The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain is a 1995 movie written by Ivor Monger and directed by Christopher Monger.
The movie is based on a story heard by Christopher Monger from his grandfather about the real village of Taff's Well
), Rhondda Cynon Taff
and its neighbouring Garth Mountain
. Due to 20th century urbanisation of the area, it was filmed in the more rural Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant
in Mid Wales
The movie is set in 1917 (with World War I
in the background) and revolves around two English cartographers
, the pompous Garrad and his junior, Anson, who arrive at the fictional Welsh
village of Ffynnon Garw ("Rough Fountain" in Welsh
) to measure its "mountain
" - only to cause outrage when they conclude that it is only a hill
because it is slightly short of the required 1000 feet. The villagers, aided and abetted by the wily Morgan the Goat and the Reverend Jones (who after initially opposing the scheme, grasps its symbolism in restoring the community's war-damaged self-esteem), conspire with Anson to delay the cartographers' departure while they build an earth cairn
on top of the hill to make it high enough to be considered a mountain.
In regard to its humorous and affectionate description of the locals, the movie has often been compared with Waking Ned Devine, a comedy film written and directed by Kirk Jones.
One of the most obscure jokes in the film occurs when a mechanic is asked about a nondescript broken part he has removed from a car, and replies "I don't know what you call it in English, but in Welsh
we call it a bechingalw.
" In Welsh, bechingalw
has the same meaning as the word "whatchamacallit
" or "thingamajig
." (This is, however, explained in the novel the film is based on.)
, the actual hill that this movie was based on.
- Englishman Who Went Up A Hill - Backsights Magazine (Surveyors Historical Society), originally published in Professional Surveyor, Nov./Dec. 1998