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
Only The Archers could be so perverse as to make a WW2 propaganda film where we root for the Nazi. My favorite Tories!
Tory sensibilities: the general belief in the soundness of British traditions and institutions (although they frequently offered scathing criticisms of said). I'm not sure how you can deny it was a propaganda film; when it was made at a time when Germany posed an existential threat to GB. Of course, it doesn't "feel" like a propaganda film, as P&P were such great artists.
"Tory" today just refers to the ghastly Conservative Party, so I think it's misleading as well as inaccurate to refer to P&P as "Tories". I dislike P&P's official propaganda films (1940-1946) with all their faux-stereotypes and middle-European sentimentalism. P&P's best films together were brisk adventures like SPY or their 1950s stuff (RIVER PLATE, ILL MET, etc). Powell was a very good technical director (PEEPING TOM and the ballet sequence in RED SHOES are great) but for me the dreary Pressburger was his downfall. I don't feel it's a big deal to "deny" that SPY is propaganda - it simply never occurred to me. What possible propaganda value did it have?