a bell for adano

Introduction Whoever had the crazy idea of dyeing Miss Tierney’s hair blonde? Had the world gone mad? Whatever the reason, playing the part of an Italian village girl with platinum blonde hair can have done little to further Gene’s career, especially since she does not even attempt an Italian accent, and limits herself to mechanically following a dreadful script which does not allow her to develop into any kind of believable character at all. This is a tasteless film in more ways than one: the scriptwriters’ patronising depiction of Italian village folk as ‘charmingly’ primitive, stupid, sycophantic ne’er-do-wells has to be seen to be believed. Synopsis It is nearly the end of the Second World War, and the Italian fascists are on the run. A small military detachment headed by Major Joppolo (John Hodiak) arrives in the village of Adano and sets about the task of organising village life – appointing a new mayor (the old one, a fascist collaborator, has fled to the hills), organising food and medical supplies, and generally restoring order. It is not long before the Major discovers that the villagers’ greatest desire, alongside food, is to see the village bell restored to its rightful place in the bell tower. Unfortunately, the previous one was sent by Mussolini to be melted down for weapons manufacture, so the Major resolves to find a replacement. Soon the Major’s attention is attracted by the beauty of blonde village girl Tina (Gene Tierney), the daughter of a fisherman who is persuaded by the Major to resume his fishing activities after a long period of enforced idleness. He meets her a few times, but is awkward and embarrassed with her, and his conscience obliges him to inform her that he is a married man: she responds by telling him that she has a sweetheart who went away to fight and whom she has had no news of for some time. Meanwhile the organisation of the village gradually gets underway: the fascist mayor, who had gone into…

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