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, which follows the exploits of pristine British soldier Clive Candy (Roger Livesey).
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Anton Walbrook is one hell of a BAMF. Livesy was pretty annoying at first, but the combination of perfect aging make up with his versatile acting skill made for one of the more impressive performances I've seen in a long time. The film itself is well made, but it didn't throw me like Black Narcissus did. I feel that this is mostly due to the languid pace of the first act. The film picks up considerably afterwards.
The Archers have their cake and eat it with this epic tableau of just about everything bar the proverbial kitchen sink: from past-imperial comment to a contemporary war-time conciliatory tone swept along on a joyous tide of comedy, daring-do, romance, whimsy and character study. It's long for sure, but with such a rumbustious menagerie of ideas, concepts and techniques thrown in time fair licks along. A bizarre gem.
A masterpiece of flawless construction. Pressburger’s script suggests so much about its characters and the world they live in with each new detail, never losing purpose or focus. 3 brilliant actors, in a sense all delivering tricky and perfectly pitched triple performances. And Powell’s mastery of tone balances the tragicomedy of the story and imbues it with the same wistful romanticism of the gorgeous Technicolor.
One that has really grown on me, particularly the more I dig into The Archers' work. There are still at least four other P&P films I prefer to this one, but it's still a great movie. Livesey and Walbrook both give powerhouse performances and the on-screen bond that they create makes you genuinely care what transpires. Once again, just proof of what brilliant filmmakers Powell and Pressburger were.
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.