I sometimes wonder if younger generations have any awareness of the quality of films produced by Hollywood in the 1940s, a time when the virtues of the human condition were exemplified and cherished. It was an era of towering film directors, coupled with equally brilliant actors and actresses who created an indelible record of their shining artistry for untold generations to come. One such production was Ernest Hemingway's powerful love story set within the Spanish Civil War of 1936-39, For Whom the Bells Toll, starring America's Gary Cooper and the immortal Ingrid Bergman. The supporting cast, with resounding breadth, fulfilled their artistic destiny to make this one of greatest films ever: Vladimir Sokoloff as the old man, Anselmo; Joseph Calleia as El Sordo; Akim Tamiroff's stunning acting embraced the very soul of Hemingway's Pablo; the remarkable Katina Paxinou as Pilar, was the only person to win an Academy Award for Best Actress in a supporting role, while the film makers and its stars were nominated in 10 different categories. Ingrid Bergman should have gotten the Best Actress award as her final scene with the wounded Roberto (Gary Cooper) before she is taken away by the gypsies was the finest piece of film acting I have ever witnessed in my entire life. Little wonder that Ingrid Bergman is considered one of the most beautiful and legenday actresses of all time. If you have never seen or heard of this picture, take the time to watch it. You won't regret it.
I can't embed the video onto this page, but it you go to this link,
you will find five of Gary Cooper's top films. Scroll down to the third film and click the second icon from the right in the bottom of the screen to change the film quality to the max of 480 pixels. Then click the diagnoal arrow to open up to a full screen view.
The other four Cooper films on that page are all wonderful and delightful films if you have never seen them. The second film down, Ball of Fire (1941), was new for me. I had never heard of it and had never seen it. I did not realize that Barbara Stanwyck was as comely and beautiful as she was at that time. Another big surprise, was to spot among the 'professors', the charming Hungarian born actor, S.Z. Sakal, better known as the maitre d' Carl in Rick's Cafe of Casablanca fame and Henry Travers, who played the angel Clarence in It's a Wonderful Life (1946).
(I suddenly feel like I've swallowed a bottle of Rex Reed's Château Clerc Milon)
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