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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Faithful and True!
I have just finished watching the DVD. Andrew Grieve's extremely faithful adaptation of Bruce Chatwin's novel is inspiring. While there are some occasional losses (i.e. Grieve's underplaying of Amos's abuse of Mary and Lewis's desire to achieve autonomy through independent sexual expression) there are also considerable gains in terms of focus and momentum. As somebody who...
Published on 30 Mar 2008 by Ian Michael Kenway

versus
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars thought I was ordering the book
good movie but quite bleak good acting and I will attend my book club with it. Superb portrait of Wales.
Published 23 months ago by vsquires


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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Faithful and True!, 30 Mar 2008
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This review is from: On The Black Hill [DVD] (DVD)
I have just finished watching the DVD. Andrew Grieve's extremely faithful adaptation of Bruce Chatwin's novel is inspiring. While there are some occasional losses (i.e. Grieve's underplaying of Amos's abuse of Mary and Lewis's desire to achieve autonomy through independent sexual expression) there are also considerable gains in terms of focus and momentum. As somebody who currently lives in the Black Mountains area (lambing season again!), I can vouch for the integrity of the cinematographic achievements of the director which are considerable and haunting. The acting more than matches the brilliant landscapes and the much-missed Bob Peck leads an inspired cast. The novel is pitched at the dark side of Hardy and succeeds brilliantly without the need for the latter's heavy and plodding irony. This is a film that probably couldn't be made today. As for the feature film: simply `Enjoy!'. In conclusion: thank God for Channel 4 and Film First.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Welsh Jean de Florette, 2 Dec 2008
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Mr. A. J. Watson "adrianw259" (Huddersfield UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: On The Black Hill [DVD] (DVD)
I first saw this film on Channel 4 in 1989; it was scheduled as a tribute to Bruce Chatwin. I thought it was a fantastic film then, so I bought the book, which is wonderful too. The film is beautiful to look at, well scripted(faithful to the novel) and the acting is excellent, especially the late Bob Peck who captures Amos well. Seeing the film on DVD again years later you realise what an undiscovered gem it really is, a bit like Jean de Florette but with much more pathos and instead of sunny Provence the brooding Black Mountains.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars On the Black Hill (Film), 15 Jun 2010
This review is from: On The Black Hill [DVD] (DVD)
The film version of this wonderful story is as empathetic and true to the plight of the welsh hill farmers and their families as the fabulous book by Bruce Chatwin. Alan Grieve should be congratulated on his achievement. I am sure Mr Chatwin himself was very satisfied with this work. It does not shy away from the more shocking incidents and the development of the twins is uncanny. A superb film which I shall watch again and again.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars on the black hill, 19 Oct 2009
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This review is from: On The Black Hill [DVD] (DVD)
a good film version of the book by bruce chatwin.if you have read the book , the film doesn't disappoint.i really enjoyed this film. i have read the book a few times "a good read".
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good film, which misses the epic sweep of the book., 21 Jun 2012
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M. Joyce (Cairo, Egypt) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: On The Black Hill [DVD] (DVD)
I read the book on which this film is based last summer when I was staying in a delightful holiday cottage in the lovely Shropshire village of Clun, nearby the reputed site of the "Black Hill" featured in the title of Bruce Chatwin's novel. At first, I thought that I wouldn't like it; it was, on the surface at any rate, a fairly mundane day-to-day depiction of the life of two farming brothers from the Welsh borders. Not my thing at all, I thought; but I was absolutely riveted and found the book extremely moving.

I was, therefore, eager to see the film and was delighted to see it available on Amazon. Would they be able (to quote the writer-director's sleeve-notes) to "make a film about things that don't change", namely "the rhythm of the seasons and the circularity of time"?

Well, they succeed, but only to a certain extent. It is, of course, very beautiful and captures the essence, if not quite the hardship, of farming life at the time. The central roles of the Jones twins, Benjamin and Lewis, are played by two real-life brothers, Mike and Robert Gwilym; they act well enough, but they do not "age" especially convincingly and ultimately lack real conviction and, for want of a better word, charisma. That quality is certainly not in short supply whenever that powerful actor, the late Bob Peck, is on screen, but at times even he is a little "OTT" as their father Amos. The best performance comes from Gemma Jones as their mother Mary; she is quietly moving throughout the film. There are some good actors in the supporting roles, but they are not as well developed as they are in the book.

In fact, that's the main problem with the film; events are inevitably condensed and suggested and, gorgeous shots of the landscape and generally good acting notwithstanding, it cannot possibly reproduce the sense of life moving inexorably forward and at the same time epic sweep as effectively as does Bruce Chatwin's remarkable novel. It is on its own terms, however, well worth catching and the ten minute "short" given here as an "extra" is in its own way quite extraordinary.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, 12 Oct 2010
This review is from: On The Black Hill [DVD] (DVD)
Saw this on tv some years ago, and kept looking for a dvd - eventually rewarded. I found it an enjoyable film, especially as a lot of it was filmed only 20 miles or so away, so had great local interest. What was also satisfying was seeing a style of farming I can still remember on some of the poorer farms from my childhood days. I can remember harvesting potatoes, horse drawn carts, corn sheaves, no electricity or even a tractor on my uncle's farm, so the film brought back many happy memories. Some good acting and excellent locations put the icing on the cake.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 3 July 2014
This review is from: On The Black Hill [DVD] (DVD)
Very good interpretation of Bruce Chatwin's book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A film for the family/, 14 April 2014
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This review is from: On The Black Hill [DVD] (DVD)
Really good film showing the differences between the cultures and the lives of the people on the hill. The beautiful scenery of the Black Mountains of Wales in the different seasons of the year it really is worth watching.
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4.0 out of 5 stars well worth a view, 21 Oct 2013
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This review is from: On The Black Hill [DVD] (DVD)
After a slow start, the film picked up and provided a good view of life in a Welsh farming community through the eyes of twin brothers.
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5.0 out of 5 stars not bad (faithfulish to the book), 5 Aug 2012
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This review is from: On The Black Hill [DVD] (DVD)
If you are a fan of the book it is well worth a watch! i had never seen this film adaptation and as we all know book to film transformations can be hit or miss. This was a pleasant viewing. Casting, locations, cinematography and of course story! Is it classed as a period drama? Pictures of a world that has all but faded if you are into summer block busters and special effects galore then this probably isn't for you! If you are a fan of Chatwin and even the little bit curious as to how this could look then go for it! I don't think you will be disappointed! There are a few minor differences but on the whole it's an excellent sunday movie!
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