A New York City narcotics detective reluctantly agrees to cooperate with a special commission investigating police corruption. However, he soon discovers that he's in over his head, and nobody can be trusted.
Over the course of one day in August 1912, the family of retired actor James Tyrone grapples with the morphine addiction of his wife Mary, the illness of their youngest son Edmund and the ... See full summary »
Valentine "Snakeskin" Xavier, a trouble-prone drifter trying to go straight, wanders into a small Mississippi town looking for a simple and honest life but finds himself embroiled with problem-filled women.
WWII, in a British disciplinary camp located in the Libyan desert. Prisoners are persecuted by Staff Sergeant Williams, who made them climb again and again, under the heavy sun, an artificial hill built right in the middle of the camp. Harris is a more human and compassionate guard, but the chief, S.M. Wilson, refuses to disown his subordinate Williams. One day, five new prisoners arrive. Each of them will deal in a different way with the authority and Williams' ferocity. Written by
The Sergeant Major and his two Staff Sergeants, Wilson, Williams, and Harris, are members of these three regiments respectively: Scots Guard, East Surrey Regiment and Royal East Kent Regiment (A.K.A. "Buffs") See more »
The new prisoners are lined up in the middle of the camp with their kit at their feet waiting to see the army doctor. As Stevens is called, a flat board suddenly appears in front of the line up so the camera can pull forward along the line up for a tracking shot. It disappears immediately afterwards. See more »
You've got it downstaris, mate, but we've got it upstairs. Live up trees, you blokes do. I seen a film about his tribe once. It was called 'Tarazn and the Ape Man.' When Charlie Blogs found you lot, you was walking around starkers, living on monkey nuts.
So this is a member of the great white race. And there's plenty more like Monty. We just call them "white trash."
Now look, I don't go for that expression "white trash."
What's Staff Williams?
Belt up! I don't want to hear about Williams.
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This was one of the most poinant lines of the film, neatly summarising the general mood and feeling of the characters.
A lot of people think that this is an anti-war film, which to some degree it is. More accurately, however, it could be labelled an anti-army film. Interestingly enough both views could be maintained without there being any real warfare displayed on the screen. This is a measure of how powerful the film is.
The fighting which we see is actually between the various prison officers and convicts. The film does not simply divide them into opposing groups, but rather explores the differences and tensions between the people who are in power and those who are subject to it.
Like 'Full Metal Jacket', many years later, this movie is a condemnation of the dehumanising process soldiers are forced to go through in order to survive the army. Military prison, as we learn, is a further step down into the merciless and brutal world of the army.
If 'The Hill' was made today, the violence we see would undoubtedly be more explicit and obvious. However, this does not take away anything from the original , as it is the mental torture more than the physical suffering which is portrayed so well in Lumet's work.
It has aged fairly well, mainly due to the accomplished and original way the film is shot and the script is written. Camera angles to induce feelings of dominance, claustrophobia and pressure are utilised perfectly as are the varying degrees of light and dark contrast which accentuates the blazing sun. Every actor is well cast and gives well judged performances, most career bests. Those that stand out are Bannen, Hendry, Connery and Andrews.
At the core of the film is the struggle between Andrews and Bannen's respective characters for ultimate authority in the prison. The bittersweet ending shows that Andrews' charcter, although shaken, will still reign in the hellhouse of a military prison.
Superb, thought provoking film, that rewards the viewer for staying with it as the powerful ending is reached.
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