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Director George Roy Hill (1921- 2002)

 Director George Roy Hill (1921- 2002)
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George Roy Hill was born in 1921 in Minneapolis, Minnesota into a well to do family. His family owned the Minneapolis Tribune. He attended private schools and would later attend Yale. It would be here that he would get into acting/directing. He would fly for the Army Air Corps in the Pacific during WWII. He would later be called back during the war in Korea.

Hill's first work would be for television. He would have some minor hits in the 1950's-60's but it was in the later 60's where he would take off. For a period of a few years he would have some hits. Starting with 'Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid' to 'The Sting' he was on his mark, so to speak. He would have some small hits in the later 70's and by the time of 'Funny Farm' he was done with making movies. He would go on to teach and live out the rest of his life.

He was a hard person in that he didn't fit the Hollywood mold for directors. He was an actors director so to speak. He didn't like to go on talk shows. He liked working behind the scenes. He left us with some good work and here are a few of his movies that I have reviewed. Enjoy.

'Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)' - Our film opens up with Butch Cassidy (Paul Newman) and the Sundance Kid (Robert Redford) returning to Hole in the Wall, Wyoming. They call themselves the Hole in the Wall Gang and they love robbing. It doesn't matter trains, banks anyway they can make money and not have to work to do it the better. While the two men had been gone the rest of the gang had taken a vote and named Harvey Logan (Ted Cassidy) to be the leader. You see he had come up with a plan to rob the Union Pacific Flyer Train. He also wanted to rob it on the way back because they wouldn't think it would be robbed twice. Butch thought it was a good plan, but he had to knife fight Harvey to regain control of the gang. He kicks Harvey in the groin and well, that settles that.

They rob the Flyer and go hide out at Etta Place's (Katharine Ross) house and all goes well. The only problem on the way back the second robbery doesn't go well. Butch uses to much dynamite and there is a second train with lawmen behind the first train. So the gang goes any which way and Butch and Sundance go theirs. They try to hide out in a town but someone gives them up. They try to talk to a friend of theirs who is a sheriff and give themselves up but they have made too much of a name and people now just want them dead.

So they go to Etta and decide to go to Bolivia and rob banks there. They go straight for awhile and work for a man named Percy Garvis (Strother Martin) taking care of bankrolls up and back a mountain for a mining company. Problem is on their first day on their way back up the mountain they are attacked by bandits. Garvis is killed and the two manage to kill the bandits but now they are out of a job. So they go back to robbing.

Etta has left the country so the two men head to the next town. They are spotted but you will need to watch the film to find out how they get out of this situation.

Look this is one of the best movies ever made. It is interesting, entertaining, and just good fun. Paul Newman and Robert Redford have joined up to become one of the best teams of actors in the history of film.

Director George Roy Hill brings us one of the classics of cinema. He brings together a cast that is beyond question one of the best. So sit back and enjoy the adventure.

'Slap Shot (1977)' - The Charleston Chiefs, a minor league hockey team of the Federal league, is in last place. Player/Coach Reggie Dunlap (Paul Newman) is at his wits end. Okay, let's face facts, he really has very little to go on as far as talent. Ned Braden (Michael Ontkean) is probably the best player on the team. He does have most goals scored in the entire league. Unfortunately, you can't make a team just on one player. Plus Braden has other things on his mind. His wife is a drunk and depressed woman. Lily Braden (Lindsay Crouse) is an attractive woman who just doesn't feel loved and this is taking it's toll on Ned. He just is losing his concentration on the ice.

The team is doing so badly that manager Joe McGrath (Strother Martin) is always trying to save a buck. He has informed Reggie that at the end of the season the team will be disbanded. You see the main source of income for the town, the auto plant, is closing and there was little money to begin with but in a few months there will be no money to be had in the town.

Reggie wants to know who the owner is but Joe won't tell him. Reggie thinks he can talk the owner in keeping the team going. Reggie has told the team that even if the team folds that they will either one be betrayed to a good team or they are going to be bought out by a Florida group of investors and move. This still doesn't motivate the team.

