Friday, 8 October 2010
THE HELLIONS (1961)
Luke Billings (Lionel Jeffries) and his family have a problem with the new police sergeant Sam Hargis (Richard Todd) so they take over a small Transvaal town with the attention of drawing Hargis into a showdown.
Hargis tries to get back up from the townsfolk who do not want to know, so is forced to lay low.
As things get out of hand one of the Billings boys takes an interest in the storekeeper's wife, Priss Dobbs (Anne Aubrey). Having had enough her husband, Ernie (Jamie Uys) takes up the gun and heads down the main street alone. An act that prompts Hargis to join him. Slowly, the townsfolk turn up to back them up.
This is a great 'western' set against a South African background.
From the above it would be reasonable to see the plot of 'High Noon' with the Clantons. Fair comment and might explain why it appealed more to American cinemagoers than the British.
James Booth who plays the eldest of the Billings boys, Jubal, is excellent with his soft yet menacing voice. It is interesting that Henry Hook's character and dress style in 'Zulu' owes something to Booth's Jubal.
This film marked the debut of one of Britain's pop idols, Marty Wilde (father of Kim), as John Billings and gives a credible performance.
Unfortunately, this film has not appeared on TV, video or DVD and I think that it is about time that was addressed. The British Film Institute makes a claim that it is concerned with bringing back forgotten movies - well, maybe, as 'The Hellions' was made forty years ago a release on it's 50th Anniversary would be a fitting time to issue the movie on DVD.