Monday, June 1, 2015

HILL 24 DOESN'T ANSWER and Shouldn't!


HILL 24 DOESN'T ANSWER (dir. Thorold Dickinson, 1955) was the final film by a director who no less than Martin Scorsese has taken to championing in recent years.  However, this one is a pure clunker.
The film follows three volunteers in the nascent IDF as they recount what brought them to Mandate Palestine on the eve of the 1948 war and why they have chosen to enlist in the Israeli cause.  It bears special note as the first film fully sponsored for production by the Israeli government, though the claim is somewhat dubious both because there were location shoots taking place in the area decades prior to Israel's foundation and both Arab and Zionist film productions dating back to the silent era can be found easily.  What also jumps out is how, though scholars have noted the Nazi holocaust was rarely invoked in American discourse until after the 1967 war, here the entire barrage of Nazi references are on display.  We have concentration camp survivors, speechifying with references to Europe, even a former Nazi who ends up fighting for the Arabs at one point.  Even if it is a relic of the 1950s, the melodramatic games are totally shallow and cheap.

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