Hungry Hill (film)

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Hungry Hill
"Hungry Hill" (1947).jpg
Directed by Brian Desmond Hurst
Produced by William Sistrom
Filippo Del Giudice
J. Arthur Rank (uncredited)
Written by Terence Young
Daphne du Maurier
Based on the novel by Daphne du Maurier
Starring Margaret Lockwood
Dennis Price
Cecil Parker
Dermot Walsh
Michael Denison
Jean Simmons
Music by John Greenwood, played by the London Symphony Orchestra, directed by Muir Mathieson
Cinematography Desmond Dickinson
Edited by Alan Jaggs
Distributed by General Film Distributors (UK)
Universal International (US)
Release date
7 January 1947 (London)(UK)
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Budget $1.5 million[1][2]

Hungry Hill is a 1947 British film directed by Brian Desmond Hurst and starring Margaret Lockwood, Dennis Price and Cecil Parker with a screenplay by Terence Young and Daphne du Maurier, from the novel by Daphne du Maurier.[3]


A feud is waged between two families in Ireland - the Brodricks and the Donovans - over the sinking of a copper mine in Hungry Hill by "Copper John" Brodrick. The feud has repercussions down three generations.[4]

Copper John Brodrick wants to mine copper at Hungry Hill. Of his two sons, Henry is enthusiastic but Greyhound John is reluctant. The mine goes ahead despite opposition of the Donovan family.

Fanny Rose flirts with both John and Henry. The Donovans lead a riot at the mine which results in Henry's death.

John becomes a lawyer and is the heir to the mine, but is reluctant to take over. He resumes his romance with Fanny Rose.



Daphne du Maurier's novel was a best seller. Film rights were bought by Two Cities who assigned William Sistrom to produce.[5] Brian Desmond Hurst was the director and it was decided to film on location in Ireland.[6]

Background filming began in County Wicklow in September 1945.[7] Studio filming did not begin until March 1946 in Denham.

The female lead was offered to Geraldine Fitzgerald but she was unable to get out of her US commitments.[8] The producers approached Sally Gray who turned it down as she did not wish to grow old on camera.[9] Margaret Lockwood played the role instead, once she finished with Bedelia.[10] Lockwood's real life daughter player her daughter in the film.[11]

Robert Cummings was mentioned for the male lead.[12]

According to Dermot Walsh, Brian Desmond Hurst wanted Seamus Locke to play Wild Johnny but producer Bill Sistrom insisted on Walsh. "They had a bit of a barney over that," says Walsh. "After I made an exhaustive test, Sistrom called in all the girls from the front office, sat them down and ran the test. The girls got me the part!"[13]

Walsh says the film took around five months to make. "Every shot was composed, they'd spend hours trying to get it as beautiful and as dramatically effective as possible."[13]

Critical reception[edit]

  • The New York Times wrote, "the film's running time is about average, ninety minutes, but the narrative, for all its ample conflict, progresses so ponderously that it seems interminable...The few moments of effective cinema in "Hungry Hill" are so fleeting as to be easily forgotten, but the sequence wherein a staid ball is turned into a lively jig session by the infectious music of a fiddler from the town is a bit of expert staging which you probably won't see duplicated again soon. The spontaneity and brilliant conception of this scene is almost sufficient cause to make one show more tolerance toward "Hungry Hill" than it deserves."[14]
  • Britmovie noted a "stirring Irish saga based on the epic novel by Daphne du Maurier."[15]


  1. ^ Review of film at Variety
  2. ^ Thrill-Type Tales Choice of British Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 7 July 1946: C2.
  3. ^ "Hungry Hill | BFI | BFI". Retrieved 2014-04-17. 
  4. ^ "Hungry Hill". Retrieved 2014-04-17. 
  5. ^ RANDOM NOTES ON THE FILM SCENE: Steinbeck Writes Mexican Picture--Thomas Jackson, Detective--Addenda A Real and Reel Sleuth Bowling Along Visitor From Britain By A.H. WEILER. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 21 Jan 1945: 45
  6. ^ LONDON LETTER The Irish Times (1921-Current File) [Dublin, Ireland] 7 Feb 1945: 3.
  7. ^ FILMING OF "HUNGRY HILL" STARTS IN WICKLOW The Irish Times (1921-Current File) [Dublin, Ireland] 24 Sep 1945: 2.
  8. ^ A Rose in Bloom! Hopper, Hedda. The Washington Post (1923-1954) [Washington, D.C] 11 Feb 1946: 8
  9. ^ "Australian fan letter for English actor". The Australian Women's Weekly. 13, (32). Australia, Australia. 19 January 1946. p. 28. Retrieved 1 May 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  10. ^ FILM ACTIVITIES IN LONDON: Radar's Role in the War to Be Revealed in 'Top Secret'-- Carol Reed to Make Odd Man Out' in Ireland Radar Deception With a Tint of Green Reset By C.A. LEJEUNE. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 27 Jan 1946: X3.
  11. ^ British Film Star Irked by Censors: 'Silly,' Says Margaret Lockwood in Trans-Atlantic Phone Chat Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 9 Mar 1947: B1.
  12. ^ Looking at Hollywood Hopper, Hedda. Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963) [Chicago, Ill] 12 June 1945: 15.
  13. ^ a b Brian McFarlane An Autobiography of British Film p 589
  14. ^ T. M. P. (1947-10-11). "Movie Review - Hungry Hill - Miss du Maurier's Novel Makes Film". Retrieved 2014-04-17. 
  15. ^ "Hungry Hill 1947 | Britmovie | Home of British Films". Britmovie. Retrieved 2014-04-17. 

External links[edit]