Monday, June 18, 2012

Movie of the Week – The Hill

This week’s movie is The Hill (1965).

The drama is about a military prison in North Africa during WWII. The story beings when five new prisoners arrive, including Joe Roberts, an officer fed up with sending his men to die by way of uncaring superiors handing down bad orders. It all goes wrong for these prisoners when they are brutally punished by the guards. The film is directed by auteur Sidney Lumet (whose best work includes 12 Angry Men, Network and Dog Day Afternoon, though this is also one of his best) – a New York director, who makes a very British style film. He worked with cinematographer Oswald Morris and art director Herbert Smith on the film. The cast is excellent, featuring many very good performances. Sean Connery stars (in probably his best non-James Bond film of the 1960s; Marnie is a good one too) with Harry Andrews, Ian Bannen, Ossie Davis, Ian Hendry, and Michael Redgrave (among others) in support. The film is one of the many forgotten masterpieces of its era – upon its release, many critics ignored it as it starred commercial actor Sean Connery who was just coming off the success of Goldfinger (and was the number box office draw of the year). It is one of the many anti-war films made in protest of the Vietnam War and the Cold War in general. It looks deeply at the brutality that man is capable of when he holds all the power. However, it also has moments of heroism as well. It is really too bad that The Hill never got the acclaim it deserves, and is largely forgotten today. It is a must-see for fans of wonderful dramas, focusing on will and cowardice of human spirit. Check out the trailer.

Available on DVD

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