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In the above photo, author Ernest Hemingway (left) dines with director Frank Capra at the Paramount Studio commissary in 1941. Capra holds a copy of Hemingway’s then-latest novel — FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS (1940). Set during the Spanish Civil War (1933-1939), the book became the basis for the 1943 film of the same name starring Gary Cooper and Ingrid Bergman — actors that Hemingway selected for the roles.

Whether or not Capra was pitching his services during this lunch with Hemingway, he did not end up with the director’s slot — instead, Sam Wood assumed the role because shortly after this photo was taken, the United States entered WWII. Frank Capra served as a Colonel in the U.S. Army Signal Corps, where he remained during the war years (1941-1945) making a variety of military films, including many shot during combat. Hemingway spend much of WWII as a war correspondent in various parts of the world.

After the war, Capra’s first Hollywood assignment was to direct James Stewart in the now-classic IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE (1946). Hemingway did not release another major novel until 1952, when he published THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954 and was cited for “his mastery of the art of narrative, most recently demonstrated in The Old Man and the Sea, and for the influence that he has exerted on contemporary style.”

OPENING PASSAGE FROM FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS

He lay flat on the brown, pine-needled floor of the forest, his chin on his folded arms, and high overhead the wind blew in the tops of the pine trees. The mountainside sloped gently where he lay; but below it was steep and he could see the dark of the oiled road winding through the pass. There was a stream alongside the road and far down the pass he saw a mill beside the stream and the falling water of the dam, white in the summer sunlight.”