My very first experience with Powell & Pressburger, and I know that there's much more to come, but I'm still pleased with the beginning. Wonderful character work, great technical filmmaking, and the performances from Farrar and Byron more than carry things. There's a bit too much going on, though, and the quick dialogue gets lost at times.
In Million Dollar Movie, Powell's autobiography, he wrote "I needed to create the kind of woman I admire, who keeps the world turning without making a song and dance about it. I needed Sue." A terrific Byron makes that happen. Coupled with the smoldering Farrar, who should have been a bigger star, the Archers' adaptation of Nigel Balchin's outstanding novel is exquisite on all fronts.
Post-war films rarely come quite so immediately post, and Powell and Pressburger address the time, and the tension in the air with this fine bomb-defusing drama. The expressionist alcoholic episode catches the imagination, even if the film as a whole handles addiction in an awkward and imbalanced way. A film of it's time, and quite superb for that.
Up until the very end, it's a bit of a snoozer and melodramatic tale that rails against the evils of alcohol and "dope." Plus the Sci-Fi warbling sound effect whenever we see the bottle of whiskey is downright laughable. Bad choice with that sound effect. Extremely well shot, the movie doesn't live up to the talent of its filmmakers. Just seems like a much lesser work for the much heralded Powell and Pressburger.
A griping WWII tale of strength, love of country, and friendship. A scientist and bomb-disposal expert who has to work past of the bureaucratic nightmare that is England during the war, he as well has to deal with a new German weapon that is killing civilians and service members alike. He must do all this while fighting through the pain of a amputated limb, and a complicated work relationship. An amazing film.
3.5 A very unusual WWII movie. Quite modern depiction of a codependent relationship and struggles with addiction, combined with a thriller bomb plot. Somehow the two strands work together, though the emphasis on repairing Sam's wounded masculinity is a bit tiring. Sue is such a intelligent character that I wish she were also rewarded with a better job, instead of remaining a secretary and cleaning the litter box.
How cool to do a stripped down simple drama after the tour-de-force Red Shoes? This one is a grower. First viewing I thought, nice drama but nothing to write home about. Have to be in the right mood for this one I think. Helps to be hopelessly in love with Kathleen Byron too...
In a Lonely Place for Brits, so convincing in its portrayal of a wounded man who lashes out at the people who love him that its treatment can freely use clichés without feeling held back by them. All this, plus a climax to rival The Wages of Fear in how skillfully it augments mortal threat with human angst. The Archers' most overlooked film. 5 stars.
A horrendous mess of a postwar cheapie that poaches from various sources to eye-gougingly boring effect. The 'disarming the Thermos flask' climax was hilarious. But hey, it's got a Criterion edition right? Auteur-infatuated apologetics seems to be their thing. Maybe this is somehow tolerable if you're not British/a rabid Anglophile... One dim ray of light was Jack Hawkins playing against type as a bit of a bastard.
Marred only somewhat by the fantasy sequences, this is an othewise crisp and tight character drama played with considerable precision by Farrar and Byron (both overlooked by British cinema). The speed and crackle with which the two spar has an unsually contemporary feel about it.