Home from the Hill Screen 4 articles

Home from the Hill

1968

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  • Despite an overly literal screenplay, Mitchum’s character is commanding and sympathetic, his failings as naked as his unfulfilled needs. And, without a trace of irony he gets to deliver the film’s summary sentiment: “All our children deserve better parents.” It’s not the first time one wonders how many lines were inserted in screenplays over the years precisely because Mitchum would be delivering them.

  • It’s a burly story of hunting and fighting, a romantic story of failed love and doomed love, a tale of intimate pleasures and transgressions, of open secrets and the search for identity. It’s also a story of public institutions, of laws and norms that insinuate themselves into the fabric of family life. Its rhetoric may be laconic and folksy, but its fury and its nobility seem distilled from Shakespeare.

  • There is emotional rawness. Wade tries, repeatedly, to reconnect with Hannah. His passion for her remains unresolved. At the party to celebrate Theron killing the wild boar, Wade reminisces about the past, touches her, and tells her he loves her still. The toughness strips away. Mitchum’s tenderness is exposed; the camera pulls in, reducing his imposing frame so that we focus on his soulful face. Hannah remains cool, with reason, yet Mitchum lets us feel his wounds alongside hers.

  • Some ideas are overt, explicit while others remain more subtle tucked beneath the explosive psychodrama, working together to draw a searingly dark vision of normal people beholden to societal constraints, conditioning and the human consequences of American life. And somehow Minnelli arrives at a touching gesture of hope and love which, however imperfectly, survives.

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