Sunday, February 18, 2018

For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943) at TCM: Hemingway, Coop, Bergman, Tamiroff, Paxinou and Wood!



By David in TN
Saturday, February 17, 2018 at 10:44:00 A.M. EST



Left to right: Bergman, Wood, Paxinou, Coop

I apologize for the belated notice. TCM is showing For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943) at 8 p.m. ET tonight [Saturday], February 17.

Coop, Vladimir Sokoloff (the old man in The Magnificent Seven!), and Bergman

If The Breaking Point with John Garfield (1950) is the best movie made on a Hemingway story from an artistic sense, For Whom the Bell Tolls was the “Biggest.” It had Gary Cooper and Ingrid Bergman in the starring roles. Akim Tamiroff and Katina Paxinou practically stepped out of the pages of the book as the leaders of the Spanish guerrilla band.

Paxinou and Tamiroff

Sam Wood's direction dragged often and Hemingway's theme of disillusionment became a sort of war adventure story typical of the time.


Anyway, I'm going to DVR it and watch a day or two later.

N.S.: I must apologize to you, my partner-in-crime, because I slept all day, and found your blog item only after the picture had aired.

I saw this picture as a wee lad of perhaps 13, and then watched it again about four years ago, with my chief of research. We both loved it.

At two hours and fifty minutes, it could have been shorter, and I fail to see how the Anarchists could be portrayed as the good guys.

However, I love Coop and Bergman, and the length gave Tamiroff and Paxinou as much screen time as lead players in typical pictures. (Tamiroff lost out to Charles Coburn, for The More the Merrier. I always loved Coburn, who was related to James, but dang, if Tamiroff didn’t have a huge role that he played to perfection.)


Robert Montgomery, Sally Starr, and Sam Wood, on the set of the early talkie, So This is College (1929). Unfortunately, most of the pictures online of Wood have either been ruined by Alamy, or belong to Getty.

Sam Wood may sometimes drag, but he has to be one of the greatest directors to never win an Oscar. He was, of course, in the best of company, with the likes of Alfred Hitchcock and Clarence Brown.

Robert Donat, then 29, and Sam Wood on the set of Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939) incorrectly states that he was nominated for only three Oscars, but he was up for at least four: For directing Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939), Kitty Foyle (1940), and King’s Row (1942), which lists, and for producing For Whom the Bell Tolls, which it doesn’t.

He also directed Pride of the Yankees (1942), about Lou Gehrig, which got Coop his third Best Actor nomination, and Theresa Wright her only Best Actress nomination; the Marx Brothers classics, A Night at the Opera (1935) and A Day at the Races (1937); Our Town (1940); and he was, with George Cukor, King Vidor, and Vic Fleming, one of the four directors David. O. Selznick ran through on Gone with the Wind.


A profile shot of an intense Sam Wood

Wood was also a great patriot, something twists from a badge of honor into a black mark.
Late in his life, he served as the President of the Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals, a right-wing political organization whose aim was to ferret out "subversives" in Hollywood. In this capacity, he provided key testimony before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1947, helping to fan fears of Communist influence in the U.S. film industry.
Sam Wood didn’t “fan fears”; he told the truth. The fears were wholly justified! used to be much more reliable, better-written, and user-friendly, before Jeff Bezos bought it.


Wood, during the 1940s

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If I can comment on a TV network called Antenna TV--which shows old programs from the 50s ("Leave it to Beaver"),60s ("Bewitched","I Dream of Jeannie")70s(Johnny Carson's"Tonight Show","All in the Family")80s("Bob Newhart Show")and 90s("Wings").
It's mostly,"Nig free TV",except for the token black programs("Jeffersons","Good Times")which everyone knows are black.The fascinating thing to me,is observing,that only 40 years ago,how few blacks were on television.It's actually a pleasure to view shows that had exclusively white casts in it.Even some of the newest shows Antenna has added lately ("Murphy Brown" and "Coach")from the 90s are all white and great to see BECAUSE there are no blacks in the shows.
The old movies,highlighted here every week,are important for two reasons:One,these are great movies and two:they are a dramatic history lesson and reminder of the days when whites WERE the United States.How quickly it all changed for the worse--not just movies and TV,but baseball,football and basketball and political office holders have been flooded with blacks--to the country's detriment,though not the blacks detriment.
But there are "Nig free" programs to watch if you are sick of current fare.
--GR Anonymous