Woody's
 Classic Movie Reviews

For Whom the Bell Tolls

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THE SPANISH CIVIL WAR July 1937 -- April 1939

When a group of generals declared opposition to the elected Second Spanish Republic government of President Manuel Azana, they were supported by ultra-conservatives, monarchists, fascists and elements of the Catholic church in Spain. An attempted coup failed but set off the civil war that was marked by brutality and resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of civilians, many of whom had no part in the conflict on either side. The “Nationalist” forces were led by General Francisco Franco and received significant support in weapons and training from Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and neighboring Portugal. The Germans used the Spanish Civil war as a testing ground for the use of close air support of ground troops that they would employ with devastating effectiveness in the impending world war. The “Loyalist” forces, fighting for the Republic, were supported by the Soviet Union, Mexico and the “International Brigades,” numbering some 40,000 foreign nationals from the U. S., Canada and Europe. Many of the American volunteers served in the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. After almost two years of bloody conflict, the Nationalists prevailed, sending thousands of Spanish loyalists into exile and allowing Franco to establish his iron-fisted dictatorship that endured for many years after.










TITLE:   FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS 

         "But if you go, then I go, too. 
             It's the only way I can go."
  
                               
                               
    In this presentation of Hemmingway's tale of the Spanish civil war, Gary Cooper is an American professor who is compelled by his democratic sympathies to join the fight against the fascist forces of Generalisimo Francisco Franco. He undertakes a special mission with a scruffy crew of peasants fighting for the Republic. Beautifully staged and filmed, with strong performances all around and a striking musical score by Victor Young. Co-star Ingrid Bergman is admirably fetching as the mandatory love interest. Excellent work is done by the supporting cast that includes Akim Tamiroff and Katina Paxinou, who received the Best Supporting Actress Oscar. This film plays as well today as when it was made.

      

1945, Directed by Sam Wood
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*Major Spoiler Alert! Scene shows the movie ending.

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