For TMR's very first Movie Roundtable I am joined by Mark Campbell (of Bowler or Fez Film Reviews) and Frank Johnson (researcher for Chris White's Ancient Aliens Debuked) for a lively and entertaining conversation on the compelling 1970 made-for-TV movie The Brotherhood of the Bell, starring Glenn Ford and Rosemary Forsyth.
The Brotherhood of the Bell tells the story of college professor Dr. Andrew Patterson (Glenn Ford), who as a young student became involved with a mysterious secret society at college called “Beta, Epsilon, Lambda” (acronym “Bel”). Although this turned out well for him for years—his career benefited from his being a member in all kinds of ways, even beyond his knowledge—reality dawns when 22 years later he is called upon to initiate a new member into the Brotherhood and to receive an assignment that he must carry out as an act of loyalty to the Society. Patterson must try to persuade an academic colleague to turn down an important job offer—because the Brotherhood wants someone else in that position—and, in case that colleague should refuse, Patterson is provided with a dossier of information to blackmail that colleague into submission. Reluctantly Patterson carries out the assignment, but the colleague freaks out and commits suicide. Thus, filled with remorse, Patterson decides to break the story to world about the wickedness of the Society and its assignments, but the influence of the Society is much bigger than he realises. Every technique is used against him to undermine his credibility: he loses his job, his wife, his standing in society. Vainly he hopes that the media will help him to blow the whistle, yet the media ends up being manipulated against him. Eventually his boss believes his story, and there's a chink of light at the end of the film as they hit on the idea of persuading other members of the Society to come forward. But does it succeed?