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The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill, but Came Down a Mountain

A romantic comedy about a town that wouldn't give up. A man who couldn't get out. And the mountain that brought them together. 

Year: 1995 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 (Scope) 
Certificate: BBFC PG Cert – Parental guidance 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  

The year is 1917, and though the First World War is raging, it seems to have barely touched the picture-postcard Welsh village of Ffynnon Garw. There, a pair of English cartographers, Reginald Anson (Grant) and George Garrad (Ian McNeice), have arrived to measure the local landmark, a broad, grassy peak named after the town itself. If Ffynnon Garw turns out to be over 1,000 feet high, it will be christened a mountain and labeled so on all British maps. But if it's under 1,000 feet, it will be relegated to mere hill status. When the prized peak is revealed to be 984 feet high, the locals, led by a lusty innkeeper known as Morgan the Goat (Colm Meaney), launch a campaign to heighten it by adding a 20-foot mound on top. They trudge up and down the hill, hoisting buckets of earth from their own gardens.

There's something funny and touching in the slightly batty literal-mindedness of this crusade. Since the town's efforts won't mean much unless someone is around to take the new measurement, much of the film is devoted to the citizens' wily attempts to detain the two mapmakers. Enter Betty of Cardiff (FitzGerald), a flirtatious maid summoned by Morgan to keep Reginald company.

Director Peter Chelsom gets stylish performances from Kenneth Griffith as the town's aging reverend, who shivers and smokes like Boris Karloff in full cry, and Meaney, who makes Morgan's very loutishness the essence of his appeal. The photography has the hyper-green beauty of a day washed clear by rain, and the relentless musical theme keeps the film spanking along.

THE ENGLISHMAN (the rest of the title I can't be arsed to type) is one of the better comedies of this year.

Meryl Brunnock

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Screenings of this film:

1995/1996 Spring Term (35mm)
1995/1996 Spring Term (35mm)