World War II drama about a group of prisoners who struggle against a ferocious staff sergeant in a British disciplinary camp located in the Libyan desert.
(1965) was made by Sidney Lumet in that period when his name was synonymous with powerhouse drama guaranteed to leave audiences wrung out and limp (Fail-Safe
, The Pawnbroker
). Still, there was a bigger name involved: Sean Connery breaking with his James Bond image to portray a volcanically outraged inmate at a British Army prison camp in Libya. The titular Hill is a steep mound erected on the desert floor for him and other British soldiers who have violated the (often absurd) rules of the military game to buck sacks of sand up one side and down the other, like so many sons of Sisyphus. Ian Hendry is unforgettably loathsome as the sadistic noncom Williams; other captors include Harry Andrews, Ian Bannen, and Michael Redgrave, while Connery's fellow prisoners are played by Ossie Davis, Roy Kinnear, Jack Watson, and Alfred Lynch. In Oswald Morris's black-and-white cinematography, you can almost feel the desert sun like a hot brick. --Richard T. Jameson