World War II Marathon: The Hill (1965)


Film #19 in the World War II Marathon!

Screenplay By: Ray Rigby
Directed By: Sidney Lumet

I don’t often like to talk about the interesting movie I wanted to see as opposed to the movie I ended up seeing. The Hill leaves me no choice but to talk about that concept, because it best describes my feelings towards the movie. There is a good movie to be found in The Hill, it just so happens there could have been a much better and more interesting movie if a different path had been taken. Instead The Hill is kind of a jumbled mess, with too many protagonists and antagonists, it lacks the definitive punch needed to be a great movie.

Before I get into all that I’d like to take a second to espouse how great Sean Connery is in The Hill. Other actors are great as well, but I’m so used to Sean Connery playing Sean Connery that I forgot how great of an actor he can be. He never overacts, he never steps outside of the moment, he makes sure that each moment is about his character and not about him as an actor. I’m not a huge Bond fan, but I’d easily place The Hill as the best work Connery has ever done.

Back to the idea of the movie I wanted versus the movie I received. Sidney Lumet sets The Hill up to be a singular duel, a battle of the wills between Roberts and Wilson. I was digging that direction, I wanted to see that movie, but Wilson moved to the background in favor of Williams, while Roberts took a backseat to Stevens and the other members of his cell. Instead of a battle of the wills, Lumet crafted a treatise on the evilness that can be found on your own side in a war. While still good, the problem with that idea is that it doesn’t gel with where Lumet starts The Hill and where he attempts to end it, that singular one-on-one showdown.

The Hill lacks a personal feel, it never quite manages to get as in-depth with any of its characters as it should. I firmly believe this happens because Lumet move away from the one-on-one struggle and focuses on a lot of different characters, characters that are never fully fleshed out. I simply wasn’t as interested in the story Lumet gave me as opposed to the story that was present and ready to be delivered.

It’s not a bad film by any measure, but I was disappointed in The Hill. It could have been so much more and I would have been deeply interested in that other movie. The product delivered is decent enough and worth a watch, but it’s not something to go out of your way to see and it isn’t one of the better films found in this marathon.





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