Home from the Hill (1960)

Home from the Hill
Director: Vincente Minnelli
Writer: Harriet Frank Jr., Irving Ravetch
Based on: William Humphrey‘s novel
Cast: Robert Mitchum, Eleanor Parker, George Peppard, George Hamilton, Luana Patten

Wade Hunnicutt (Robert Mitchum) dominates not only his entire family but basically his entire town, where he has slept with almost the entire female population. His wife Hannah (Eleanor Parker) tolerates it and compensates by doting on their son Theron (George Hamilton). But when Theron tries to get out from under his mother’s wing, he turns to his father and his father’s loyal employee Rafe (George Peppard) and gets his first hunting lessons.

I went into the film not knowing much about it [I had totally forgotten why I wanted to see it and therefore reserved a ticket – I didn’t even know the general plot anymore], so I wasn’t entirely certain what to expect. That means that for the first bit of the film I was a bit unsure because nothing much happened. But once I realized that this was just a family story and stopped waiting for the big events, I absolutely fell in love with the film.

Even though the movie was definitely made and takes place in the 60s*, it managed to not be misogynistic, nor particularly sexist. I mean, yes, of course, it definitely had the morals of the time but all the female characters were just as well-rounded as the men and just as much to be taken seriously.

Though I have to admit that I loved none of the characters as much as I loved Rafe. Despite naturally having the morality of somebody who grew up in the 50s, he is pretty much the ideal man who could come out of that situation. He’s just a really good person.

The cast was excellent. Especially Eleanor Parker and George Hamilton. Robert Mitchum was booming and overbearing, which was quite good for the role but it got a bit much sometimes.

The thing that really blew me away though, was the cinematography. Absolutely fantastic. And it all culminates in a scene that is one of the most brilliant scenes I have ever seen. [SPOILER] When Wade is shot and we get to see the shadow first, then the open cabinet – it was one of the tensest, creepiest things ever. [/SPOILER]

Summarising: It’s a sappy film, but of the most excellent kind and a wondeful classic.

*ah, the 50s/60s, where even the most passionate kiss happens with a closed mouth and enough pressure to break a neck.

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