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…
'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…
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)…
The great cinematography and commanding performance from Roger Livesey take the audience on an emotionally poignant journey. This intelligent film is about the changing of times and war and whether or not a English gentleman can stay relevant during the changes.
Ever since The Red Shoes, I've lusted after Powell & Pressburger's indescribable magical goodness. I've resisted the temptation to binge all of their films and instead decided to appreciate them one at a time with huge time gaps in-between to let the "flavour" sink in. Yah know? "Abstinence makes the heart grow fonder" kinda thing. It's been almost exactly 3 months since my last P&P film and boy, did the waiting pay off.
Colonel Blimp is a 3-hour Technicolor spectacle with the aforementioned "magical goodness" of The Archers. Their style is reminiscent of the Lubitsch Touch, both possessing a kind of lightheartedness to it with music as emphasis. I believe the magic is the overlapping of the occasional serious subject matter…
I fear that anything i say about this wonderful movie will undersell just what a beautiful achievement it is as film making, visual storytelling and how to produce excellent propaganda. Absolutely gorgeous work from the producers, wonderful acting that requires the actors to inhabit their characters across decades. beautiful cinematography and production design. an absolute must see
In many of their films, Powell and Pressburger strive to create a British identity on film. Hitchcock had largely filled that role throughout the 1930's, but when he moved to America at the end of the decade, Powell and Pressburger filled the void. Thus, Colonel Blimp tells an immense story of British determination that spans from the Boer War to WWII, and tosses off casual references to Arthur Conan Doyle and Dr. Livingstone. Like America, England is often defined by the people who immigrate there, so it shouldn’t be surprising that one of the progenitors of England’s cinematic identity is Emeric Pressburger (changed from Imre Jozsef Emmerich Pressburger), an assimilated Hungarian Jew. Pressburger was cavalierly dismissed by Roger Ebert as…
Powell and Pressberger's dazzling allegory for the changing nature of war as personified by the man out of time General Clive Candy.
The relationship between Candy and his German counterpart Theo is played smartly and although the film's central satire may not be quite as savage as it must have been in the middle of the second world war it's still interesting.
Of course the truth is that Candy's version of war wasn't anachronistic as just fictional. His journey starts with a trip to Germany to stop them spreading lies about British concentration camp in the second Boer War. It's not that he represents an outdated version of war, he represents an idealised version of it.
Epic yet elegant and sincere filmmaking. As usual, The Archers always deliver.
Finally got around to re-watching this on Bluray, which has stunning picture quality. The film itself is as amazing as ever.
The propaganda aspects, it's sprawling structure and length make this very slightly less to my tastes than A Matter of Life and Death; a comparison made mainly since I watched them both the same day, and their shared propaganda themes. I'm sure this one will grow on me with repeated viewings.
With its lush, thoughtful visual style, gorgeous costuming/styling, droll humor, and touching sentimentality, there is a lot I loved about this film. Deborah Kerr is great in a triple supporting role, and of course Roger Livesey is very enjoyable as the unchangeable protagonist, but it is Anton Walbrook who is the true standout, so much so that I actually wanted the film to focus more on him than Clive Candy. His scene describing his experiences in Germany after WWI is incredibly moving, and his character in general is a far more interesting one than Clive. Although, I loved the focus on their unlikely but unbreakable friendship.
I liked so much about this film but ultimately couldn't lose myself in it…
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