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…
The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp - 10/10
Is it a masterpiece that holds up to their most acclaimed work, "The Red Shoes"?
Well, Powell and Pressburger did it again, they created at least two masterpieces, and according to some, there's still two others (A Matter of Life and Death, Black Narcissus).
I can say I liked this film perhaps even more than their "The Red Shoes" which should be acclaim enough. The same witty hilarious humor is as ever present here as it was there, and it gives us a sublime portrait of an aging man that is something of pure poetry and greatness.
It's a forlorn film on the changing means of war, in which…
Not my favourite Powell/Pressburger film but still, its P&P so you can't go wrong. Roger Livesey!! One of the most enjoyable figures to watch on film...ever. There's a bit of Brit jingoism going on but it was made during WW2 and the Brits were facing the brutal threat of Nazism. There is also a theme of the arrogance of youth against the wisdom and experience of the elderly in The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp. Clive Candy's life is signposted by military campaigns and his life is designed according to the workings of the British empire and conquest. Great film.
Perfection. I implore everyone to not neglect Powell and Pressburger films like I did for so long. The Red Shoes and now Colonel Blimp are permanent favourites of mine.
Always fun to watch blustery colonial stiff upper lip types get taken down a peg, and this film gives it all an intriguing backstory, even if at times it plays a bit like a very special episode of Dad’s Army,
Using the same conceit as Lawrence of Arabia and Citizen Kane of starting at the end of a life and showing how we got there, Blimp had me from the start. The acting was fantastic. Particularly, the scene before the duel really stood out as a magical moment. I love these early technicolor films. Even now after seeing a thousand movies in color, when you go back and watch one of the originals you can tell how special it was for film to be recorded and displayed in this way.
A true filmspotting discovery. What a joy of the film. Full of hope, truth, and optimism.
Definitely can get down with something that's critical of British-ness (though I think it treats the "old chaps" with kids gloves) but also has something tender to say about the inseparability of friendship and country (which is a frame of mind), clearly a reflection of the working relationship of P&P. Ultimately, though, I'm not in the masterpiece camp, mostly because I find the way that it idiosyncratically unspools to be equal parts fascinating and ineffective. On the one hand, I love some of its deviations in war-torn drama - e.g. how those romances never materialize on-screen threw me off in a good way - but on the other, the film never gripped me on a basic, dramatic level, which I…
There is a small selection of ambitious films known to the public, and very few of those films exceed their own expectations - The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp is surely the greatest of those films.
Following the highlights of Major General Clive Wynne-Candy through his military career from the Boer War to the twilight of World War Two, Powell & Pressburger feature their signature aesthetic within a realistic script which covers every crisis which can befall a man. What is the meaning of life? Is it love? Is it duty? Is it growth? Powell and Pressburger give us clues through General Candy, but leave some ambiguities for the viewers. Consistently gorgeous, scriptually striking and thematically huge, The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp is one of the greatest films of all time.
"If you let yourself be defeated by them, just because you are too fair to hit back the same way they hit at you, there won't be any methods *but* Nazi methods!"
This is Criterion's best transfer yet. The Technicolor is beautifully matched with stunning makeup and an even better performance from Roger Livesey.