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On The Black Hill
On The Black Hill The rolling hills of the
  Welsh Border Country
  at the turn of the century
  make an outstanding
  backdrop for an evocative
  tale of an unsettled
  marriage between a
  vicar’s daughter and a
  farm-worker, and the
  possessiveness of their
  twin sons...”

THE DEATH OF A VICAR and former missionary leaves his daughter Mary (Gemma Jones, Bridget Jones' Diary, Duchess of Duke Street) homeless and alone. Salvation comes in the form of rough-and-ready farm-worker Amos Jones (Bob Peck, Edge of Darkness, Jurassic Park), who wants to marry her. On The Black Hill follows their uneasy relationship through their social differences, the birth of their children, the antagonism of neighbour Tom Watkins (Eric Wynn) and the effects of the war.

'Vision', the farmhouse in which they live on The Black Hill is rented from Colonel Bickerton (James Bree), whose wife (Antonia Pemberton) has befriended Mary. It is there that their inseparable twin sons Benjamin and Lewis (played by brothers Mike and Robert Gwilym) are born — followed later by a daughter, Rebecca (Lynn Gardner).

Beautifully shot and well acted, On The Black Hill was directed by Andrew Grieve, who also wrote the screenplay from the original novel by Bruce Chatwin. It is a story of the life of one family and the influ-ence they have on each other and it has been described as "the
British Jean de Florette". It was produced by Jennifer Howarth and
the evocative original music is by Robert Lockhart.

A falling-out with Tom Watkins turns into a nasty vendetta and Amos begins to blame Mary for all his frustrations and disappointments — including the estrangement of Rebecca. Resentments, jealousies and possessiveness begin to tear apart the already troubled family but On The Black Hill centres around the extraordinary bond between the twin brothers, following the history of the family over the course of the 20th Century — through eighty years of romance, war and loss.

Winner of the Golden Seashell for Best Film at the 1988 San Sebastian International Film Festival, On The Black Hill features stunning photo-graphy of the Welsh-English border and was shot in only seven weeks on a tight budget. Locals and livestock were recruited to the film, most of the props were borrowed, and even the local WI was enlisted to create knitting patterns of the correct period. This firmly locates the film in its region, giving it a strong sense of identity and reality.

Adapted for the big-screen in 1987 from Bruce Chatwin's award-winning novel by writer/director Andrew Grieve, On The Black Hill
makes its DVD premiere on 31 March (2008) courtesy of Film First
at an RRP of 12.99.

"An outstanding British Film that has never been given its due"
Time Out

"A film of integrity, insight and beauty" — The Observer

This much-anticipated DVD includes an introductory booklet written by writer/director Andrew Grieves. DVD extras include Pinny Grylls' touching short film Peter and Ben, a profound and moving tale of friendship between the reclusive Peter and his sheep Ben, filmed in 2007 in the same location as On The Black Hill.

Film First is the publishing arm of, the UK's premier specialist DVD retailer.