Film Evaluation: The Offended Hills (1959)

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A muddled mess of a World Battle Two film, The Offended Hills enjoys good places in Greece however lacks focus, engagement, and vigour.

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The setting is 1941, with the German military occupying the Greek countryside and on the verge of coming into Athens. American navy reporter Mike Morrison (Robert Mitchum) arrives in Athens and is instantly approached by a Dr. Stergion, who supplies a listing of names of distinguished Greeks who could also be keen to collaborate with the Allies. Mike is tasked with delivering the record to British intelligence.

He’s initially reluctant to get entangled, however is quickly pursued by Conrad Heisler (Stanley Baker) of the German SS, who’s aided by Greek collaborator Tassos (Theodore Bikel). Mike is wounded however escapes to the countryside, the place he joins partisans resisting the Germans and falls in love with Eleftheria (Gia Scala). A return to Athens beckons, the place Mike will join with Lisa Kyriakides (Elisabeth Müller), a Greek girl taking part in a harmful sport on either side of the conflict.

About two thirds of the way in which into The Offended Hills, Robert Mitchum’s Mike Morrison returns to Athens and remarks he’s again the place he began from. It is a truthful remark and an apt description of a movie that guarantees a lot, loops lazily, and achieves little. Someplace between the undisciplined writing, gap-happy enhancing, and studio interventions, no matter deserves initially resided within the free adaptation of a Leon Uris novel had been comprehensively misplaced.

Author A. I. Bezzerides and director Robert Aldrich by no means seize a maintain of the fabric, and Mitchum responds in type with a disinterested efficiency, not helped by Mike Morrison really doing little or no all through the film. He’s carried alongside by the initiative of others, with goals meandering from memorizing a pure MacGuffin of a listing to (incompetently) aiding the Greek resistance, evading seize by the wilderness, falling in love with Eleftheria, after which getting entangled within the drama of the late-appearing Lisa and a few children who do not say a phrase however are all of a sudden deemed important to the climax.

Aldrich threatens to salvage proceedings with one good foot chase scene that includes glorious use of shadows, stairs, and darkish alleyways. However in any other case not one of the parts match right into a cohesive narrative, and completely different characters rotate out and in with a bewildering sense that they’re in numerous motion pictures. Stanley Baker’s Conrad Heiser is eloquent however toothless, collaborator Tassos is someplace between a sweaty buffon and a harmful torturer, and actually late on this journey, Sebastian Cabot reveals up because the undefined Chesney with a full-on channeling of Sydney Greenstreet. In the meantime, Mike doesn’t miss a beat smooching first with Eleftheria then with Lisa, as a result of he actually has nothing else to contribute.

A European model options the shock of a topless singer/dancer entertaining Morrison and his grieving navy colleague at an Athenian nightclub, however not even gratuitous nudity can save these moribund hills.

All Ace Black Film Weblog opinions are here.

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