All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1167. An easy way of seeing how…
The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp
Clive Candy V.C. has fought in the Boer War and the first world war. He still believes he can win any fight with honour and maintaining "gentlemanly conduct". It takes an old German friend of his to point out how much the rules have been changed when fighting the Nazis. We follow this delightful gentleman through his life and the pursuit of his (various) ideals.
Film #10 of Project 40
”War starts at midnight!”
Few films can catch the spirit of time as good as this 1943 visually riveting and thematically intricate piece of cinema. Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger portray the passing of time and the changes it brings to the moral values of society and individuals so finely and with such skill that the whole film looks like a reflection of life at its simplest form, with lost loves, regrets, friendships, adventures and misfortunes. The film looks back at Clive Candy’s life and shows his journey through time, how he has lived his life and most importantly how he has failed to catch up with the passing of time. The Life and Death…
Since I joined Letterboxd, I've only had reason to hit the 5 star button for a viewing of a film during my lifetime here on six occasions, and three of those were for films I'd seen before. Out of all them, I probably hit it for The Life And Death Of Colonel Blimp twice as quick as for any of the rest of them. What a wonderful, wonderful film.
I did a little bit of reading up about it beforehand as I really did not know anything about it all and I have to say that I was a little bit daunted by it before I started. Not because of its…
A film made right in the middle of the Second World War with a friendly, sympathetic German and the symbolic positioning of an out of touch Colonel representing the beginning of the end of an Empire. No wonder the forces that be were none too pleased with Powell and Pressburger.
On face value it may be easier to dismiss this ridiculous looking figure at the start, a blustering old man with his round cartoonish features, whose values seen out of touch. “War starts at midnight!” he bellows at the impetuous young sergeant. Then we are forced to take a step back, asked to see this man through the years, look beyond the crimson face, ridiculous moustache and stiff upper lip.…
Director: Michael Powell (and Emeric Pressburger) (First Film)
The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp may be the most British film I have seen and as a film about being British, is probably the best of its kind. A combative and often intensely funny duo; together, collectively known as The Archers - Powell and Pressburger (although it has often been said that Powell did most of the directing) create a seamless, timeless and quite frankly masterful film that is hearty and poignant but also incredibly funny and always entertaining.
The seamlessness comes from the structure of the film. We're introduced to our main character Major-General Clive Candy as an almost seemingly pathetic figure. An older gentleman who somewhat…
Not yet the eye-piercing target of subsequent films, the Archers’ freshly-minted emblem is here the enchanted stamp on a vast, elaborate tapestry. Britannia during the Blitz is a rubicund, slumbering walrus (Roger Livesey), outraged by the new generation’s ungallant aggressiveness; his bushy mustache hides a scar, he was also a reckless blade once, four decades and three wars flash before his eyes. In the Edwardian Belle Époque the fussy old general is a Boer War officer, young and impudent enough to turn a diplomatic affair into an affront to the German Army. The symphonic first movement climaxes with the camera craning away from a duel just as swords are crossed, then finding the protagonist and his Prussian opponent (Anton Walbrook)…
'Every time I revisit THE LIFE AND DEATH OF COLONEL BLIMP, it seems to have become more resonant, more moving, more profound. You could say that it's the epic of an ordinary life. And what you retain from this epic is an overpowering sense of warmth and love and friendship, of shared humor and tenderness, and a lasting impression of the most eloquent sadness.’
- Martin Scorsese
I can't help but agree with Scorsese's quote up above (even after only one viewing), and I hope I continue to have that very same experience every time I sit down with it, which will be regularly. Sporting two exceptional lead performances, an epic scope with that famous Archers commitment to the vibrancy…
I like Roger Livesey as an actor, he has a certain respectable aura about him on screen. Sadly the film didn't quite live up to expectations.
Considering some of the techniques that were used to convey the passing of time throughout the film, it's a shame that it still ran to the best part of 3 hours.
It's criminal that Roger Livesey wasn't leading man in more roles. He is phenomenal here. Made in the middle of the Second World War, you can forgive its moments of light, Blitz-spirit propaganda - Blimp's sympathetically portrayed German best friend certainly help.
Scenes like the preparation for the duel are completely masterful.
What an ambitious film! It must have been quite challenging to provide a long-term perspective on the war that’s still going on. The confidence! It may be somewhat politically sensitive at times, but it never fears nor sways. What a movie.
For a while now, I've been particularly drawn to those rare works of art that confront age and the elderly's place in society. There's something about the tragedy of becoming neglected as one ages that really resonates with me (odd, since I turned 21 a month ago), which has led me to loving the likes of Tokyo Story and Make Way for Tomorrow. While probably not the centerpiece of Powell and Pressburger's The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, Clive Candy's place in the world he helped defend and build as he grows into an old man is the message that impacted me the most.
But first, the film itself. The direction is lyrical and sprawling, all at once epic…
The most British of British war time films you will ever see. Now there's a good chap.
Sweeping! Magnificent! Powell and Pressburger craft a grand portrait that spans decades and overwhelms with perfectly articulated heart in every turn.
Friendship, duty and honor are explored simultaneously at personal and national levels. You walk out feeling fulfilled and positive, despite the subject matter being a few of the most grim decades in recorded human history. Film making at its finest.
Somebody should remake this about Jerry Seinfeld.
"To be frank, I think his world had vanished long before he ever entered it - but, I will say: he certainly sustained the illusion with a marvelous grace."
Or, the heart is the loneliest Hunter.
One of Powell and Pressburger's best films, an absolute treat to watch as we see Clive Candy (Roger Livesey)'s career in the British Army and learn things about him that the younger soldiers around him don't know.