The passions and pitfalls of a lifetime in the military are dramatized in Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s magnificent epic, The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp. The film follows the exploits of pristine British soldier Clive Candy (Roger Livesey) as he battles to maintain his honor and proud gentlemanly conduct through romance, three wars, and a changing world. Vibrant and controversial, The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp is at once a romantic portrait of a career soldier and a pointed investigation into the nature of aging, friendship, and obsolescence. —The Criterion Collection
A one time studio gofer, still photographer, and comic actor, Michael Powell became one of the most celebrated and controversial directors ever to come out of England. Born in Canterbury, Powell became enamored of films while still a teenager and, after a start in the mid-’20s and a stint shooting stills and serving as a co-scenarist with Alfred Hitchcock in the early sound era, Powell broke into directing in low-budget British thrillers and comedies. After directing and writing his first notable movie in 1937, The Edge of the World, he moved to London Films where he began working with Emeric Pressburger, a gifted young author and screenwriter. Their two-decade association began shortly after they left London Films (where they collaborated on The Spy in Black and Powell co-directed The Thief of Bagdad). The wartime thrillers Contraband and Forty-Ninth Parallel, the latter attracted much attention (including Oscar nominations for Best Picture and best original story), resulted in the… read more
The screenwriter half of the Powell/Pressburger team in association with Michael Powell, Hungarian-born Emeric Pressburger was a journalist before coming to films as a screenwriter in the late ‘20s. After working at Germany’s UFA studios for several years, he fled after Hitler’s rise to power and eventually came to England, where he joined London Films as a screenwriter and began his association with Michael Powell, a gifted young English filmmaker. The two worked together on The Spy in Black, and after leaving London Films, formed a filmmaking partnership, known corporately as The Archers, in which they shared joint screenwriter-producer-director credit. Their collaborations together included 49th Parallel, One of Our Aircraft Is Missing, The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, A Canterbury Tale, I Know Where I’m Going, Stairway to Heaven (A Matter of Life and Death), Black Narcissus, The Red Shoes, The Small Back Room, and The Tales of Hoffmann, most of which were extremely successful… read more
There a few films out there as grandly moving and Powell and Pressburger's THE LIFE AND DEATH OF COLONEL BLIMP, a sprawling look at the life of a soldier over 40 years and three wars, from the Boer War, to WWI, to WWII. An intimate study of obsolescence in the face of vast societal changes, the examines life through the eyes of an old man who no longer understands the rapidly changing world around him. A masterpiece.
If you consider that this film was shot in 1942/3, right in the middle of WWII, it takes an even higher dimension. Powell and Pressburger never present German people as objects of hatred and focus on the politics of Germany. That's admirable if we think about how medias are working nowadays. I was also deeply impressed by the romantic mood of the film showing to us a man looking for a feminine ideal throughout his entire life. Deborah Kerr is great. Masterpiece.
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“One of the strangest epics, most bizarre propaganda efforts, and greatest films to ever emerge from the British cinema.”
THE SPY WITH MY FACE "He had the good fortune to be a bad author with an imagination reveling in gross sensation and sex - a natural ally
Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, much to Winston Churchill’s disgust, produced a hymn to friendship in 1942 between two people, one an Englishman and the other a German. London was suffering… read review
Having seen this film at various times over the years, I just don’t understand the wild praise the film continues to get. BLIMP, made in 1943, is the story of uber-Brit soldier Clive Candy (the great… read review
Colonel Blimp was a pompous, irascible and stereotypically English satirical political cartoon character from the 1930’s. The character was meant to be a comment on conservative British politics. The… read review