Hill 24 Doesn't Answer

Hill 24 Doesn't Answer (Hebrew: Giv'a 24 Eina Ona), the first feature film produced in Israel, is a 1955 Israeli war film directed by Thorold Dickinson. It was entered into the 1955 Cannes Film Festival.[2] The plot revolves around the personal stories of a number of soldiers who are on their way to defend a strategic hill overlooking the road to Jerusalem.

Hill 24 Doesn't Answer
Film poster
Directed byThorold Dickinson
Produced byThorold Dickinson and Peter Frye
Written byZvi Kolitz
Peter Frye
StarringEdward Mulhare
Music byPaul Ben Haim
CinematographyGerald Gibbs
Edited byJoanna Dickinson
Thorold Dickinson
Release date
  • 2 November 1955 (1955-11-02)
Running time
101 minutes
CountryIsrael
LanguageEnglish/Hebrew[1]

Plot

In 1948, just four hours and 45 minutes before a ceasefire takes effect, Captain Yehuda Berger instructs four volunteers - James Finnegan, a British policeman (who fell in love with a Palestinian Jewish woman named Miriam Miszrahi; Allan Goodman; David Airan; and (at her insistence) Esther Hadassi (a Yemeni Jewish woman) - to take and hold the strategic "Hill 24", one of a number of hills dominating the highway into Jerusalem.

Afterward, Finnegan relates how he first met Berger in 1946, two years before the start of the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, while serving as a British policeman in Haifa. In a flashback, Finnegan is part of the police force rounding up Jews who came ashore in British-controlled Mandatory Palestine illegally at night. Finnegan finds an ailing Berger and Miriam Miszrahi, and goes to find medical help for Berger. He is relieved to learn that the pair escaped. Berger is a concentration camp survivor who arrived in Palestine illegally during the British Mandate period and joined the Jewish Brigade group to help other Jews make Aliyah Bet.

Later Finnegan and Berger encounter one another at a checkpoint, where Berger is identified. Finnegan's superior lets Berger go, ordering Sergeant Finnegan to follow him and apprehend his associates. Berger spots the police tailing him and flees. The two policemen follow him all the way to an apartment, which turns out to be Miriam's, but Berger manages to get away. When Miriam gets home, she finds the police in her apartment. Miriam, a fourth generation Palestinian studying to be a teacher, is taken in for questioning and detained under the Emergency Defence Regulations. She is questioned about her relationship with Berger and the Jewish Underground. As she is being questioned Berger, who has been apprehended, is brought into the station.

Miriam is released the next morning. Finnegan and Browning are ordered to keep her under surveillance. After several fruitless days, Lawson tells Finnegan he can make Miriam's acquaintance, much to Finnegan's delight. Finnegan falls in love with her and he convinces her to return to Haifa with him, where she is arrested by Finnegan's superior. Miriam later joins the army to fight in the 1948 War, and Finnegan joins also. He reveals to his fellow soldiers that he is an Irish Christian. Miriam and Finnegan meet briefly as Finnegan is deployed to Hill 24. As they drive towards the site of the operation Goodman, a New Yorker, tells the story of how he and Hadassi first met when he was wounded during the battle for the Old City. Hadassi, working as a nurse, helped care for him until the forces surrendered. They then signed up for Bergen's unit together. The four die on the hill. Hadassi's body is found still clutching an Israeli flag. It is declared that the Hill has been claimed for Israel.

Cast

and in order of appearance.
  • Eric Greene as Browning
  • David Hershkovitz as Kiosk Owner
  • Stanley Preston as Lawson
  • Mati Raz as Interpreter
  • Shraga Friedman as Travel Agent
  • Ruth Rappaport as Hospital Nurse
  • Shoshana Duer as Hospital Matron
  • Arie Zeidmann as Itzik'l
  • Leon Gilboa as French Official
  • Abraham Barzilai as Arab Official
  • David Ram as Israeli Official
  • Burton Most as U.S. Official
Guest Players

References

  1. A. W. (3 November 1955). "Israeli 'Hill 24 Doesn't Answer' at World"". The New York Times. p. 37.
  2. "Festival de Cannes: Hill 24 Doesn't Answer". Cannes Film Festival. Retrieved 1 February 2009.
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