I am astonished that anyone could have rated this as a "10." Give me a break!
I have not read the book, so perhaps this film does correctly reflect the story that Hemingway wrote. Nonetheless, as a film it is deadly.
As others have correctly pointed out, Gary Cooper was wooden throughout. He finally rises to the occasion in the last thirty seconds of the film where he realizes he has the strength to shoot the machine gun at the enemy by thinking of "Maria" (Ingrid Bergman). It's also at this point that the film slips into voice-over mode; it's jarring.
Ingrid Bergman was, without a doubt, stunningly beautiful; that could not be argued. I also felt that she was a good actress -- but not necessarily in this film. It isn't her fault; it's what she was given to work with -- a dull, uninspired, script.
Let's talk about that script. There were a lot of questions and answers that repeated the questions. There was mundane, banal, dull, laughable. The movie went on endlessly and for what... because Gary had to blow up a bridge at dawn, "Those are orders!" -- and so we, the viewing audience, must also wait until "dawn" while Gary, Ingrid and a band of misfits point fingers at each other, drink wine, eat, and apparently never bathe or take a dump.
The only actors that I found to be interesting were Katina Paxinou, who had a sort of ferociousness about her performance (and the Academy awarded her), and Akim Tamiroff, who looked like the original Hobbitt.
As the movie wanders around mountains and fights between nationalists and republicans or somebody and somebody, the only thing that seems to be of concern to Ingrid is whether Gary is okay. In fact, that seems to be the only thing that matters to Katina as well. Despite all the talk of liberation and freeing themselves from their oppressors (this was supposedly the Spanish Civil War), all that seemed to matter was whether Ingrid was happy.
While I did enjoy looking at Ingrid's pretty face, and Gary's eyes were killer, I could not understand what she saw in him. He was twice her age, if not more, and he kissed with the passion of a sedated goldfish.
It's an old film. It's slow. I felt that emotions were manipulated beyond all reason. I just did not enjoy it.
So 2 out of 10, 1 for Ingrid's face, 1 for Gary's eyes.
For Whom the Bell Tolls
For Whom the Bell Tolls
Spain in the 1930s is the place to be for a man of action like Robert Jordan. There is a civil war going on and Jordan who has joined up on the side that appeals most to idealists of that era -- like Ernest Hemingway and his friends -- has been given a high-risk assignment up in the mountains. He awaits the right time to blow up a bridge in a cave. Pilar, who is in charge there, has an ability to foretell the future. And so that night she encourages Maria, a young girl ravaged by enemy soldiers, to join Jordan who has decided to spend the night under the stars.
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July 08, 2015 at 10:31 AM