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Watch free THE BROTHERHOOD OF THE BELL (1970), an allegory of Skull & Bones/Yale societies

Recruited by a secret society called the Brotherhood of the Bell when he was a college student, Prof. Andrew Patterson (played by Glenn Ford) is called upon many years later by a fellow society member to denounce a friend and respected colleague in order clear the way for an inferior candidate for an open position at the university. He refuses, and soon his seemingly successful life is disrupted as he learns that he was manipulated into a power position to serve as a puppet created, and thus subsequently easily destroyed, by the Brotherhood.

The film is a fictional portrayal of real-life secret organizations such as Skull and Bones.
The Brotherhood of the Bell, unavailable at Amazon.com
Runtime: 100 min
Country: USA
Language: English
Color: Color
Sound Mix: Mono
Certification: USA:Not Rated

Complete credited cast:

Glenn Ford .... Prof. Andrew Patterson
Rosemary Forsyth.... Vivian Patterson
Dean Jagger .... Chad Harmon
Maurice Evans .... Harry Masters
Will Geer .... Mike Patterson
Eduard Franz .... Dr. Konstantin Horvathy

William Conrad .... Bart Harris
Robert Pine .... Phillip Dunning

William Smithers.... Jerry Fielder
Logan Field .... Thaddeus Burns

Dabney Coleman .... Agent Shephard
Scott Graham .... Weber

User Comments:

13 out of 13 people found the following comment useful:-
A factor in the development of my personality?, 30 May 2002
Author: aarthur from Bay Area, CA

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]



The Brotherhood of the Bell - clip 1 (9:27)

There are 11 separate clips.

memorable quotes:

"You know it just occurred to me that we're part of the Establishment now."

"Not part. The Establishment."

There's something to ponder.

There's even a little accidental 'truth' getting out: see if you can find the word "Yale" on a pennant at the beginning of the flashback sequence when it should say St. George. Nice use of cinematography throughout to communicate "unsaid" things in a parallel world that the Brotherhood touches and creates, and when it touches and creates.

Has everything except the Yale societies' intergenerational nepotism angle and ritualized self-incrimination aspects (ritualized homosexuality)....though it does show how easy a secret society can quietly build up someone or block someone even without their knowledge, and can have this over their head for the rest of their life, useful in the movie's case in attempting to destroy when they rat on the Brotherhood.

A fine double morality play to ponder--both about secret societies in society at large, as well as about the existential and psychological position that 'conspiracy theorists' or individual conspiracy participants find themselves in the public eye, in attempting to escape or to proselytize to an ambivalant ignorant public about something hidden though equally real when public institutions, media airtime, friends, police, the district attorney, neighbors, and close relatives suddenly might be against them without anyone else knowing about it; the potential psychological toll it takes; and how the first line of easy defense for the "Brotherhood" is to paint sympathetically the person as "neurotic" or "funny" to a credulous public, when there is really something going on.

I loved the early 1970s TV talk show host scene and the power of the media framing the whole thing by misconstrued association and (surprisingly for a U.S. film, at the same moment, in a feint) vocalizing some seriously tabooed issues in America head on like the role of U.S. secret societies in perpetuating race, class, gender, religious, historical interpretation, and academic privilege, and the part played by secret societies maintaining a "calm staged reality" behind the scenes in the USA.

George W's Appointed Bonesmen

George W. Bush, a member of the Order of Skull & Bones, was initiated in 1968. He has appointed over ten fellow members to work in his administration.

BONESMAN Galbraith, Evan Griffith
Sec. Defense Rumsfeld's rep. Europe & Defense advisor U.S. mission to NATO

BONESMAN Donaldson, William Henry
Chairman, Securities and Exchange Commission

BONESMAN Walker, George Herbert III
U.S. Ambassador to Hungary

BONESMAN McGregor, Jack Edwin
Member, Advisory Board, Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation

BONESMAN Ashe, Victor Henderson
Member, Board Directors, Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae), [next, appointed to Ambassadorship of Poland; "Victor Ashe was sworn in as Ambassador to Poland on June 23, 2004," likely, to get him out of the U.S. jurisdiction because he is reputed to be Bush's homosexual lover and some Congressmen were actually investigating that link, according to Sherman Skolnick]

BONESMAN Austin, Roy Leslie
U.S. Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago

BONESMAN McCallum, Robert Davis Jr
Associate Attorney General; Assistant Attorney General Civil Division

BONESMAN Cowdry, Rex
Associate Director of the White House's National Economic Council

BONESMAN McNally, Edward E
Sr. Assoc. Counsel, President; General Counsel, Office of Homeland Security

BONESMAN Wiseman, David Batshaw
Attorney, Justice Department, Civil Division

BONESMAN Boasberg, James Emanuel
Associate Judge, Superior Court of the District of Columbia


