A Bell for Adano

A Bell for Adano (1945) is a film directed by Henry King and starring John Hodiak and Gene Tierney. It was adapted from the 1944 novel of the same title by John Hersey, which won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1945. In his review of the film for The New York Times, Bosley Crowther wrote, "... this easily vulnerable picture, which came to the Music Hall yesterday, is almost a perfect picturization of Mr. Hersey's book."[3]

A Bell for Adano
A Bell for Adano.jpg
Theatrical poster for A Bell for Adano (1945)
Directed byHenry King
Produced byLouis D. Lighton
Lamar Trotti
Screenplay byLamar Trotti
Norman Reilly Raine
Based onA Bell for Adano
1944 novel
by John Hersey
StarringGene Tierney
John Hodiak
William Bendix
Music byAlfred Newman
CinematographyJoseph LaShelle
Edited byBarbara McLean
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
  • July 6, 1945 (1945-07-06) (NYC)
  • [1] ([1])
Running time
103 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$2.5 million[2]

In addition to the Broadway play (Cort Theatre, (12/06/1944 - 10/27/1945),[4] which starred Fredric March, there have been several other versions of the story. In a 1955 Lux Video Theatre adaptation, Edmond O'Brien had the lead, with a young Charles Bronson playing the part William Bendix took in the movie.[5] Barry Sullivan and Anna Maria Alberghetti were in a 1956 CBS telecast,[6] and John Forsythe played the major in a 1967 Hallmark Hall of Fame broadcast.[7][8]


The story concerns Italian-American U.S. Army Major Joppolo (John Hodiak), who is placed in charge of the fictional town of Adano during the invasion of Sicily. The title refers to Major Joppolo's attempts to replace the 700-year-old bell that was taken from the town by the Fascists at the start of the war to be melted down for ammunition. Through his actions, Joppolo also wins the trust and love of the people.

Some of the changes Joppolo brings into the town include:

  • Democracy
  • Free fishing privilege
  • The freedom of mule carts
  • A bell from the American Navy to replace the town bell

The short-tempered American commander, General Marvin, fires Major Joppolo from his position when Joppolo disobeys an order to prohibit mule cart traffic in Adano, which has been disrupting Allied supply trucks, because the mule carts are vital to the survival of the town.

The character of Joppolo was based on the real life experiences of Frank Toscani, who was military governor of the town of Licata, Sicily after the Allied invasion.[9]



It was in production from early November 1944 to mid-January 1945. Location filming was done at Brent's Crags, near Malibu, California.


  1. ^ "A Bell for Adano". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. American Film Institute. Retrieved 2018-08-11.
  2. ^ Aubrey Solomon, Twentieth Century-Fox: A Corporate and Financial History Rowman & Littlefield, 2002 p 221
  3. ^ Crowther, Bosley (July 6, 1945). "A Bell for Adano (1945) The Screen; in military role". The New York Times.
  4. ^ https://www.ibdb.com/broadway-production/a-bell-for-adano-1603
  5. ^ https://www.thetvdb.com/series/the-lux-video-theatre/episodes/196415
  6. ^ http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,866975,00.html
  7. ^ https://flixanity.io/tv-show/hallmark-hall-of-fame/season/17/episode/2
  8. ^ http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title/68410/A-Bell-for-Adano/articles.html
  9. ^ Martin, Douglass. The New York Times: F.E. Toscani 89, Dies; Model for Hero of 'Bell for Adano' 28 Jan 2001

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