A Bell for Adano (1945)

Genres - Drama, War  |   Sub-Genres - War Drama  |   Run Time - 104 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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With the passage of time, A Bell for Adano no longer has as much meaning for viewers as it did upon its release. What seemed a small but significant film in 1945 now comes across as a moderately entertaining but unexceptional sentimental little picture. This isn't meant to denigrate Adano, for it does have modest charms that will make the film very appealing to many. It just no longer has the topicality that gave it deeper meaning as World War II was drawing to a close. There are also some other flaws that have nothing to do with the intervening years; although the adaptation of John Hersey's novel is very faithful, the character of the general was softened for the film, which damages the thrust of the story and its conclusion. Too, the Italian supporting cast is a bit too artificially "colorful," and the legitimate issue of how much an individual or a community must bear the blame for collaborative activities is dismissed too readily. However, these flaws aside, the screenplay is generally solid and often quite moving. An unfortunately blonde Gene Tierney is not ideal casting, but John Hodiak turns in one of his finest performances, and there's great chemistry between him and William Bendix. Henry King directs with a sensitive touch and makes the most of the film's set piece scenes. Dated it may be, but Adano will please many looking for a "nice" old fashioned picture.