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February 23, 2024, 12:45:12 PM

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Powell & Pressburger

Started by lauraxsynthesis, February 10, 2023, 10:55:17 AM

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lauraxsynthesis

This awesome fan edit got posted on a P&P FB group yesterday
https://www.facebook.com/groups/151541771615779/permalink/5138737266229513/

Doorways, eyes, silhouettes...Dirk Bogarde smirking.

My top 3 are A Canterbury Tale, A Matter of Life and Death and I Know Where I'm Going. In no particular order - my favourite tends to be the last one I saw.

Back in October I went on the IKWIG weekend on Mull. It's next happening in 2025 for the 80th anniversary and I recommend it for any other P&P nerds. . http://www.ikwig.co.uk/


sevendaughters

Do they screen anything else at IKWIG?

Incredible duo really, such a wealth of great and authentically weird shit to be perfectly honest. Tory propagandists at heart and yet riven with psychosexual weirdness and playfulness and mordancy. It is strange to me that they are critically similar to Lean as British greats of the 40s/50s, they don't really seem to have the wider appeal.

My favourites are probably Matter of Life and Death, Black Narcissus, and A Canterbury Tale - but if someone says Blimp, Gone to Earth, and the Red Shoes then I'd accept it.

Not seen enough Powell solo - Peeping Tom still creeps me out.

El Unicornio, mang

Amazing duo. And credit has to be given to Scorsese for getting their names to a wider audience and helping with the amazing restorations. Beautiful use of colour and framing, unorthodox editing techniques and themes.

Hard to pick a favourite but The Red Shoes, Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, A Matter of Life and Death and Black Narcissus would be my top 4 in no particular order

Kathleen Byron incredible in the latter. Doesn't look like a film made in 1947 at times.


Glebe

Ashamed to say I've only ever seen bits of their films. Recall being impressed by the ghostly ping pong ball in A Matter of Life and Death, excellent SFX for the time.

Small Man Big Horse

I can't choose a top 3, as the following are all films I loved enormously:
A Matter of Life and Death (1946)
Black Narcissus (1947)
The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943)
The Red Shoes (1948)

On a different day I might have put them in a different order too, in fact having The Red Shoes in fourth place seems wrong. right now.

dead-ced-dead

They're wonderful, and I love how they cast Roger Livesy and Anton Walbrook. Walbrook's monologue in Colonel Blimp... haunting.

daf

Not one I'd heard of before Talking Pictures TV gave it a spin a year or two ago, but The Small Back Room (1949) has become one of my favourites -

QuoteHobbled by the pain of a metal prosthetic leg (the source of his disability is never revealed), Sammy habitually retreats to where the camera first finds him (after a pan of his empty flat, unanswered phone ringing)—self-medicating at the local pub until he's fished out by Susan for a late-night consultation. An army captain (Michael Gough) enlists him in the effort to analyze booby-trapped bombs the Germans have been dropping over England; after several reels of Sammy ranting at bureaucrats, telling Susan he's no good for her (with typical Archer hero aplomb: "You've got it all worked out in the way women always have. They don't worry about anything except being alive or dead"), and grimly sweating through temptation and binges (in one Daliesque montage, with a giant whisky bottle filling his room), it's inevitable that when the call comes to defuse one of the explosives, he's soused, and that the device he'll have to defuse (in a cunningly nerve-pricking climax) is shaped something like a decanter.
https://www.slantmagazine.com/film/the-small-back-room/



Think I'm slightly in love with Kathleen Byron!

El Unicornio, mang

Oh yeah



I didn't realise until recently that she's the wife of elderly Ryan at the beginning of Saving Private Ryan.

Perfect eyes for playing unhinged in Black Narcissus


lauraxsynthesis

Quote from: sevendaughters on February 10, 2023, 11:47:05 AMDo they screen anything else at IKWIG?

The programme does change each time. Last year we did this:
- Friday evening video link Q&A with Petula Clarke - the only living cast member! 
- Friday night video link Q&A with Thelma Schoonmaker and the Scottish film producer Andrew Macdonald who is Pressburger's grandson.

Thelma's planning to come to the 2025 one in person. I might ask her about Goncharov lol.

