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Harry H. Corbett,
In Britain, at the dawn of jet-powered commercial aviation, an aircraft manufacturer tries to shift the blame from mechanical failure to pilot error when its newest jet airliner has a series of accidents.
A small time thief is recruited by a mobster to help with the racketeering. He doesn't like the job, but with the mob on his back, a femme fatale in his bed and a sick friend to care for, he will have to keep all his wits about him.
In 1951 during the Korean War general retreat of United Nations Forces a small British re-con platoon finds itself cut-off from the main British force.The platoon is led by Lieutenant Butler and Sergeant Payne.Corporals Ryker and Hodge are in charge of the men.After executing a search and destroy mission in an abandoned and booby-trapped Korean village the platoon heads toward rice fields but finds itself surrounded by Chinese enemy troops.When sending for help becomes no option Lieutenant Butler decides to closer investigate the isolated Korean temple perched atop a steep hill.The temple seems to be a good defensible position for the platoon but it's located at the top of the steep hill with only a sheer cliff to its rear. Written by
A Hill in Korea (AKA: Hell in Korea) is directed by Julian Amyes and adapted to screenplay by Anthony Squire, Ronald Spencer and Ian Dalrymple from the Max Catto novel. It stars George Baker, Harry Andrews, Stanley Baker, Michael Medwin, Ronald Lewis, Stephen Boyd and Victor Maddern. Music is by Malcolm Arnold and cinematography by Freddie Francis.
Out of British Lion Films, film is based on real events. Story follows a small group of British soldiers serving in the Korean War, who while out on routine patrol find themselves boxed in on all sides by the Chinese army. Against the odds the men, from different walks of life, must stand together to stand any chance of survival.
A Hill in Korea is more concerned with the conflict amongst the group of soldiers than it is with the enemy. 16 men, 10 of which are National Service conscripts, laugh, bicker, get scared and stand tall in readiness for what fate has in store for them. The upper crust and the working class thrust together makes for potent character dynamics, and of course it's a time when heroes and villains are born. This is a place where men apologise for getting injured, where they are told to fire their weapon instead of making love to it! And a place from which we know some will not return...
One of the very first films to deal with British troops in Korea (if not the first?), it inevitably has a familiarity about it if you be someone who often indulges in the War genre. However, the traditional flavours make this very appetising and the screenplay isn't shy of intelligence. Be it "friendly fire" or monologues about the futility of it all, film doesn't cop out. It's also very funny, with some absolute zingers delivered with caustic obviousness. Then there's the roster of great British actors that fill out the cast, with even the likes of Michael Caine (a real life servant in Korea) and Robert Shaw in secondary support slots. While Amyes keeps his camera up close for impact and Francis tones down the lighting to keep things sombre.
Well worth seeking out by fans of Brit war movies. 7/10
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