Every film from Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" essays.
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.
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…
To be perfectly honest I wasn't really looking forward to watching this film, I was afraid it was going to be dated slog, what with the runtime pushing close to 3 hours, it being produced in 1943, it being uber-British, and it being an epic film with a soldier as the central character. None of those aspects intrigue me, or even slightly interest me.
With that being said...holy shit!
Powell and Pressburger went ahead and rolled every genre into one man's life, spread it out over 40 years, three different wars, and never once did I find it uninteresting. It's got romance, comedy, war, dueling, friendships, regrets, fantastic dialogue, great performances, spectacular sets, not to…
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)…
A Powell & Pressburger production is nearly always a guaranteed treat. This time the serving is of grand proportions and the entree prepared as a bona fide epic into the life of a remarkable man. The film weaves with propriety and ease through the gaps in time, the events that occur and the change and consequence that comes to pass with each and every character that we witness through this delightful cinematic journey.
I feel like I aught to put on the nostalgic old timer cap and reference the worn out saying of how "They don't make them like they use to" and really most roll their eyes anymore at that kind of comment but damn it it's true. I come…
Whenever writing a review for one of Powell & Pressburger's collaborations it probably goes through anyone's head to just point at that name and leave it at that, because that is all anyone needs to know. Rarely in the history of cinema has a coupling been such a definitive indicator for the highest quality of film-making, and despite knowing I was probably going to love The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp I was completely caught off guard by its technical prowess, wit (both in the dialogue and visually), and the enormous heart it possesses. Spanning four decades in the life of a decorated British military officer, the film is a complex epic that combines a plethora of themes and characters,…
Goddamn I'm a fool for not watching this sooner.
How was this movie made in 1943?! I'm blown away by so many aspects here... the script is incredibly smart and funny, and it seems so much more aware than far too many films today.
And Roger Livesey. Damn, I would have bet money that young and old Clive Candy were played by different actors. His performance is incredibly affecting and perfectly physical.
And has technicolor always looked this gorgeous? Probably, but I feel like I'm noticing it for the first time.
And the idea of spending all that time building up to the duel only to skip it almost entirely? Ridiculously brave, and something they do again with two world…
After spending almost three hours with the colonel, we feel like we know everything about him; he is one-of-a-kind. But really, he is not. Sure, his stories are unique to him, but after (what I assume) 60-70 some years of life, everyone is going to have their up's and down's. Everyone is going to have fantastic stories to tell; Colonel Clive Candy is merely an old man telling his story. And it's heartbreaking and beautiful.
For 1943, this film looks fantastic. The colors are beautiful. Black and white would have not done this film justice. I love how Powell and Pressburger's show the passing of time. Documents, new animal heads on the wall from safaris, and my favorite, moving the camera from one end of the pool to the other; one end of life to the other.
Wow. This film is on the road to becoming one of my favorite films.
Wonderful film about paying mad dues only to be shit on in your golden years. A wonder just to look at.
From the first frames, THE LIFE AND DEATH OF COLONEL BLIMP is preposterously gorgeous to look at. That and the witty fizz of the dialogue alone would make this a classic piece of entertainment, but its subtlety in other areas is what makes it essential viewing. I sat down with this film knowing absolutely nothing about it other than the cast and crew, and it only slowly dawned on me what Powell and Pressburger were doing with their central character, and how rarely I get to see such a thing at the movies.
"I still haven't changed," says Clive Wynne-Candy at the end, in a statement that is both true and untrue. His principles and his character are the same…
Absolutely wonderful. It balances a tone so exactly as to stand head and shoulders above most of its counterparts that I've seen. The Criterion blu-ray transfer is just as worthy, preserving a film suffused with unforgettable images and deeply moving character moments. In the introduction supplement, Martin Scorsese says that for years he believed he dreamed the film and it has that vivid, unforgettable quality of only the best dreams in combination with a sense of the melancholy and elegiac. Delightful and mournful, lovingly satirical, unabashedly emotional, this is a masterpiece.
Superb. Only hit against it is its runtime in my opinion; a few long stretches that could have been truncated. Probably the best cinematic exploration of a flawed character in the pre-1970s landscape.
"The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp" es otra joya en la filmografía del dúo de Powell y Pressburger, brindándonos un retrato de 40 años en la vida de un oficial británico que vivió durante ambas guerras mundiales.
La cinta, de casi 3 horas de duración, nos muestra las diferentes etapas balanceando drama y humor, romance y suspenso y ofreciendo un retrato un tanto cliché de la guerra (algunos la podrían catalogar como mera propaganda para el ejército británico). Pero "The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp" (basado en un personaje que protagonizó una tira cómica en los 30s) contiene estupendas actuaciones y personajes memorables. Muy recomendable.
I find it so much harder to write about a film that I love than I film that I didn’t like. With films I don’t like I can go on and on, and sometimes on and on and on, about the things I didn’t like. With films I love, however, there’s only so much praise I can heap on it before it starts to feel a little bit ridiculous. So, what am I supposed to do with a film like this one? A film that I absolutely adored, that I treasured every minute of even as it was happening. There aren’t very many films this long, almost three hours, that are entertaining and captivating the whole way through. This is…
I’ve been looking into the details of the production of the film, and it’s interesting that for a film that has Britain’s national identity among its subjects how personal it was for the people making it. Emeric Pressburger and Anton Walbrook had both fled the Nazis, and Michael Powell had fallen in love with Deborah Kerr. And this personal resonance really shows. The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp is about grander subjects – war, change and loss among them – but the film translates these ideas to intimate human terms. There are two speeches, both delivered by Anton Walbrook’s character, about his flight from Nazi Germany and the changing nature of warfare, that are among the most moving passages…
There are a number of reasons to love The Life And Death Of Colonel Blimp, which is a film that has struck me in a way no film has for years, with its brilliant synthesis of story and performance and craft with a unique point of view. Perhaps the most important is how it deals with youth and old age, and the journey from one to the other. Early in the film the Colonel tells a younger man:
"You laugh at my big belly, but you don't know how I got it. You laugh and my mustache, but you don't know why I grew it. How do you know what kind of fellow I was when I was as young…
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