Beneath Hill 60

A low budget Aussie film which really deserves a wider release in the UK and USA. Its fairly rare that a war film reminds you that victory came not only with the bravery of the soldiers, but also the incredible engineering skill, human endevour and logistical effort of some specialised batallions. The most memorable scene sees the protagonist line up a theodolite to observe the enemy line through a firing hole, the instrument is a marked contrast to a rifle, but one which ultimately proves far more detrimental to the enemy line. This film has a love story, I am beginning to think that the viewing public must be incapable of imagining that a soldier would rather be anywhere but the front line without having a romantic interest back home, someone, somewhere must be able to envisage a soldier in WWII who managed to get off to war without first finding a photo of a young lady, even if every single soldier had a young lady where the hell did all these photos come from! Luckily this one is not overblown and annoying, it is a poignant counterpoint to the horror of the front line, which is exactly the purpose I suppose of all those photos (none the less…so many photos!). One rather strange thing is that three quarters of the way through a Canadian captain shows up who has been down a mine so long he has gone a bit wonky, and he seems to be rather similar to Donald Sutherlands character in Kelly’s Heroes, not so similar that he throws wisecracks all over the place, but more in appearance and general demeanor. We need a film telling us the Canadian version of events (I suppose I could actually do some research…) to see if all Canadians in WWII were like this! That said I am not entirely sure Sutherlands character in Kelly’s Heroes is supposed to be Canadian. Anyway, watch this film, it is moving and well made.

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