(1965) was unfairly subjected to ridicule by the more obtuse "critics" of '65 who harped on the fact that it starred Sean Connery
and, unlike Connery's Bond
pictures, had no women in it. Bypassing these cretinous comments, it must be noted that The Hill
is an above-the-norm entry in the "military prison" genre. The film takes place during World War II, in a Libyan stockade for incorrigible British soldiers. The camp's brutal Sergeant Major (Harry Andrews
) puts his charges to work on grueling, monotonous, and pointless projects to break their spirits. When one rebellious inmate dies due to this treatment, the Sergeant Major is reprimanded by Joe Roberts (Connery), who has been appointed as the prisoners' spokesman. The result is that Roberts is likewise subjected to the most demeaning and humiliating of prison chores -- but his spirit, and that of his comrades, is not so easily crushed. Based on a TV play by Ray Rigby, The Hill
should never be seen in any form other than its dusty, parched original black-and-white; the currently available colorized version is a crime against humanity. One problem: The British dialects in the first 20 minutes are so thick that an American viewer practically needs subtitles (British critics chalked this problem up not to elocution but to poor sound recording).