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(YouTube) Video Saturday Cinema, The Hill, 1965 - Sean Connery is stuck in a British military prison when things go from bad to much, much worse. Sidney Lumet directs   (youtube.com) divider line 14
    More: Video, Sean Connery, Sidney Lumet, Original Film, Ian Hendry, Harry Andrews, humans, military prison, Robert Stacy McCain  
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1054 clicks; posted to Video » on 26 Apr 2014 at 1:45 PM (34 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-04-26 09:47:16 AM  
www.samefacts.com
Milkman and nude model Sean Connery found himself an international celebrity after making Dr No in '62.  Sequels followed but in the rush, he also did his first of many films with Sidney Lumet.  If you've never heard of Lumet himself, you know of his films: 12 Angry Men, Serpico, Fail Safe, The Verdict, Dog Day Afternoon, Network. I shan't go on, just read the Wiki article.

Apparently he was well known for really getting a lot of out of his actors, and often doing no more than two takes.
After making The Hill with Sean Connery, the two reunited four more times for The Offense, The Anderson Tapes, Family Business, and Murder on the Orient Express.

In The Hill, Connery plays a British career solider busted down to trooper and sent sent to cool his heels in a prison in Libya during WW2. He's there because of a fist-fight with his commanding officer after refusing to order his squad into a suicidal attack.

There's a particular style to the writing that we don't have any more that was called Kitchen Sink writing. It's dated but in a nice way. Racial taunts used to bait one of the cell mates to get him to undermine his own credibility are somehow more shocking than what'd be written today.

As you might expect in a military prison picture the a CO 's too busy to dirty his hands with the difficult job of running a prison. The RSM overseeing the prison's day-to-day operations  is played by scot Harry Andrews. Clever and even brilliant where he needs to be, the RSM has nevertheless become inattentive to one aspect of the smooth running of his machine: a power struggle between his two staff sergeants. Ultimately, he backs the wrong man. Watch Andrews and Connery go at it.

The titular hill is a mound of sand in centre of the quad where the prisoners are marched.

Irrespective of heat, ability or value, the men up and down the hill.

Finally one of them becomes ill. There is sure to be fall out and in the panic that follows, the various characters start shouldering for position. It's a bit like the Standford Experiment.

Ian Bannon, and Michael Redgrave round out the cast. Speaking of Redgrave, who plays the vacillating doctor, you may notice that he's smoking. Well, the US Surgeon General's report about smoking didn't come out until 1966, so a physician smoking in the 1940s isn't as odd as you might think. Comic bit player Roy Kinnear plays a career thief who isn't physically credible as a soldier but plays his bit sympathetically.

Here's a fluff documentary about The Hill released at the time.

The film was shot by Oscar winning Oswald Morris. (Lolita, Guns of Navarone, The Spy who Came In from the Cold, the Man who would be King, Mackintosh Man). Amazingly, the interiors seem to have more heat and pressure than the baking sun outside.  A lot of the shooting seems to have been done with a 20mm lens at F22. Some of the shooting reminds me of how Terry Gilliam and John Frankenheimer used super wide lenses to almost have the camera operator's feet in the frame.

Here's a link to last week's Saturday Cinema.

Next week's Saturday Cinema wanted to go through the gate of Heaven but burned through a Hell of a lot of money.
www.moviegoods.com
 
2014-04-26 01:41:20 PM  
The Rock is the prison?
 
2014-04-26 01:46:50 PM  
Brutal movie.
 
2014-04-26 02:03:33 PM  
Terrific write up. Probably because it is b&w, I always thought this was before Dr. No.

After making The Hill with Sean Connery, the two reunited four more times for The Offense, The Anderson Tapes, Family Business, and Murder on the Orient Express.

I've seen several of these, and the rest are now on my download list.
 
2014-04-26 02:51:59 PM  
does he play a Spaniard with a Scotch accent?
 
2014-04-26 03:59:17 PM  

E_Henry_Thripshaws_Disease: does he play a Spaniard with a Scotch accent?


Um, scotch is what a scot drinks. (A word to the wise.)


RoyBatty: Terrific write up. ... I've seen several of these, and the rest are now on my download list.


Thanks, sir.

I've been holding back on the Connery Lumet collaborations for dry spells. I've seen them all but Family Business. The Hill really feels like a stage play but clearly a fair bit of money was spent on it. A crane was rented for the opening shot to set the tone and that really helped keep it from seeming like a movie of the week. The long near-riot scene and men on parade in every shot also lends a 'bigness' to the story without detracting from the four main prisoners.

In comparison, Catch-22 has no personnel in the background ever or nearly ever.

As an aside, black and white films were still being used for top end productions well into the mid and even late 60s. Though the Train was considered the last big action film shot in glorious black and white. There were no end of best actor, best this and best that for black and white films throughout the early sixties but the tide was turning.
 
2014-04-26 04:51:54 PM  

gaslight: E_Henry_Thripshaws_Disease: does he play a Spaniard with a Scotch accent?

Um, scotch is what a scot drinks. (A word to the wise.)


RoyBatty: Terrific write up. ... I've seen several of these, and the rest are now on my download list.

Thanks, sir.

I've been holding back on the Connery Lumet collaborations for dry spells. I've seen them all but Family Business. The Hill really feels like a stage play but clearly a fair bit of money was spent on it. A crane was rented for the opening shot to set the tone and that really helped keep it from seeming like a movie of the week. The long near-riot scene and men on parade in every shot also lends a 'bigness' to the story without detracting from the four main prisoners.

In comparison, Catch-22 has no personnel in the background ever or nearly ever.

As an aside, black and white films were still being used for top end productions well into the mid and even late 60s. Though the Train was considered the last big action film shot in glorious black and white. There were no end of best actor, best this and best that for black and white films throughout the early sixties but the tide was turning.


The sixties for me are literally colored with Spaghetti Westerns, while the 50s are Casablanca and Twelve Angry Men, but I guess there is Psycho, Night of the Iguana, The Hill, and I guess the Train which okay, is also now on my download list.
 
2014-04-26 06:11:32 PM  
Well, Casablanca came out in the 40s but yeah it can blur. I can't say enough good things about the Train. The Director's commentary audio track for it is stellar.
 
2014-04-26 06:15:54 PM  

gaslight: Well, Casablanca came out in the 40s but yeah it can blur. I can't say enough good things about the Train. The Director's commentary audio track for it is stellar.


Yes, of course Casablanca came out in the 40s (since it was made and came out early in the war.) Well, I was certainly thinking of the Maltese Falcon and The Big Sleep and many other great 50s noir that it turns out also came out in the 40s.
 
2014-04-26 06:26:44 PM  
IMO Connery's best performance was in the previously mentioned "The Offense." Not a pleasant movie, a bit slow at times and obviously adapted from a stage play, but dang if Connery doesn't prove to be a terrific actor. The scenes between he and Vivien Merchant are the movie's highlight.
 
2014-04-26 07:47:08 PM  
fantastic bit of cinema.
 
2014-04-26 10:51:57 PM  
Standford Experiment? Was that at Standford University?
 
2014-04-26 11:51:07 PM  
Ian Bannen was a great "that guy" actor. He was especially good in the TV version of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.
 
2014-04-27 12:09:28 PM  

BalugaJoe: Standford Experiment? Was that at Standford University?


Dumbass typo on my part. You're correct. Sorry!
 
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