This is what happens when your car breaks down on a Sunday morning and you have nothing else to do…
The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp
General Clive Candy lives through four decades of war and peace - from the Boer War to World War II - trying to stay true to his belief that "right will always defeat might" and trying to stay relevant while the world changes irrevocably around him.
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…
My opportunities for watching films are often quite limited, and often coincide with looking after my daughter and I have hundreds of films here to watch. So I tend to go for fairly short films and fit a few into my film watching days. Which means films like this, which I was always sure I would love, tend to sit unwatched for years at a time.
Which is a shame, as the long run time that makes me opt to instead watch two shorter films is probably this films hidden weapon. You experience the passage of time with the central character and you adjust as he adjusts, you learn to accept failings and look past them, you feel a wide…
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.…
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)…
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…
What's really clever about this film is that it not only provides a sleek, entertaining and comprehensive retelling of a fictional man's entire life, but how it managed to establish a personal connection for me, to a man so far removed from my own reality. It ingeniously achieves this simply because of the fact that it does span a good portion of a life, and no matter how different we all are, we all experience the same kinds of things in one way or another eventually: heartbreak, victory, loss and friendship etc. These affectations just come naturally as a part of existing and it's easy to forget that everyone else is a person just like you and suffer from similar…
Everything with Theo is stellar but I just don't find Candy to be charming or likable. I wonder how much of that is because I'm so young though. Kerr's multiple roles are neat.
Another one of Powell & Pressberger's charming works, this one simultaeous satire and celebration of Britishness. Like the central character you're in love with the flaws of the old duffer by the end.
Just a wonderful film...
A really epic and powerful movie. The scene at the end with the lake is very moving.
Occasionally it made me feel claustrophobic, like a lot was being left out, that the camera wasn't showing the whole picture, that there was more to be seen if the camera would just zoom out or pan or turn in the other direction.
I had a similar reaction when watching The Red Shoes... so I'm not sure whether to blame the directors or to praise them. Maybe they succeeded in making me wonder about things out of the camera's eye.
This movie has become my traditional July 4 film because it is the most Britishly British film that I know of. It also happens to be a magnificent one as well.
This is the first colour feature from The Archers (Powell and Pressberger), and even on this first outing, you can already see their magnificent use of colour both as spectacle in and of itself and as a thematic resonance within the film. And so the film remains a feast for the eyes as well as the intellect and the heart as well.
The film concerns the life of Clive Candy over forty years of experience as a soldier (from his early days in the Boer War, to his later…
Almost unbelievable that this was shot in color during WWII - the print restoration (Criterion Blu-Ray) is gorgeous. Have to hand it to the make-up artists - Roger Livesey's aging make-up is fantastic and better than most of the SFX make-up currently in use almost 70 years later.
The story is really an interesting commentary on a certain type of Englishman - the very mannered, blustery, class-bound variety - and how the world changes around him. Livesey is fantastic as Candy with Walbrook as his Prussian/German foil (double? Foil? Theo also being a career military man but forced into a different career much earlier). Deborah Kerr pulls off a triple role - the three women must be a little similar but also different from each other.
(Michael Powell's commentary guessed exactly what I was thinking when he commented that Deborah Kerr is overdressed for a governess. Yep, exactly.)
A list that, if nothing else, proves the day-to-day usefulness of applied statistics.
Between 2015 and 2016, a series of…
All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1177. An easy way of seeing how…