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Thread: The Hill (1965)

  1. #21
    Senior Member Country: UK homeguard's Avatar
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    I thought how brilliantly Harry Andrews played every Sergeant Major I've ever known - hard but fair, and how he could manipulate men. Then on one of these posts I found out he had spent most of his adult life 'manipulating' men. How disappointed I was.

    Regards,

    HG

  2. #22
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    felt it was more a mans film, it bored me and unsettled me too, I didnt like it one bit.

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by donna
    felt it was more a mans film, it bored me and unsettled me too, I didnt like it one bit.
    It never bored me at all because the writing is superb, unsettling yes most definitely VERY! A mans film - well I don't know what you mean by that does it appeal to men only and why would it? It certainly doesn't portray men in a positive light even the Connery character has his flaws the film never shys away from the awkward analysis of the male character and never stereotypes them into easy to digest formulas. I don't think theres much to like here either but then I don't watch film for just entertainment so constraints like being able to like a film don't sway me in my admiration for a film.



    Simon

  4. #24
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    IM afraid I look for happy endings and when i saw this film , I left the cinema uneasy . maybe I like sugar coated films more.

  5. #25
    Senior Member Country: UK charliekane's Avatar
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    Rather a neglected actor but superb in both this and The Offence (also with Connery), Ian Bannen has a wonderful moment when he has tried to persuade his superiors into laying off the men, and shows his frustration outside the door - impotent rage. A fine actor, who tragically died in a car crash at the age of 71 a few Christmasses ago.

  6. #26
    Super Moderator Country: UK christoph404's Avatar
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    Brilliant film and as Third Man points out,it would seem the tradition of "beasting" in the British army is alive and well as three army officers are presently on trial for manslaughter after a soldier died of heatstroke or hyperthermia as it is properly called at Lucknow Barracks in Tidworth on Salisbury Plain after being subjected to almost identical punishment as depicted in the film. Accused Sergeant Russell Price prided himself in being the most hated officer in the regiment. It makes the film very topical even 40 years later and quite disturbing to learn that this sort of thing actually still goes on in the British Army.

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by charliekane
    Rather a neglected actor but superb in both this and The Offence (also with Connery), Ian Bannen has a wonderful moment when he has tried to persuade his superiors into laying off the men, and shows his frustration outside the door - impotent rage. A fine actor, who tragically died in a car crash at the age of 71 a few Christmasses ago.
    A very fine actor who got a Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in 'The Flight of the Phoenix' (1965) - he did play a rather subdued role in The Hill, not much scope for his range of acting but what he did have, he made with very well. His Harris character was one of being reserved or restrained and like you say when he had to say something he could not quite pull it off but you could see it simmering beneath the facade - impotent rage indeed.



    Simon

  8. #28
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    THE HILL is one of my all-time favourites, and, because TCM seems to show it every 48 hours, I seem to have seen it (or bits of it) more than any other film!



    The acting is superb and the absurd pettiness of the 'screws' is painful to endure ... needless to say, unavailable on DVD in the UK but it is out in the US, and a very nice copy it is, too.

  9. #29
    Senior Member Country: UK kelp's Avatar
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    As Ex-Guards, I can assure you that Harry Andrews RSM was as real as it gets, a near perfect piece of acting. I recall a similar man at Caterham Depot. An excellent film from start to finish.

  10. #30
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    My Dad, who was in the Mid-East from 1946-8 says it was very accurate. He remembers having to take a prisoner to Colchester Glass-house (the remaining military prison) and even the escort had to double-march! Dad was in the next bed in British military hospital in Alexandria to a Staff Sergeant prison officer who had broken his hand beating up a prisoner!



    Eventually those 'detention wallahs' left in the prisons out in the Mid East when we left Palestine etc. were just dumped on to units still serving and the prisons closed. Dad said they were often thugs, thieves, and general scum that the draft had trawled-up.

  11. #31
    Senior Member Country: UK kelp's Avatar
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    That is true about Doubling at the Military prisons. I too have been on ESCORT with AWOL's, taking them to either Colchester or Shepton Mallet Military nick, and immediately you entered you were on 144 paces a minute! Caterham, as any Guardsman will tell you was run under similar lines. basic twelve weeks was hell. They closed it down, and moved us to Pirbright Guards Depot in Surrey.

    But I digress. THE HILL remains an excellent film, superbly written, and a reminder of what used to happen. I can't help thinking, what if our prisons of today had a deterrent?

    Cue Steve..................

  12. #32
    Super Moderator Country: UK christoph404's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kelp
    That is true about Doubling at the Military prisons. I too have been on ESCORT with AWOL's, taking them to either Colchester or Shepton Mallet Military nick, and immediately you entered you were on 144 paces a minute! Caterham, as any Guardsman will tell you was run under similar lines. basic twelve weeks was hell. They closed it down, and moved us to Pirbright Guards Depot in Surrey.

    But I digress. THE HILL remains an excellent film, superbly written, and a reminder of what used to happen. I can't help thinking, what if our prisons of today had a deterrent?

    Cue Steve..................
    Well I guess physical punishment that could result in death could be seen as a pretty strong deterrent for being undisciplined or going AWOL!! It seems very extreme to me and out of proportion to the misdemeanors involved.

  13. #33
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    The Hill & The Offence, 2 films where Connery really did act before he became a parody. I believe old Sean has wasted his talent unlike Caine who has made some goodies between the dross.

  14. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by christoph404
    Well I guess physical punishment that could result in death could be seen as a pretty strong deterrent for being undisciplined or going AWOL!! It seems very extreme to me and out of proportion to the misdemeanors involved.




