A Bell for Adano

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A Bell for Adano
A Bell for Adano.jpg
Theatrical poster for A Bell for Adano (1945)
Directed by Henry King
Produced by Louis D. Lighton
Lamar Trotti
Screenplay by Lamar Trotti
Norman Reilly Raine
Based on A Bell for Adano
by John Hersey
Starring Gene Tierney
John Hodiak
William Bendix
Music by Alfred Newman
Cinematography Joseph LaShelle
Edited by Barbara McLean
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date
  • June 21, 1945 (1945-06-21)
Running time
103 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $2.5 million[1]

A Bell for Adano (1945) is a film directed by Henry King and starring John Hodiak and Gene Tierney. It was adapted from the 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."[2]


The story concerns Italian-American U.S. Army Major Joppolo, who is placed in charge of the 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.[3]



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


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