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The cast and crew of WW1 drama Beneath Hill 60 talk about their favourite war movies.

Beneath Hill 60 movie poster

Beneath Hill 60 will be released on the 15th of April through Paramount Pictures Australia

Bella Heathcoate (Marjorie Waddell)
Bella Heathcote in Beneath Hill 60

What is your favourite war film?
Favourite war film?....ok. The first film that comes to mind, and I don’t know why, Full Metal Jacket (laughs) I don’t know If I would classify that a war film..

I would!
I just remember this one line in’s so rude...

Is it a line from the drill instructor?
Yes! (laughs) That is the only film that come to mind...I mean, we all love Gallipoli, and we studied it at school...and Breaker Morant! Love that!

Gyton Grantley (Norman “Pull Through” Morris)
Gyton Grantley

What is your favourite war film?
I really liked The Hurt Locker. It disturbed me quite a lot actually. I have a friend who is in the special services, and it was really quite a raw film, it really shows you what actually goes on and the stupidity of it all.

I really liked Three Kings. I thought that was really cool. I can’t exactly say why...because it wasn’t exactly a war film as such. There was, you had a different angle to it, but you still got to see the realities of war...

It was more like a heist film, mixed in with a war movie...
Yeah, set in the background of a modern day war. So yeah, I like those two... obviously Saving Private Ryan is one of the greatest ever made, and Gallipoli...but Beneath Hill 60 is in there as well.

Anthony Hayes (William McBride)
Anthony Hayes

What is your favourite war film?
It’s not really a war film, but I don’t think you can go past Apocalypse Now....again, because that’s different. It’s a journey into madness, which is a great take on war, and it really captures it.

Platoon is a great movie too, but that started off a whole spate of films which is just about a platoon out to do a mission, which also spurned B-grade action movies, which have no substance to them. You need an angel.

I guess the angle on Platoon would be that it’s based on Oliver Stone’s experiences...
Yeah, absolutely....I also think Gallipoli is also one of the greatest war films ever made. Strangely enough there is only about 10 min of war in the whole movie. It is actually a story about a time in Australia...about an innocence that was lost, and about friendship.

Brendan Cowell (Captain Oliver Woodward)
Brendan Cowell

What is your favourite war film?
When I think of war movies, the one I’ve seen the most is Platoon. I really, really, love that movie.

But I watched Gallipoli last it. It was just on cable. I got home and it was just starting, and it still holds up. But Jeremy would argue that is not a war movie. It’s a social drama with war in the ending. And Beneath Hill 60 is a war move! (laughs)

Jeremy chose Das Boot...
Yeah, he talked about Das Boot a lot in preparation to this movie. Because of the claustrophobia and also the strategy, and the performances. I think it’s a big inspiration for him.

This film reminds me of the big epic war film. Are you a fan of that sub-genre as well?
I don’t seek them out. But I like watching good films. So I really like Saving Private Ryan. I thought that was a good movie.

Jeremy Sims (director)
Jeremy Sims

Which war films were your main influences?
Two main ones...well, the principal one to begin with is All Quiet on the Western Front, which is still today a great film to watch. It really is. I remember putting it on and thinking: “I got to sit through this old one”, because everyone said I had to see it...and I don’t think I saw a better, more moving war movie. Or more visceral, more frightening war movie than anything made in the 60-70 years to follow.

Das Boot was also a very big influence on me...

With the claustrophobia...  
Yeah, and I love the colours in Das Boot. The blue uniforms, and the sweat, and the skin. Toby (Oliver, cinematographer) spent a lot of time talking about the movie as well...the blacks and the colours.

You know, that was shot wide screen 35mm in a submarine! You would think that would be one place where people would say: “Well, you don’t need that!”

In fact, we talked early on about the tunnels, and we decided that we did want all of that screen size to show the tunnel, to show the detail of that dirt, so we could place some of our actors in a paintfully fashion around the frame.

So they were the principal ones. The opening 20 min of Saving Private Ryan was pretty influential, in terms of how amazing you could make the first 20 min of a war film, to take your audience in. So that opening sequence in the trench was like a homage to that, in some degree. 


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