Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain, The (1995)

The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain (1995), written and directed by Christopher Monger.

British government surveyors enter Wales during WW1. There are worse places to be in 1917. When villagers are told that their local mountain will be reclassified as a "hill" if it measures less than 1000 feet high, they respond with shock and outrage. Having a mountain is a point of civic pride.

Maybe if they can keep the visitors in town long enough -- sabotage their car, hide the trains -- they can make adjustments to the terrain of Ffynnon Garw, just enough to put it over the limit. The younger of the two surveyors, recovering from shell shock, knows what is going on and doesn't mind at all. Especially after meeting Miss Elizabeth, also known as "Betty from Cardiff" depending on how she is dressed.

This is a sweet tale, told as a story that has already passed into legend, but still within living memory, if that is possible. Sweet enough to be cloying in spots, but let that go. Not as wacky as Local Hero (1983) but with the same type of charm.

Not an ambitious film, but I wanted to see Hugh Grant and Tara Fitzgerald again after Sirens (1994), made the previous year. He had by then perfected his shy stammering Englishman persona, and she had an inviting, impossibly wide smile.

Also with Ian McNeice (Year of the Comet (1992), Edge of Darkness (1985)) and Colm Meaney (Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) as "Morgan the Goat", the lecherous pub owner. Lots of red-haired babies being born when the other men are away at war.

I also want to point out Ian Hart (The End of the Affair (1999)) as "Johnny Shellshocked" who had a bad war in France. The war intrudes in other ways: the nation needs extra coal and the Welsh supply it, a dangerous trade. People die on the homefront, too.

Lyrical score.

Available on DVD and on some Blu-ray imports which I haven't seen. My old DVD is non-anamorphic, sad treatment for a scope ratio title. I see what look like later DVD releases but don't know about their encoding.