BONESMAN Evan Griffith Galbraith

Sec. Defense Rumsfeld's rep. Europe & Defense advisor U.S. mission to NATO - Advisory director w/Morgan Stanley, chairman of the board, National Review and a member of the board, Groupe Lagardere S.A. Paris. Until 1998, he was chairman of the board of LVMH Moet Hennessey Locus Vultton Inc., New York. The Groupe Lagardere S.A. controls, with Daimler Benz, EADS (European Aerospace and Defense Systems), Europe's largest defense contractor and principal owner of Airbus. US Ambassador to France under Reagan; Managing Dir 75-81, Dillon Read; Chmn 69-75, Bankers Trust International Ltd, London subsidiary Bankers Trust Co; 61-69 w/Morgan Guaranty Trust Co of NY; 61-69 w/Shearman & Sterling; Confidential Asst 60-61, Sec of Commerce; Member, Bar of NY, DC; Lt 53-57, USNR attached to the Central Intelligence Agency. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He is stationed in Brussels.

BONESMAN William Henry Donaldson

Chairman, Securities and Exchange Commission - Chmn CEO Donaldson Enterprises, Inc, NYC; Dean 75-80, Prof Management Studies, Yale; Spec Advsr 75, US Pres; Under Secretary 73-74, State US; Founder, Chmn of Bd, CEO 59-73, Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, Inc (NYC); Mbr 53-70, Alumni Fund; Mbr, Yale Development; Trustee 70- Ford Foundation, Beekman Dwntwn Hosp, Wesleyan U; Mbr 71-7, Yale Corp; Mbr 75-, Yale Investment Comm; Dir, Deer Island Corp; 53-55 Lt USMC

BONESMAN George Herbert III Walker

U.S. Ambassador to Hungary - Chmn, Pres, CEO, Stifel, Nicolaus & Co, Inc (MO); Dirs, Mbr Exec Com, Securities Industry Assn; Bd Gov 83, Midwest Stock Exchange; Assoc Dir, A Gary Shilling & Co; Dir, VChmn, Webster College (MO); Mngng Ptnr, in charge Chicago office GH Walker & Co; Dirs, GH Walker & Co, Inc, Rixson, Inc, Marine Resources, Inc, Lafayette Federal Savings & Loan Assn, Laidlaw Corp, Western-Southern Life Insurance Company, and Macroeconomic Advisors, Inc

BONESMAN Jack Edwin McGregor

Member, Advisory Board, Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation - Of Counsel, Cohen & Wolf. Principal, Freeborn Investors, LLC; CEO, Aquarion Company; Dirs, People's Bank (Connecticut's largest bank), Aquarion Water Company, CDG Technology, Inc., and the Connecticut Committee of the Regional Plan Association, Atlantic League of Professional Baseball Clubs, Barnum Museum, Bay State Gas Company (NYSE), Fairfield University, National Hockey League, University of Bridgeport, and Yale-New Haven Hospital.; Pres, Hampton-Douglas Corp (NY); Chmn 81, Hampton-Windsor Corp; 81- Chmn Intrntnl Water Resources, Ltd; Lawyer, Reed, Smith, Shaw & McClay (DC); CEO Carey Energy Corp., a multinational oil company, was general counsel, U.S. Pay Board in the Cost of Living Council; VP, Gen Counsel 72-74, Potomac Electric Power Co; 71, w/US Dept of State Trustees 65- , Point Park College (Pittsburgh), 64-70 Western PA School for the Deaf; Mbr 62-70, PA State Senate; Pres 66-70, Pitts Hockey Club; Gov 67-69, Ntl Hockey League

BONESMAN Victor Henderson Ashe

Member, Board Directors, Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) - Mayor 75-(Four terms), Knoxville, TN; Mbr 72-81 TN State Senate; Mbr 68-72, TN House of Representatives; Lance Corporal, USMC

BONESMAN Roy Leslie Austin

U.S. Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago - 72- Associate Professor of Sociology, Justice and African American Studies; 94-98, Dir. Crime, Law and Justice, Department of Sociology, PA State

BONESMAN Robert Davis McCallum, Jr.

Associate Attorney General; Assistant Attorney General Civil Division - Ptnr, Alston & Bird, Atlanta, GA; Rhodes Scholar

BONESMAN Dr. Rex Cowdry

Associate Director of the White House's National Economic Council - 76-US Public Health Service; Assoc Clinical Dir, Intramural Research Program, NIMH, MD; Assoc Clinical Prof Georgetown

BONESMAN Edward E. McNally

Sr. Assoc. Counsel, President; General Counsel, Office of Homeland Security -Spec Asst to the Asst Attny Gen, US Dept of Justice, (DC); Dir 83-, Governors Project on Organized Crime & Narcotics Trafficking; Press Aide 81-, Office of VP, US

BONESMAN Wiseman, David Batshaw

Attorney, Justice Department, Civil Division - Department of Justice, Washington, D.C

BONESMAN Boasberg, James Emanuel

Associate Judge, Superior Court of the District of Columbia - 96- 2001 Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia; 95-96 Assoc. Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd & Evans, Washington, D.C.; 91-94, Assoc. Keker & Van Nest, San Francisco, California; 90-91 law clerk, Honorable Dorothy W. Nelson, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit