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papa key
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Joined: 18 February 2006
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Posted: 13 March 2006 at 10:29am | IP Logged Quote papa key

was for whom the bell tolls a good movie or would it spoil the book that is a classic?

also why would hemingway have been thinking of ingred bergman of all people when he was writing maria?



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Posted: 13 March 2006 at 5:09pm | IP Logged Quote RobbieJor

I remember seeing FWTBT as a kid when it first out.


My first impression of watching the movie a year or so ago, this time as a Hemingway aficionado, was that it follows the book so well.  I have an awful habit of reading a book first and then seeing the movie and comparing the two.  I’m a Libra and I have to do that even though the comparison between the two art forms is not fair.


I believe that Hemingway was writing with the movies in mind maybe not as a primary motive but definitely as a secondary motive.  He had already enjoyed movie success with A Farewell to Arms and he was at a stage in his life where he could use the extra money: three kids, two Xs, a farm, a boat and a new, young wife to support.


During my commute I am currently reading Hemingway and his Conspirators by Leonard J. Leff.  I’ve just started the book but I did a look ahead and there’s only one mention of FWTBT but the book is about Hollywood, Scribners and the making of American celebrity culture. 


The Maria character “…was based on a lovely, dignified young Spanish nurse whom Ernest had met at a coastal hospital near Barcelona in the spring of 1938.” [The Hemingway Women page 334] and her personality was an amalgam of Hemingway’s wives and other women friends.  The Robert Jordan character is an amalgam of Hemingway. 


Based on these facts, I wouldn’t say that he wrote Maria’s character with Ingrid Bergman in mind.  But the movie$ were all the time in his subconscious and he could well have been thinking of an actor and actress to play these parts.  My inclination would be that Hemingway thought more about Gary Cooper playing the Robert Jordan part than Ingrid Bergman playing the Maria part.  After all, Gary Cooper had already starred in one Hemingway film: A farewell to Arms, the 1932 release.  And, Hemingway and Cooper were drinking and hunting buddies.


Best Regards,

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Peter Krynicki

Joined: 29 August 2005
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Posted: 15 March 2006 at 1:05pm | IP Logged Quote Peter Krynicki

There are examples of how the movies affected Hemingway. An especially good one is in For Whom the Bell Tolls...

"El Sordo lay behind the horse at the corner of the rock, watching the captain come striding up the hill.
"Only one he thought. We get only one. But from his manner of
speaking he is a casa mayor. Look at him walking. Look at what an
animal. Look at him stride forward. This one is for me. This one I take with me on the trip. This one coming now makes the same voyage I do. Come on, Comrade Voyager. Come striding. Come right along. Come alone to meet it. Come on. Keep on walking. Don't slow up. Come right along. Come as thou art coming Don't stop and look at those. That's right. Don't even look down. Keep on coming with your eyes forward. Look, he has a moustache, the Comrade Voyager.  He is a captain. Look at his sleeves. I said he was a casa mayor. He has the face of an Ingles. Look. With a red face and blond hair and blue eyes. With no cap on and his moustache is yellow. With blue eyes. With pale blue eyes. With pale blue eyes with something wrong with them. With pale blue eyes that don't focus. Close enough. Too close. Yes, Comrade Voyager. Take it, Comrade Voyager."

Rather than describe the soldier making his way to the top of the
hill to see if El Sordo is still alive, Hemingway describes the
soldier's progress by El Sordo's picking out in finer and finer
detail the soldier's face, until he can actually see that the
soldier is near-sighted. This is a cinematic effect in which there
are several freeze-frames which increase tension and which progess
to a climax.

Peter Krynicki
Plainsboro, New Jersey


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