Medicine & Duties

12/09/2011 in Alexis King, Classic


This is the Great of Britain in spades.

Spades of international soils that get dug over to root an Empire which at this point in history was perhaps close to apparent implosion. All the ingredient and quintessentially British qualities that hold it in place are here represented by each individual character.

But what is outward is only a reflection of the internal. Here we see the incarcerated, broken psyche of the people made anthropomorphic. Such peoples group communities, make nations that base empires, so for every character in the film also consider every real person’s corresponding and shattered internal world.

Sean Connery as Sgt. Maj. Joe Roberts

Sean Connery as Joe Roberts exudes REBELLION in every muscle fibre, the literal force of the self, the force for truth, of genuine change for the good. In this battle for the heart & mind that between them govern the spirit to fashion the soul of a man, he has equal rank to the opposing forces who seek to contain him and in time redirect once more his vitality to their ends.

Alfred Lynch as Pte. Stevens

Alfred Lynch’s Stevens provides SACRIFICE. His innocence makes him weak to fight and so easy to destroy. This outrage to morality can only spark an impending sense of ‚Äúsomething must be done” which must manifest to be the catalyst to any wider change.

Roy Kinnear as Pte. Monty Bartlett

Roy Kinnear’s Monty Bartlett sweats COWARDICE from every obese pore. But rather than punish this child like fear, it is it’s very presence that must motivate courage to guide the weak, not to exploit or abuse them.

Jack Watson as Joe McGrath

Jack Watson’s Jock McGrath is stony faced DUTY. The constant inhibitive, gnawing voice of ‘do what your told, ‘don’t make waves’, ‘keep your trap shut’. But like any stoic, you know there is a real problem when even they are moved to action.

Ossie Davis as Pte. Jacko King

Ossie Davis’ Jacko King is INVASION, A false rebellion by the narcissistic extrovert and libertine pseudo self, literally represented by his storming of the Commandant’s office; the enclave of power. King’s racial identity represents both the oft touted fear of immigrants to the British Isles, of their misunderstood intentions and their differences, and of the ego encased shadow self that steps in first, puffed up by any and every crisis. The “King” simply must be heard.

Norman Bird as the Commandant

Norman Bird’s flummoxed Commandant bound up so much in the red tape and systemic nature of what is class to the British, that from his privileged and power holding position he is blinded by it. He has been compartmentalized, anaesthetised, and DIVIDED. So easily and regularly is he sated by distractions of the senses. Even when his ivory tower is literally stormed he appears to wish, in mumbling desperation, for business as usual as soon as possible, perhaps belying what is preferred if one is to call oneself British. To be blissfully unaware that of which one is part.

Ian Bannen as Staff. Harris

Ian Bannen’s Harris has the detached black and white of judiciousness. Part of the system, but playing the game with an INTEGRITY evidently all his own.

Ian Hendry as Staff Sgt. Williams

Ian Hendry’s Williams makes a vicious calculated, and perpetually sadistic INSURRECTION that illustrates what happens when power is actually in the black hand of the psychotic, the megalomaniac, the unsane. Murder, disorder and chaos. A perpetually fertile ground from which he may seize centre stage as the deluded purveyor of solutions to his own inept calamities.

Michael Redgrave as the Medical Officer

Michael Redgrave’s Medical Officer is the moral and reasonable liberating force of COMPASSION, driven of the desire to make things better.

Harry Andrews as RSM Wilson

Harry Andrews’ RSM Wilson is lock jawed, stiff upper lipped DISCIPLINE, to preserve the status quo even to the detriment of his own position. Unable to comprehend change after decades of unchallenged unchanging methods and practices he remains doggedly rigid and unyielding.

These heated elements put under extreme pressure, reflect the wider Second World War, or indeed any war, through the fractured spirits of the people forced into conflict with each other. The sovereignty upon which the sun is said to never set will inevitably find that there can be single moments in time where the truth will come close to putting pay to the lie, yet without the spirit of rebellion being genuinely fostered will we one day actually get to experience a true victory, one not then subsumed by the constantly fueled and ubiquitous pairing of encroachment and tradition.

Carry on then.

Available at Amazon

The Hill (1965) – Directed by Sidney Lumet.

Images courtesy of Metro Goldwyn Meyer.

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