|THE BEST LINE IN "GOLDFINGER" IS WHEN 007 IS ABOUT TO BE CUT IN HALF WITH A LASER BEAM. BOND SAYS," YOU DON"T EXPECT ME TO TALK." GOLDFINGER SAYS, "NO MR. BOND, I EXPECT YOU TO DIE."|
The vanilla film Connery chose was the far more cerebral (depressing) movie from 1965, "THE HILL." ***SPOILER ALERT WARNING***
Sean Connery's character is Trooper, Joe Roberts. He is one of the new inmates sent to this ungodly hell-hole. Unlike movies like, "THE DIRTY DOZEN," that portray same side military prisoners as murderers, rapists and head cases, this English stockade is not for hardened criminals. These soldiers were convicted of service offenses like; insubordination, drunkenness, being AWOL and petty theft. Therefore, the goal is rehabilitation through discipline and regimentation, in order to return them to the front, to fight Germans.
The problem is, there are many ways to run a jail. And when power is delegated to weaker individuals sometimes the privilege is abused. We see this in big business where underlings do unscrupulous things to maximize profits to get ahead. Politically, when a calculating eager beaver is put in charge, he has a chance to woo his beaten-down constituents with charisma, empty promises and propaganda. Then once he gives them the impression of giving them what they want, he can seize greater power or money or self-importance. A prime example would be Adolf Hitler.
|THE SIGNATURE OF ADOLF HITLER, (1889-1945). HE ROSE TO POWER BY DANGLING THE "NEW ORDER" AND AYRIAN SUPREMACY TO THE DOWN-TRODDEN POST-WWI GERMAN PEOPLE.|
Trooper Roberts and four others are under the direct supervision of power hungry, Staff Sergeant Williams. Williams ambition is to earn a reputation as a stern jailer that will translate into the kind of recognition that will land him a great career and universal respect in civilian life. He fantasizes about becoming famous for being the only person with the talent to whip penitentiaries into shape. In this dream, he travels throughout the British Empire to resurrect poorly run prisons. Therefore, he is a man who feels that the ends justify the means and thus, he's willing to use any way necessary to get what he wants.
A part of Williams' sick rationale is, excessive punishment. He feels that beating his underlings down until they submit to his whimsy will make them ready for combat. The punishment that he relishes is a man-made, two-story sand hill inside the compound. The hill coupled with the oppressive desert heat was designed as a deterrent. But Williams over uses this gimmick for minor infractions and tortures his men by drilling them with repeated marches up and down it, in full military gear.
Williams adds fuel to the men's unhappiness by changing rules without warning, taking away tiny benefits and making false accusations like; the men are stealing the King's money, time and resources. He makes so many changes that new rules contradict the ones from the day before. The inability to heed these irrational regulations results in verbal abuse, corporal punishment, food deprivation and reduction in personal time. In a short time, these undignified tactics cause the men to lose their self-esteem.
The men are ill-equipped to directly clash with Williams. So rather than rebel, they seek assistance from more humane guards like, Staff Sergeant Harris, Regimental Sergeant Major Wilson and the camp's medical officer. While these men all recognize Williams' sadism, they also see the possibility of higher authorities perceiving his methods as progressive. Therefore, despite the obvious need for reform, they all have their own vested interest for not making waves.
One of Roberts' cohorts legitimately suffers from heat prostration and is sent to sick bay. Williams visits the ailing man and demands, "Why aren't you smiling?" The patient knows better and doesn't respond. Williams then confronts the medical officer and demands that the malingerer is taking advantage of the system.
The weakened prisoner is returned to his cell. While the others are out, the sickly prisoner doodles in the dust, a caricature of a man chained to the wall with the caption, the beatings will continue until morale picks up. He is so exhausted that before he has a chance to erase this treasonable sentiment, he passes out. When Williams realizes that the soldier is not with the others, he storms back to cell and sees the cartoon.
The ailing man is beaten with Williams' riding crop and ordered to put on his uniform and heavy back pack. The entire camp witnesses this horror as the victim is forced up and down the hill until he collapses and dies.
Trooper Joe Roberts and his unified cellmates start a campaign to oust Williams with the help of the suddenly enlightened Sergeant Harris and Sergeant Major Wilson. But the crucial medical officer is still under the Svengali-like power of Williams. It's only when Williams threatens the medical officer to stay in line that he joins the plot.
A well thought out plan, complete with hard evidence and sworn affidavits is set in motion. The prisoners are thrilled to have survived but are forced to quash their excitement for justice while the bureaucratic millstone wheel slowly cuts through the military red tape. In the mean time, Williams has no idea that his position is in jeopardy, so for him, it's business as usual.
The prisoners would have related to Martin Luther King's statement; Free at last, free at last, free at last...thank God all mighty, we're free at last."
On the morning that good news was made official, Trooper Roberts, Sergeant Harris and the medical officer stride across the peaceful compound to tell the rest of the men that Williams is getting arrested. I'd like to think they were all singing, "DING DONG THE WITCH IS DEAD."
|IN 1939's, "THE WIZARD OF OZ," MARGARET HAMILTON PLAYED THE, "WICKED WITCH OF THE WEST," SO WELL, THAT HER PERFORMANCE EARNED HER THE DISTINCTION OF BEING ONE OF THE ALL-TIME GREATEST MOVIE VILLAINS.|
While the three heroes were harmonizing, Williams is inspecting the cell. One of the men is slow to respond to an order, so Williams sends him to the hill. When Williams turns his back, the prisoner, overcome by frustration attacks the brutal bastard. The fight is one-sided and none of the other prisoners come to Williams' aid.
Roberts, Wilson and the medical officer arrive in time to hear Williams is screaming for help. The crazed prisoner pauses. Roberts waves a paper and yells, "Stop, we've won, we've won." The prisoner absorbs the information and the slams Williams head on the stone floor several times until he is stopped...but its too late, Williams is dead.
Aren't you glad Sean Connery took time out of his busy James Bond schedule, to teach us all a valuable life skill.