In WW2, U.S. Army Major Joppolo and his troops are tasked with administering the war damaged Italian town of Adano where the locals decry the loss of the town bell.In WW2, U.S. Army Major Joppolo and his troops are tasked with administering the war damaged Italian town of Adano where the locals decry the loss of the town bell.In WW2, U.S. Army Major Joppolo and his troops are tasked with administering the war damaged Italian town of Adano where the locals decry the loss of the town bell.
Hodiak who is Major Joppolo, an Italian American from the Bronx has that much going for him as he's appointed military governor of the recently liberated town of Adano. That's considerable because he already has some familiarity with the culture.
The town wants the bare necessities, food, medical supplies, etc., but it also wants something. They had the biggest church bell around and it was there for hundreds of years. But Mussolini melted it down for cannon and from every quarter Hodiak is told get us our bell back or a new one just as good.
Hodiak deals with all kinds of situations trying to form an occupation government and there is the question of who to trust among the Italians. But the real test for Hodiak comes when an order is issued to keep all civilian traffic off the main road into Adano. The problem is that there are no side roads into the town, one way in and one way out. Hodiak takes it on his own initiative to countermand the order. He gets in trouble with the army, but earns the heartfelt thanks of the people of Adano.
Henry King got some great performances out of his ensemble and the recreation of occupied Italy is impressively done. Hodiak was a tough and compassionate man all at once with a lot of responsibility on his shoulders. It's definitely one of his best roles.
Also standing out is William Bendix as Hodiak's senior non-commissioned officer who backs Hodiak up all the way in his governing policies. Gene Tierney plays one of the villagers who wants Hodiak to find what happened to her boyfriend who was in the Italian army and providing some hospitality if needed. Harry Morgan is in A Bell For Adano playing a military police captain who is interested in covering his posterior in the military tradition. Finally there's Richard Conte who has a beautiful scene with Hodiak and Tierney as a recently released Italian soldier who tells them of the fate of Tierney's boyfriend.
For some reason A Bell For Adano the movie has been strangely forgotten and a lot of younger people haven't heard of it. That's a pity because this film is a neglected treasure.
- Aug 17, 2014