A Bell for Adano

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This article is about the film. For the novel, see A Bell for Adano (novel).
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 dates
  • June 21, 1945 (1945-06-21)
Running time
103 minutes
Country United States
Language English

A Bell for Adano (1945) is a film directed by Henry King starring John Hodiak and Gene Tierney. The film 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."[1]


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.[2]

In A Bell for Adano, Major Joppolo and his men are given the task to bring back peace to the war-torn Italian town of Adano. His task is to administer the equipment that gets into the town without any intervention from troops. He wants to restore the bell that is central to the life of the people in Adano [3]


Production notes[edit]

  • Production Dates: Early Nov 1944–mid-Jan 1945
  • Location filming was done at Brent's Crags, near Malibu, California.

Stage adaptation[edit]

Hersey's novel was also the basis for Paul Osborn's 1945 Broadway play A Bell for Adano, starring Fredric March.

Television adaptations[edit]

On June 2, 1956, CBS Television broadcast a version of Hersey's story, starring Barry Sullivan and Anna Maria Alberghetti and directed by Paul Nickell. On November 15, 1967, Hallmark Hall of Fame broadcast a version starring John Forsythe and Murray Hamilton and directed by Mel Ferrer.

Radio adaptation[edit]

A Bell for Adano was presented on Star Playhouse October 11, 1953. March starred in the adaptation.[4]


  1. ^ Crowther, Bosley (July 6, 1945). "A Bell for Adano (1945) The Screen; in military role". The New York Times. 
  2. ^ Martin, Douglass. The New York Times: F.E. Toscani 89, Dies; Model for Hero of 'Bell for Adano' 28 Jan 2001
  3. ^ jack, steve. "A Bell for Adano". http://www.writengine.com. Retrieved 14 April 2014.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  4. ^ Kirby, Walter (October 11, 1953). "Better Radio Programs for the Week". The Decatur Daily Review. p. 50. Retrieved July 6, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication - free to read

External links[edit]