    If we look at The Hill in the perspective of military psychology and that of deconstructing a man and then rebuilding him up to the requirements of the accepted norm within the military group then Lumet’s film is telling us that the individual matters, it is powerful enough to rebel and buck the system. So the human being is cast as a singular entity instead of being an integral part of the system but on the other hand is Lumet telling us that for the system to work it ultimately needs the compliance of the individual to work properly otherwise it falls apart - something that I think in this case it does but by the end there is another reversal in play - Lumet gives us a taste of personnel expression within a rigid and authoritarian power and gives exceptionally high levels of character analysis to lots of different people, therefore giving power to the individuals all the way through the film but at the end are we seeing might-over-right and the perspective of as individuals we will never be able to take on the powerful establishments?



    Kubrick also with Full Metal Jacket another of his films shot in the UK was about the stripping down of men’s characters and building them up into fighting units albeit in his film civilians are turned into war ready fighting machines rather than in Lumet’s The Hill insubordinate soldiers where being stripped down because of their non-compliance so therefore harder to re-educate so maybe the punishment reflected that tougher assignment that in being a lot more harder destructive to the human psychology as well as physicality in order to get them back on track. Kubricks film goes through the trial and error of getting soldiers ready to go to war - where they do eventually end up and ends up with soldiers singing while on duty going through the ruins of a Vietnam city the theme tune from the Mickey Mouse Club, this always reminds me of The Hill as well for as the reference to Mickey Mouse in this context means:



    Something - or someone - that was petty, stupid and senseless.



    Both of these films are great to watch together both have very ambiguous endings that could be seen as very similar outcomes - that of the soldiers who all know their part of some barmy army but have very little power to stop it or win their freedom from it.





    Simon

  15. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevie boy
    The Hill & The Offence, 2 films where Connery really did act before he became a parody. I believe old Sean has wasted his talent unlike Caine who has made some goodies between the dross.
    A bit harsh there surely, we also had

    The Molly Maguires

    Zardoz (and don't anyone try and tell me this isn't brilliant)

    Outland

  16. #36
    Senior Member Country: UK homeguard's Avatar
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    But was he really acting in The Molly Maguires? A great exemplifier of The Ancient Order of Hibernians our Sean.



    HG

  17. #37
    Senior Member Country: UK homeguard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Automotivehistorian
    My Dad, who was in the Mid-East from 1946-8 says it was very accurate. He remembers having to take a prisoner to Colchester Glass-house (the remaining military prison) and even the escort had to double-march! Dad was in the next bed in British military hospital in Alexandria to a Staff Sergeant prison officer who had broken his hand beating up a prisoner!



    Eventually those 'detention wallahs' left in the prisons out in the Mid East when we left Palestine etc. were just dumped on to units still serving and the prisons closed. Dad said they were often thugs, thieves, and general scum that the draft had trawled-up.
    Dead right! And that's the point that most people miss when criticising this type of punishment. There were men who would do anything, then there were the unlucky souls like Stevens, and the odd few heroes (in the eyes of the other prisoners) like Roberts who had tried to save his mens' lives by disobeying orders. As the film gently points out, and Roberts grudgingly accepts, you don't disobey orders - somebody above your pay scale might know more than you!

    I thought that apart from Harry Andrews, Ian Hendry played the part of bullying bas***d to perfection. How many other ex-squaddies have met that t**t in their service?

    Great movie, but not because of Sean.

    Regards,

    HG

  18. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by homeguard
    Dead right! And that's the point that most people miss when criticising this type of punishment. There were men who would do anything, then there were the unlucky souls like Stevens, and the odd few heroes (in the eyes of the other prisoners) like Roberts who had tried to save his mens' lives by disobeying orders. As the film gently points out, and Roberts grudgingly accepts, you don't disobey orders - somebody above your pay scale might know more than you!

    I thought that apart from Harry Andrews, Ian Hendry played the part of bullying bas***d to perfection. How many other ex-squaddies have met that t**t in their service?

    Great movie, but not because of Sean.

    Regards,

    HG
    Agree with everything you say - I did get a slight hint of grievance from yourself with the Connery character Roberts, I myself think he's not that worthy of admiration rather of a person sitting on the fence to see which way the wind blows, perhaps I'm looking too deeply.



    Simon

  19. #39
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    Absolutely love The Hill Ian Bannen is my favourite character but Sean Connery is brilliant as usual. Got this one on Region 1



    Val

  20. #40
    Senior Member Country: UK homeguard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Third Man
    Agree with everything you say - I did get a slight hint of grievance from yourself with the Connery character Roberts, I myself think he's not that worthy of admiration rather of a person sitting on the fence to see which way the wind blows, perhaps I'm looking too deeply.



    Simon
    You're right, he wasn't worthy of admiration - and he knew it. He was in jail for assaulting a senior officer who had commanded him to take his men into a battle which Roberts considered a waste of his mens' lives. On first consideration that might have seemed a noble thing to do, but in reality, soldiers know that is beyond the pale. They also know that a senior NCO guilty of that crime is finished. There is no way back from a Courts Marshall conviction for disobeying an officer and striking him. Until 1919 he would have been shot. That makes his position in the prison impossible. Jock McGrath (Jack Watson) summed it up when they were being lined-up for the first time. His dislike of Roberts would have been echoed throughout the prison, and anyone associating with him would have suffered similar isolation from the main body of the prison. Roberts had nothing to lose, and even the RSM wouldn't have bothered to try and change his attitude.

    I think you are right to look deeply. There are many dark examples of military life which are accepted by the serving soldier in his world that are depicted in this film. It illustrates the difference between ordinary and military society very well. I doubt it could be replicated today as most of the people involved with the film would have had some experience, first or secondhand, of National Service at least, and also a good proportion of the audiences in the 1960s.

    Sorry, I've run on a bit there - as usual!

    Still a great movie as a social commentary though.



    Regards, HG

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