#266 The Hill

Watched: April 5 2019

Director: Sidney Lumet

Starring: Sean Connery, Harry Andrews, Ian Bannen, Ossie Davis, Ian Hendry, Alfred Lynch, Roy Kinnear, Jack Watson, Michael Redgrave, Norman Bird

Year: 1965

Runtime: 2h 3min

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Hey kids! Are you stuck at home? Feeling increasingly bored, frustrated and lonely? Longing for society to return to normal? Well then, have we got the perfect uplifting movie for you!

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“All right boys! Ready to make a comedic romp reminiscent of M*A*S*H? (which curiously hasn’t been produced yet, but I’ll still reference it because that’s the sort of oddball character I am!)”

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The Hill has it all: sadism, inhumanity, madness, cruelty, injustice and an overhanging sense of impending doom.

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Oh, but there’s young, sexy Sean Connery, so it’s got that going for it which is nice.

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Sure, it might leave you depressed and disillusioned, but it could also put your own situation into perspective.

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Pro tip: if you pay attention to the background, you’ll get a bunch of good ideas for home workouts you can do while socially distancing. You’ll also feel very sorry for the poor extras…

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Seriously though, The Hill is horrible and great and disturbing. It’s one of those movies we would never watch again (too frustrating!) but that we’re very grateful we’ve seen. And we’ll never stop encouraging others to watch it (although we’re not really selling it, are we..?). You can feel, smell and taste it. It is extremely intense, but worth watching, if only just once.

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If you’re looking for horrible characters to direct your hatred and frustrations towards, then look no further! We’ve got you covered.

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What we learned: The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. Also, no one wins…

Next time: The Ipcress File (1965)

#198 The League of Gentlemen

Watched: August 7 2018

Director: Basil Dearden

Starring: Jack Hawkins, Nigel Patrick, Roger Livesey, Richard Attenborough, Bryan Forbes, Kieron Moore, Terence Alexander, Norman Bird, Robert Coote

Year: 1960

Runtime: 1h 56min

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A man climbs casually out of a manhole in his finest attire, gets into a car and drives off. When he comes home, he sends out seven packages containing the book The Golden Fleece, half of £50 (literally half, in ripped up bills), and instructions to an assortment of characters. So begins The League of Gentlemen.

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It’s the beginning of a beautiful friendship. After an awkward dinner party.

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The ring leader, Norman Hyde (Hawkins), is ex-army and feels the world owes him something. The men he contacted are all former army officers as well, and they all have secrets or difficulties which make them fairly easy to persuade into joining Hyde for a bank robbery.

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Actually, they just pretend it’s the money they want. They were all on board the minute they saw these bitchin’ gas masks.

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Utilising all their combined skills, the officers-cum-robbers plan an elaborate heist with a possible outcome of £100,000 per participant. It’s enough incentive to sway them all, and the plan is put into motion.

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The plan includes, but is not limited to, peeling a whole bunch of potatoes

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How did we love The League of Gentlemen? Let us count the ways. The dialogue, the dishwashing scene, the naughty vicar, the prep, the military infiltration, the heist itself, the heroic music, the gas masks, and the complete and utter cheek of the whole thing were all amazing, and had us laughing throughout.

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This whole segment is a complete riot

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Combine that with the very real and palpable tension during the heist and you got yourself a winner. The characters, and their interactions, are fantastic and you find yourself rooting for them very quickly. Love, love, love this movie. Definitely something to check out if you’re not familiar with it.

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Pictured: you guys crawling out of the woodwork just to watch this gem. Hopefully.

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What we learned: There was a different class of criminals in the 1960s. Also, this is a local heist for local people. There’s nothing for you here!

Next time: The Little Shop of Horrors (1960)