A Hill in Korea

A grim, unsmiling face on the Buddha in the temple looms over a British patrol facing the Chinese.

This was the first sign of the film’s strangeness, and also of its debt to Fuller’s The Steel Helmet.

The initial Chinese probe of the temple grounds was a deliberate reminder of Huston’s The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, and still no critic took notice.

Later there is Milestone’s Pork Chop Hill, and that caught everyone’s attention.


Miracle in Soho

The navvy and the pet shop girl in St. Anthony’s Lane.

In answer to her prayer, the newly-mended road is torn up by a burst water main, necessitating his return.

Therefore his prediction fails, she does not emigrate with her Italian family and marry a rich Canadian.

The patron saint of the lane is responsible.

“Unconvincing”, says Halliwell’s Film Guide.

“A rather slow-moving sentimental yarn”, Variety thought.

“Pressburger’s sentimental little fairy story,” What’s On in London reported at the time.

“Occupies an odd position in the history of British cinema,” says the BFI, with never a thought of Carol Reed’s A Kid for Two Farthings.


No Man’s Land

The National Theatre production, directed by Peter Hall, arranged in a television studio with cameras on the floor.

The Englishness of the English poet is his vraisemblance, T.S. Eliot’s career was chequered by comparison, Whistler was a Dutch painter, Whitman’s morning walk a thing one has no time for.

A lot of history under the bridge, a good deal of it dredged up for inspection and amusement, not to say edification.

Richardson, Gielgud, Rigby, Kitchen.