Joe has signed three players from another league to come and play for the Chiefs. They are the Hanson brothers, Jeff, Steve, and Jack (Jeff Carlson, Steve Carlson, Jack Hanson). Reggie doesn't play them at first cause he thinks they are a joke but when he does they go nuts and the team gets on the band wagon. These guys start fights just to start them and the team and the crowd in the stands go absolutely nuts. The team starts winning and well just watch the movie and see where it goes.

Director George Roy Hill does a great job with this movie. It has laughs all over the place and is something you can watch over and over. So take the time and watch hockey at it's purest form, mean.

'The Sting (1973)' - A runner for the mob gets picked for the weeks take and is taken by a couple of second rate con artists. Johnny Hooker (Robert Redford) and Luther Coleman (Robert Earl Jones) rob him for about 11,000 dollars. Now Johnny goes and starts spreading some of that money and it gets noticed by people who work for Doyle Lonnegan (Robert Shaw). Doyle is the big shot and doesn't like to be made to look bad. He puts a hit out on Johnny and Luther and he finds Luther but Johnny heads to Chicago to work for a man by the name of Henry Gondorff (Paul Newman). Now Gondorff was friends with Luther and when Johnny approaches him to help put together a big con against Lonnegan, he accepts. You see Johnny has never done the big con but he is good at what he does.

Johnny has a Joliet detective by the name Snyder (Charles Durning) after him for not paying bribe money he owes. Well he did pay him but it was counterfeit. Snyder just seems to pop up at the wrong times and Johnny just has to run or deal with the abuse.

Anyway, they go for some traveling money so they can nail Lonnegan on the big con. Henry and Johnnie and their friend J.J. Singleton (Ray Walston) go to a poker game that Lonnegan plays. It's aboard a train that brings Lonnegan to Chicago once a month or so. They do take Lonnegan and they sink the hook into him as Henry says he is a big time gambling boss out of Chicago and Lonnegan thinks he is going to take Henry for some money with the help of Johnny.

Henry and his cohorts set up a fake horse racing emporium and want to take the New York Boss for any and all they can get. Luther Coleman was liked by many people and there is not a problem in getting people to help with the con. The rest of the story will be seen when you watch this hilarious movie. This is one of the greats when it comes to film.

Director George Roy Hill has put a classic cast together that works, and audiences love this story. It's a laugh a minute for most and you can't but walk away thinking how much you enjoyed watching it. So Enjoy "the big con".

'Funny Farm (1988)' - On any given Sunday, the afternoon is one of rest and relaxation. A person might cuddle up with a good book. They might stretch out on the couch and watch a good movie. Well This is a movie that you could enjoy this Sunday afternoon.

It's called 'Funny Farm' and it stars Chevy Chase as Andy Farmer and playing his wife Elizabeth Farmer is Madolyn Smith Osborne . The story opens with the couple moving to the country. They are tired of New York and Andy wants to write that 'Great American Novel'. They move to a little town called Redbud. It's a simple place with lakes and ponds and beautiful scenery.

It also has a little quirkiness to it. Like the phone company that installs a payphone in the house. The mailman who is a raging drunk and because the Farmer house is so out of the way just throws the mail out of the window. There's even a 'lovable' Sheriff who has to be driven around in a taxi cab cause he can't pass his driving test.

Now Andy is ready to write that novel but can't come up with a thing to put on the paper. So he makes his way around the homestead and has some interesting adventures. Elizabeth Farmer moves in with very little problems.

The story continues with the Farmer's finding a dead body buried in their garden. They buy a dog that once it is out of the car never comes back. After several months things just don't seem to be going their way and they want to get a divorce. The rest we'll just let you find out as you watch it.

The movie is lighthearted and easy to watch. It allows you to laugh and enjoy your Sunday afternoon. It gets you into the frame of mind that life is good and work comes tomorrow.

The director George Roy Hill is famous for such films as 'Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,' 'The Sting,' and many more great classics. Mr. Hill has always been called impersonal in his approach to movies but on the Funny Farm I think he hits the nail on the head.