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34 out of 36 people found the following review useful:

A Very Special Thriller From An Earlier Time

Author: marianna1776 ( from Huxley, Iowa
18 June 2004

Brotherhood Of The Bell is a very special thriller from an earlier time in the made for television era of the early 1970s.I watched this recently, and I compared it with the film The Skulls, and The Skulls lost out.The Skulls storyline just seem to fall apart in the middle of the movie, and I was left feeling flat.The Brotherhood Of The Bell was in a different realm.I was take in from the first frame to the very last frame. I did not want this movie to end. Glenn Ford was excellent as the man under extreme pressure. I think this is his best performance, and I have seen most of his movies. Rosemary Forsythe was so elegant and she played the part of the wife just right.I got a kick out of Will Geer's performance as the father to Glenn Ford's character.It was so unlike his character as grandpa Walton in the Waltons television series.I give this movie a rating of 10 for excellent. I highly recommend this movie to fans of stories about secret societies.

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35 out of 38 people found the following review useful:

A factor in the development of my personality?

Author: aarthur from Bay Area, CA
30 May 2002

I saw this only once -- when it came out when I was ten years old. And I've never forgotten it. To this day I think this is probably the best made-for-TV movie ever.

Being so young when I saw it I'm sure I missed some subtleties, but nevertheless I knew something really wrong and conspiratorial was going on -- it was my first major fictional encounter with overwhelming paranoia and gross injustice, and it has stayed with me my entire life. It may even have been a factor in shaping my detestation of unjustified authority and power elites. I felt such profound, empathetic outrage at what was happening to Glenn Ford...I remember being transfixed the whole time, my blood percolating with anger and worry.

The acting (Glenn Ford was remarkable -- thoroughly convincing), the mood, the story, the crushing anxiety all still resonate within me more than thirty years later.

This is a movie that should see the light of day again -- it really ought to be available on DVD. [10/10]

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30 out of 31 people found the following review useful:

One Of The Best Movies Ever To Grace A Television Screen!

Author: dreamt_learnt ( from Iowa
2 January 2005

The Brotherhood Of The Bell is one of the best made for television movies ever to grace a television screen.Glenn Ford was awesome in his rendition of the troubled man who was looking for a solution to a most difficult problem. The entire cast was excellent.Rosemary Forsythe was very compelling as the wife in this story. I loved Will Geer in his part. It was so different from the role as Grandpa Walton!And let's not forget William Conrad as the television talk show host. It was a masterful performance to say the least!!I watched this movie just the other day, and I enjoyed it so much.This movie has stood up to the test of time. I recommend this to everyone.I have this movie on VHS tape.

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26 out of 32 people found the following review useful:

Why is this movie suppressed?

Author: ( from United States
9 April 2005

Brotherhood of the Bell, unlike it's progeny The Skulls (1-3 at present), deals with issues of conscience confronting moral adults. Mr. Ford's membership in a secret society (patterned after Yale's Skull and Bones society) forces him into very difficult life choices. I can only imagine these are similar to those facing actual members of this secret elite organization. This film courageously and sensitively throws a light on what it means to follow truth. Both President Bush the First and Second and Mr. John Kerry, are actual members of the Yale secret fraternity. During this last election both were asked (separately at different times and locations) to explain about this group. Both replied from the same script (paraphrasing) "I can't, it's secret!". Video tape available showing this from Isn't this a conflict of interest? An original draft of the 13th Amendment to our US Constitution would have prohibited office seekers from membership in secret organizations. But the strength of Yale College (as it was then called) and the elite "Bonesmen" could never have allowed such a law. Could this also explain why this film, which boldly exposes conspiracy and corrupt loyalties, is never shown on movie channels and rarely if ever found in a video rental store? Buy the video wherever you can find it (the internet has sites where you can find it), watch it and show it to friends. Spread the message. Remember, all that is needed for evil to win is for good men (and women) to do nothing.

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19 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

One of the best made-for-TV movies.

Author: David R. Schryer from Hampton, VA
14 May 2002

The Brotherhood of the Bell is a very good movie by any standard, and is one of the best made-for TV movies I've ever seen. The premise is that there exists an elite fraternity whose members occupy positions of power throughout industry, academia, and virtually all levels of government. Glenn Ford plays a member of the fraternity who, in carrying out an assignment, discovers how insidious its actions can be. As a consequence, he tries to reveal it to the public. He quickly discovers just how powerful the Brotherhood is when he loses his job, his wife, and his reputation for attempting to expose it. I realize that this movie is fictional, but I must admit that it has caused me to suspect that their really is an elite oligarchy in this country which does indeed have enormous power. I wish this movie would be made available on video cassette or DVD. It should not be forgotten.

