19 February 2008 | dbdumonteil
Ring them bells
Adapted from a famous novel ," a bell for Adano" seems sometimes too good to be true."Mister Major " is really a hand to kiss for he changed the life of the inhabitants of an Italian small town singlehandedly.John Hodiak portrays this officer with authority and humanity.On the other hand ,the users are right when they write that Gene Tierney -an actress who happens to be one of my favorites- is miscast;she could pass for half-Chinese in "Shanghai Gesture" ,she is not credible as a blonde (?) Italian .Besides ,it is not much of a part,and except for the scene where she's told about her fiancé's fate,she is lost in the crowd.
Marcel Dalio,on the contrary ,is well cast as the coward;this French actor was famous in his native country for his portrayals of villains,traitors ,collaborators,etc .The first scene is his: swearing he has never been a fascist but giving the infamous salute ,he is absolutely marvelous,so to speak!
It 's sometimes too good to be true but Mister Major is an endearing character,a military man who thinks that rules are made to be broken ,which ,for an officer, is not common."A bell for Adano" is a Christian movie almost as much as King's "song of Bernadette" was.
The first sequences of the village in ruins will remind you of the Italian Neo-Realism ,Roberto Rossellini's works ("Paesa" "Germania anno zero")