(Michael Powell,Emeric Pressburger, UK, 1943) 163 minutes


Written, Directed, Produced:
Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Photography: Jack Cardiff
Art Direction: Alfred Junge
Music: Allan Gray
Roger Livesey
Anton Walbrook
Deborah Kerr
Roland Culver

Reviews and notes

Technicolor was used sparingly during the war, largely because of the shortage of equipment and film stock. The next major picture made in colour was Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's production of THE LIFE AND DEATH OF COLONEL BLIMP, which told the life story of a character inspired by the renowned cartoon creation of David Low in the Evening Standard. It was the first picture to emerge from their new company, the Archers.

A long, curious film, it presented a very different view of Colonel Blimp, or Colonel Clive Wynne-Candy, VC, a Boer War veteran, from the one that would be gained from a regular perusal of Low's cartoons. The part was played by Roger Livesey who handled the transitional stages, from a young subaltern to a fat, retired old soldier very well.

The story, which showed how Candy developed a lifelong friendship for a former German dueling opponent, played by Anton Walbrook, preached a kind of tolerance not particularly noticeable in films of the period. Deborah Kerr has a triple part, as three young women cropping up in various stages of the hero's long life.
- George Perry, The Great British Picture Show, Grenada, 1974.

Churchill's famous opposition to THE LIFE AND DEATH OF COLONEL BLIMP has probably done most to crystallise the image of Powell and Pressburger's wartime epic as a subversive thrust at the military establishment.
-Richard Combs, Monthly Film Bulletin.

This is the first of several films in a Powell/Pressburger retrospective the Wellington Film Society is screening this year courtesy of The British Council.

Weblink: Senses Of Cinema article on the work of Powell and Presburger

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