Taken from Ernest Hemingway’s eponymous novel, “For Whom the Bell Tolls” is marked by the duo formed by Gary Cooper and Ingrid Bergman. For the latter, the famous writer is also personally involved so that she plays in the film.
For Whom the Bell Tolls : Ernest Hemingway’s cult novel
Born in Illinois in 1899, Ernest Hemingway is probably part of the greatest writers of the 20th century. Indeed, his tumultuous life, his particular style of writing and his charismatic personality marked the spirits. After rising to fame in the 1920s and 30s through cult novels such as The Sun Also Rises, Farewell to Arms or even The Snows of Kilimanjarohe published in 1940 Whyui toll the bell. To write it, he is inspired by the period during which he was present as a journalist during the Spanish civil war between the Republicans and the Francoists.
Thereby, For who tolls the death knell takes this conflict as its context, and follows Robert, an American university professor who comes to fight alongside the Republicans. He is notably responsible for blowing up a bridge that the Francoists cross. It was during his meeting with the group of republican resistance fighters that he met Maria, with whom he falls madly in love.
This ode to the Spanish people which mixes narrative of war and romance, is a real hit with readers. It reinforces the talent of Hemingway, and remains one of the flagship novels of the latter (former US President Barack Obama is said to have admitted that this work was one of his bedside books)
In 1943, a film adaptation of For who tolls the death knell sees the light of day in large halls. Directed by Sam Wood, it counts in its distribution two legendary actors : Gary Cooper and Ingrid Bergman.
When Ernest validates Gary and Ingrid
If Hemingway saw many of his works being adapted for cinema, he doesis however not a big fan of this art. This contempt for film production dates, in fact, from 1932, when his novel Farewell to arms comes out in dark rooms. For the writer, it’s a snub, the film having no connection with his work according to him. The novelist will deny the film and will also refuse to attend its premiere. From this feature film, however, he retains the performance of Gary Cooper with whom he will establish a deep friendly relationship. Exceptionally involved in For who tolls the death knellhe even makes sure to impose it so that he plays the role of Robert in the film. However, Cooper is not the only actor for whom Hemingway will make the forcing with the production.
In effect, OpenCulture reports an interview of Ingrid Bergman with the CBC from 1971. Thus, in addition to revealing that the writer had sold the film rights to Paramount because he wanted his friend Gary Cooper to play the main role (the latter was then under contract with the studio American)the star of casablanca admitted thatshe had played Maria thanks to him.
Ernest Hemingway spotted the actress in IntermezzoAmerican remake of the eponymous Swedish film (in which the actress played the main role). Blown away by his performancehe then sends him the copy of the book For who tolls the death knellalong with a short note: “You are the Maria of this book”.
Contract issue to be resolved
The catch, however? Ingrid Bergman was, at that time, under contract with another studio. : Selznick International Pictures. However, his boss David O. Selznick is willing to let the actress star in the film, thinking it could be a pretty hit. The leaders of Paramount are nevertheless not convinced of the Swedish actress and therefore prefer to take as their first choice one of their actresses under contract: Vera Zorina. However, after several weeks of filming, the latter does not do the trick at all. While Bergman has just finished filming casablancashe was then contacted by the studio to replace Zorinaon the advice of Hemingway and Selznick. Ingrid will therefore be Maria in For who tolls the death knell.
Ironically: it is casablanca which made Bergman famous until today. However, with Whyui toll the bell, she receives her first nomination as best actress at the Oscars.