Family Theatre: Hill Number One

An artillery unit pounds a hill that is a number on a map. The futility of this, after so many identical hills, is expressed. A chaplain brings coffee (his jeep is marked “Bringing Up Father”) and tells the tale of Calvary, “hill number one”.

The story begins after the Crucifixion, the disciples are discouraged, gather in secret to discuss matters, and are led by Mary in the Lord’s Prayer.

Joseph of Arimathea asks the privilege of burial, Pilate grants it on the suggestion that a stone before the entrance of the tomb is a defense against removal.

A search is made for Pilate’s wife, Claudia Procles, who counseled him against the judgment. She is hiding among the Christians.

The tomb is found empty, the stone rolled away.

The GIs receive the message of self-sacrifice and are now cognizant that it is Easter Sunday.

The somber realism of the military scenes is partially relieved by varying degrees of humor. The demanding rhetorical style of the Biblical drama is very musical, particularly among the women. The cast is full of the ablest actors, among them Nelson Leigh and Regis Toomey in a fine duet as Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, Leif Erickson as a firm and nervously politic Pilate, Gene Lockhart a sober Matthew, Ruth Hussey the mother of sorrows, Jeanne Cagney the Magdalen, Joan Leslie the procurator’s wife, Frank Wilcox the centurion St Ctésiphon, Michael Ansara the soldier Decius, and James Dean as John.


Home Town Story

A cautionary tale of what used to be referred to by the relatively genteel and sophisticated euphemism of “a shicksack” and his highly dramatic comeuppance amidst the wonderful complexities of modern society.

It comes with a very charming secondary theme about life in the bureaucratic world.

In the television print at least, the orthography of the title is Home Town Story.

The opening has a noble strain touched by elegance, for piano and orchestra (presumably by Louis Forbes).