This was another difficult one to find; indeed, I could not personally find a copy. It’s thanks to Chip Lary and our newly formed 1001 Movies Wiki (link now on the right sidebar) that I was finally able to get my hands on an admittedly shoddy print, but hey; at least I still got to see the thing, and that’s what counts. Hill 24 Doesn’t Answer (known in Hebrew as Giv’a 24 Eina Ona) is a film by Thorold Dickinson, and was the first feature film produced in the still newly formed state of Israel. It’s a bit of a propaganda piece, but what can you expect from a freshly formed government (a la Octyabr)?
During the 1948 War for Israel, the ceasefire orchestrated by the U.N. takes effect at 5:45 a.m. At one o’clock, a group of Israeli insurgents and sympathizers seek to do whatever they can in the last remaining hours of the war to gain and/or keep as much property for Israel as they possibly can. In flashbacks, each explores the reasons why they’ve decided to fight for Israel, be it for love, for home, or for religion. Despite being produced in Israel, the film is still in English and is by the records English-made, so no worries about subtitles (although there were Hebrew subtitles on the print I watched). The film is very basically made, and well put together; aside from a few individual shots I was impressed with, there’s really nothing about the cinematography or the visual aspects of the film that was even above average, let alone stellar enough to make the list, so we’ll have to go by content. The film was somewhat hard to follow at times, but what really rubbed me the wrong way was how simplistic the story was; the film’s actions were very telegraphed, and the often cookie-cutter script didn’t help any either.
I can’t fault the film for looking cruddy; it was merely the only print available to me. I can fault the film for other things, which I’ve mentioned above. Still, I was at least able to follow along with the film and get through the whole thing, which says something. I don’t know if this was worth the effort it’s taken just to find a copy of it, and I hope that doesn’t become a running theme with these rare films. I imagine this made the list for historic reasons, for being the first film produced in Israel, and for its storytelling device, cause I didn’t find much else here to justify its inclusion.
Arbitrary Rating: 6/10