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A Hill in Korea


Malcolm Arnold: Main and End Title music - Conducted by Muir Mathieson

A Hill in Korea is a 1956 British war film based on Max Catto's 1953 novel of the same name. The original name was Hell in Korea, but was changed for distribution reasons, except in the U.S. It was directed by Julian Amyes and the producer was Anthony Squire. Incidental music was written by Malcolm Arnold.

It was the first major feature film to portray British troops in action during the Korean War and introduces Michael Caine (himself a veteran of the Korean War) in his first credited film role, but not till the movie Zulu (1964) that he is given title billing, along with star Stanley Baker, and the fame 'Jaws' Captain Robert Shaw.

During the retreat of 1951, a small force of British soldiers is in danger of being cut off by the advancing Chinese army.
The plot emphasizes the plight of the National Service men who, as they say, were "old enough to fight, but too young to vote."

The film also depicts a "friendly-fire" incident, in which the British are bombed by the Americans.

The film opens in Korea with a British Army patrol, led by Lt. Butler. In the patrol is tough veteran Sergeant Payne, a slightly psychotic Corporal Ryker, and the cowardly signaller Wyatt. As they search a small village, one of the party falls victim to a bomb planted in a small shack. With the death of one of his men, Butler moves the patrol out of the village. Out in the open plain, Butler and Payne discover a large force of Chinese soldiers heading directly for them. Sending Payne and the patrol back towards their own lines, Butler and three of his men stay behind to cover the withdrawal. After fending off two attacks, Butler discovers Lance Corporal Hodge is dead. Payne returns with the patrol, informing Butler that they were cut off by other enemy forces.

The patrol heads through the village and up a winding path towards an isolated temple located on a hill, with only a steep cliff to its rear. On the way, Wyatt throws away the only radio because he cannot be bothered to carry it up the hill. Then they run into an enemy patrol on the path. They ambush the Chinese, and continue up to the temple. With the Chinese knowing now exactly where they are, Butler must keep his troops together, and fend off the enemy attacks.


George Baker as Lieutenant ButlerHarry Andrews as Sergeant Payne
Stanley Baker as Corporal RykerMichael Medwin as Private Docker
Ronald Lewis as Private WyattStephen Boyd as Private Sims
Victor Maddern as Private LindopHarry Landis as Private Rabin
Robert Brown as Private O'BrienBarry Lowe as Private Neill
Robert Shaw as Lance Corporal HodgeCharles Laurence as Private Kim
Percy Herbert as Private MoonEric Corrie as Private Matthews
David Morrell as Private HensonMichael Caine as Private Lockyear

Depictions of historical persons and events

The historical events which this film portray British troops in action during the Korean War (as mention above), showing the U.S. was not alone in Korea.


Directed by - Julian Amyes

Produced by - Anthony Squire

Written by - Max Catto (book) - Anthony Squire - Ian Dalrymple

Music by - Malcolm Arnold

Cinematography - Freddie Francis

Edited by - Peter R. Hunt

Distributed by - British Lion Films

Distributors Corporation of America (US)

Release dates - 18 September 1956 (London)

Running time - 69 min.

Country: UK

Language: English

run time: 1 hours 9 minutes

Under Section 107 of The Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.

above notes from
poster image: same
movie: DAV FL 70 Webmaster private collection

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