara here and there, tailored the baggy pants to a slim hip, and gave the shirt an uplift. She looked more like the lovely Zorina but not at all like the hapless 'Maria.' They gave up. Miss Bergman was tested for the part. The tests were made with her hair long and the executives beamed. She looked glamorous. Tomorrow they will cut her hair short. They will dress her in baggy pants and a formless shirt. After that, no one knows."[4]

The film was nominated for nine Academy Awards, winning one. Victor Young's soundtrack for the film was the first complete score from an American film to be issued on record.[5]


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