Congo – The Englishman who Went Up A Hill And Came Down A Mountain – tape 2434

First, Congo, based on the novel by Michael Crichton. I’ve watched this a couple of times, and I’ve read the novel, and yet I can’t recall many details of the plot. But how can I dislike a film with both Tim Curry and Bruce Campbell in the cast?

Bruce Campbell

Campbell is searching for ‘Blue Diamond Effluvia’ I think. It powers a laser. He’s working for a hi-tech company, who want the lasers for their communications technology, although the one he demonstrates can blow up rock, so I’m guessing that. But while exploring, he comes across a hidden temple. And pretty soon, something very scary comes across him.

His whole expedition is attacked, as witnessed by Laura Linney and Joe Don Baker (Campbell’s father) over a video-link.

Laura Linney

Baker is desperate to get the diamonds, which are crucial to his company’s communication laser, so he orders Linney, who was engaged to Campbell, to head over to Africa.

Joe Don Baker

Meanwhile, we meet Grant Heslov and Dylan Walsh, who have been using VR gloves to allow a gorilla called Amy to speak using sign language.

Amy the talking gorilla

In the audience for their presentation is Tim Curry, a Romanian businessman, who offers to fund their expedition to take Amy to Africa to speak to other gorillas.

Tim Curry

Linney needs to get to Africa too, so she hitches a ride on their plane.

Once they get to Africa, they’re met by Joe Pantoliano

Joe Pantoliano

And Ernie Hudson, as their “great white hunter”.

Ernie Hudson

Even Delroy Lindo turns up as a corrupt Captain who needs to be bribed to carry on with the expedition.

Delroy Lindo

Weirdly, both Lindo and Pantoliano are uncredited cameos.

Nothing’s easy on this trip. They cross the border into Zaire (now the People’s Democratic Republic of Congo) and the army starts shooting RPGs at the plane, which Linney and Hudson destroy using flare guns. Then everyone has to bail out of the plane, with Amy hitching a ride with Hudson.

This is an oddly paced film. It’s way more than halfway through, and they haven’t even reached their destination. So the film has to generate jeopardy along the way, including a boat ride that’s attacked by hippos.

Hippo Attack

Once they actually het to the legendary lost city, they find it’s defended by a tribe of aggressive white gorillas who don’t like visitors, and the team is soon inundated by them. Amy comes to the rescue of Walsh when he’s attacked, and I was disappointed that she didn’t sign the words “Get your damned hands off him you damned dirty apes.”

Linney finds Campbell’s body, and what does he have with him? The super laser he showed off at the start. Always nice to see Chekov’s laser in practice.

Chekov's Laser

Rather coincidentally, the lost city is overwhelmed by a volcanic eruption at just the moment they’re escaping, leading to a fiery climax.

This is a deeply silly film.

After this, recording switches over to the Movie Channel for The Englishman who went up a Hill and came down a Mountain. It’s got an introduction from David Puttnam.

The film itself is a lovely shaggy dog story. Hugh Grant and Ian MacNeice are cartographers from the Ordnance Survey, visiting a small Welsh town to measure the height of their mountain. But the mountain is only 982 feet high making it not a mountain but a hill. It would have to be 1000 feet to qualify to be a mountain.

Hugh Grant and Ian MacNeice

The villagers, led by Colm Meaney as the lecherous hotel keeper, are incensed that their mountain is being reduced in rank, so they conspire to keep the two Englishmen in town, not letting them leave, until they can bolster the height of the mountain.

Colm Meany

It’s a lovely film, and has a vibe much like Local Hero. It’s also the first film I ever saw when they opened the new Multiplex in my home town. Ever since I’d been a regular cinemagoer, the only cinema in town was the Odeon in the main street, which, since the 70s decline in cinema attendance, had all but curtailed its film showings. Films were only shown on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, all other nights being used for Bingo. I did love that cinema, though. It had a huge screen, and I remember queuing around the block for Star Wars when it eventually arrived in the summer of 1978. The multiplex was a big improvement in the number of films available to watch, and meant I no longer had to make the journey to Hatfield or High Wycombe to watch films. They did have some teething problems, though 0 the sound cut out a few times at our screening of this film, which was annoying.

The recording stops after the film.


  • Ariel
  • Quality Street
  • Jewson
  • Pirelli
  • trail: Braveheart
  • trail: Easter Sunday
  • Specsavers
  • Worthington’s Draught – Harry Enfield
  • KFC
  • Dremel
  • Gillette Sensor Excel
  • Loctite Super Attak
  • Persil washing liquid
  • Daily Star
  • Get Shorty on video
  • Bird’s Eye Fish Fingers
  • Bird’s Eye Hungry Joes
  • trail: Species
  • trail: Hercules
  • Coming Soon: Innocent Lies
  • BT
  • Ross Chip Shop
  • Thornton’s
  • L’Oreal
  • Acuvue
  • Mini Cheddars
  • Prodential
  • Tetley Tea
  • Sky Viewing Card
  • trail: Casper
  • trail: Braveheart
  • Munchies Egg
  • Rimmel
  • Kwik Fit
  • Oasis
  • Woolworth’s
  • Flash
  • Dremel


  1. “Congo” has some shockingly bad effects – it’s like ILM wanted to knock off early and rushed it. You could run a lengthy season of rubbish movies with good Jerry Goldsmith scores.

  2. Congo remains the stupidest blockbuster I’ve ever seen in a cinema. That gorilla suit just needed a diving helmet and it would match Robot Monster for idiocy. What’s gorilla sign language for “terrible movie”? Tell us, Koko!

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