WHO WENT UP A HILL BUT CAME DOWN A MOUNTAIN/C, B
UK/1995/COLOR/WIDESCREEN 2.35:1/STEREO SURROUND/96 MINUTES/DIRECTED BY CHRISTOPHER MONGER/STARRING HUGH GRANT, TARA FITZGERALD/MIRAMAX/CLV/$39.99
I loved the comedies that came rollicking out of the Ealing Studios during the 1950s. The were irreverent, whimsical and had a wild energy about them that tickled me in all the right places. The inflated bluster of Stanley Holloway in The Titfield Thunderbolt, or the bumbling crook played by Alec Guinness in The Lavender Hill Mob, both directed by Charles Crichton, or Alec Guinness and Peter Sellers scheming together in Alexander Mackendricks The Ladykillers; these were the movies whose spirit "The Englishman...."set out to capture. Would that they had been successful. This Hugh Grant vehicle is all right, but it is lacking an energy center. Pleasant, yes, but just not funny.
When two surveyors for the British government stops for measurements in a small Welsh village, the villagers discover their prized mountain is about to be re-mapped to a hill. Their efforts to build the height of the hill to the minimum requirement for statistical mountain status is drudgery for the villagers and viewers alike. Thats all folks!
Hugh Grant mutters his way through the mountain morass with his best efforts at charm positively buried under the excess fallout from the mountain Tara Fitzgerald is okay as Betty of Cardiff, but her character is thinly scripted at best. Colm Meaney, so effective in The Snapper and The Commitments, struggles to create a sense of good-natured eccentricity as innkeeper Morgan the Goat.
The disc transfer is quite pleasing. The Welsh countryside is rendered in an appealing manner. The surroundings are generally more lively than the people. Skin tones are slightly warm. The images are quite sharp and the pressing of the disc I watched had no flaws whatsoever. The soundtrack is clean and dialogue, accents and all, is easily understood.