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17 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

One of the greatest suspense movies ever made!

Author: Pierre L. Touchette ( from Montreal, Canada
2 January 2003

I hadn't seen this movie since it was first aired on TV in the early '70s; 30 years later, it is much better than what I recalled. Glenn Ford is at his very best; actually, all of the actors are really great. The script as well as the photography are first class. In an era where we all look for enemies outside North America, it is appropriate to remind ourselves that there might be enemies within. I wish WB would release this movie on DVD.

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13 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Great movie. Glenn Ford is troubled and William Conrad is the most annoying talk show host in the world.

Author: kellyclan5 from Sterling Heights, MI
25 December 2002

Glen Ford is a successful professor -- an elite member of society. Little does he know that his membership in a fraternity known as the "Brotherhood of the Bell" guaranteed him much of his success. It has been over 30 years since I saw this movie on TV and I still remember William Conrad (Bart) and his ding-a-ling bell. What a pathetic excuse for a human being. Glen Ford's troubled character is also memorable, but this movie is not even listed in his credits. What a "sleeper". I hope I can find a copy.

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12 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Well-acted, Thought-provoking

Author: swiss2nz from Royal Oak, MI
17 December 2005

I saw this topnotch made-for-TV movie when it debuted in 1970, and again several years later, and cannot understand why it is not available on video and DVD, and why, as another writer has pointed out, it does not even appear in Glenn Ford's filmography. The acting is excellent throughout, and the suspense doesn't let up. Though I haven't see it in years, I think of it often; every time I see omnipotent informational gatekeepers (NYT, WaPo, ABC, NBC, CBS) shamelessly working hand-in-hand with one of our major political parties to promote a common agenda. Everyone should see this movie. And everyone should be scared.

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14 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

Above average TV movie.

Author: David R. Schryer from Hampton, VA
26 May 1999

The Brotherhood of the Bell is an elite fraternity whose members effectively control much of the government and non-government power in the U.S. Glenn Ford's character is a disillusioned member of the Brotherhood who attempts to expose it following the suicide of a friend whom it has victimized. Ford's attempts to expose the Brotherhood bring its power to bear on him, resulting in the destruction of his reputation, his job, and even his marriage. So convincing was this movie that I was left with the impression that much of the real power in this country could indeed be held by an elite oligarchy of rich and powerful people without the awareness of the general populace. See this one if you can.

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8 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

A Hard Look At "The American Dream"

Author: SadTomato
21 October 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"The Brotherhood of the Bell" is one of the most audacious, subversive, and thought provoking movies ever made for American television.

Glenn Ford, as Prof. Andrew Patterson, goes through hell for spilling the beans about the all seeing, all powerful Brotherhood of the Bell. But director Paul Wendkos and writer David Karp slyly ask us to consider whether it is the Brotherhood that is responsible for Patterson's misery or--more boldly--Patterson himself.

Wendkos does a superb job, through masterful camera-work, of keeping the audience off guard. We are never quite sure whether the events we are witnessing are the results of the Brotherhood, coincidental occurrences, or merely paranoid delusions Patterson is having. The only thing we know for sure is the horrible psychic toll these events are having for Patterson. The film is about loss. And along with losing his his best friend, his job, his father, and his wife, it is clear he is also losing his mind.

But, ironically, the more he loses the more Patterson seems to gain. And what he gains is a clearer grasp of "The American Dream." Like a Buddhist parable on hallucinogenics, the movie asks what real value are a beautiful wife, luxurious home, well paying job, etc. if they can be so easily taken away? Even television, the very device people were watching "Brotherhood" on in 1970, is savaged in the depiction of "The Bart Harris Show." The show, symbolic of an America out of control, is a festering cesspool of hate, paranoia and frustration with William Conrad's Harris as a man-in-charge who has nothing but contempt for his audience. For an American TV movie in the '70s to suggest that there was more to life than a beautiful wife, beautiful home, a well-paying job and that television was essentially a freak show aimed at the lowest common denominator was heretical indeed.

In many ways, it is the precursor to a film that would come 37 years later, David Fincher's "The Game." What "Bell" and "The Game" have in common is that both films use the otherwise hackneyed "conspiracy" film plot as a kind of Trojan Horse to say some rather nasty and pointed things about "The American Dream."

"Brotherhood of the Bell" is an allegory and to only focus on its overt storyline of secret society shenanigans is to miss the bigger picture.

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