- Saturday morning was a tour of Mull including places that were in the film and places recreated in the studio. We went into Moy Castle which was pretty ace.
- Saturday evening we visited Duart Castle, which was where the Robinsons lived in the film. We got an IKWIG screening there.
- Saturday night was a quiz on all the P&P films 


Feralkid

I love Powell & Pressburger and think Colonel Blimp is probably the best British film ever made. It's certainly my favourite P&P film. I did recently splurge on the French Blu-ray of I Know Where I'm Going and am looking forward to watching it again. It's a step-up from the DVD, but still not a perfect print - there are tramlines and scratches at the reel changes. Alas, a restoration is probably too much to hope for.   

notjosh

Absolutely adore Black Narcissus - the masterful pacing from stoic nuns having dry chats about allotment logistics in the opening to complete sweat-soaked hysteria in the final third is so beautifully done. Not to mention stunning Technicolor and some loverley dialogue:

QuoteEver since we came here, over all our troubles, it's been, 'Ask Mr. Dean. Ask Mr. Dean.' There was just no one else you could ask. But I had to take the young general. I couldn't turn out the holy man. I couldn't stop the wind from blowing and the air from being as clear as crystal and I couldn't hide the mountain.

Haven't felt the same about any of their other films yet, but still a couple of big ones I haven't seen. A Canterbury Tale is next on my list, and I'm hoping to catch The Red Shoes in the cinema at some point.

Not a classsic by any means, but I do remember really enjoying the final scene of The 49th Parallel.

I've just watched A Matter of Life and Death. Whilst, I found a lot to enjoy about it, I found the philosophising far too contrived to actually land in the way it seemed like it was trying to. I feel like I've somehow missed something. The dreamlike feel of the film is captivating, and the casting works really well. But, perhaps my enjoyment is stymied by the filmmaking style of the era. Apparently, the era is a crucial part of it's message, so perhaps it had a different impact to an audience who'd just lived through the war.

El Unicornio, mang

Hilarious bit in that film when David Niven is asked his age and replies "27".

I watched I Know Where I'm Going recently. Pretty good but agree that it's really in need of a restoration.

Bad Ambassador

Quote from: El Unicornio, mang on February 28, 2023, 10:34:15 AMHilarious bit in that film when David Niven is asked his age and replies "27".

He was actually only 35.

Feralkid

Quote from: Bad Ambassador on February 28, 2023, 10:38:53 AMHe was actually only 35.

Look, the whole scene is basically Tinder decades before the fact. He's certain he'll not get called on it, so knocks a few years off his age to increase his chances with the younger American woman he's sure he'll never meet. 

Mobbd

Haven't seen nearly enough of these. Matter of Life and Death is the only one I really remember seeing. I saw Peeping Tom too and really enjoyed it.

Hoo baby, I feel a season coming on. Will start with OP Laura's faves.

zomgmouse

recalled powell's solo 60s australian effort they're a weird mob the other day. anyone else seen it? seems almost but not entirely out of character from the man who brought us peeping tom. but i suppose enough of that sweet character study that defines some of their other work

famethrowa

Quote from: zomgmouse on March 05, 2023, 11:40:14 PMrecalled powell's solo 60s australian effort they're a weird mob the other day. anyone else seen it? seems almost but not entirely out of character from the man who brought us peeping tom. but i suppose enough of that sweet character study that defines some of their other work

I love it, and I'm sure it needed a safe pair of hands behind the camera, it could have all gone very wrong (the hilarious misadventures of a "migrant" in ocker, beer-swilling 60s Sydney). But the characters are strong, the humour is gentle and there's no bad guys, all quite positive. Plus fun to see a city and a culture that doesn't really exist anymore.

sevendaughters

just perusing through the Sight and Sound individual lists and one of my colleagues was given a vote and she picked a P&P so I will go and badger her when I see her next.

gilbertharding

Votes for all the usual ones, but the one I watch most often is probably The Battle of the River Plate (1956) which is on the face of it quite a standard war film, but must be one of the first ones to show a German officer as a somewhat honorable man - even if that carries its own problems.

Perhaps I'm just a sucker for those big grey ships. My Grandad was a Royal Naval Reserve officer in WW2, so there's that too.

zomgmouse

Quote from: famethrowa on March 06, 2023, 04:58:39 AMI love it, and I'm sure it needed a safe pair of hands behind the camera, it could have all gone very wrong (the hilarious misadventures of a "migrant" in ocker, beer-swilling 60s Sydney). But the characters are strong, the humour is gentle and there's no bad guys, all quite positive. Plus fun to see a city and a culture that doesn't really exist anymore.

yes i thought so too (though at times perhaps overly caricaturistic in a way that wouldn't be such cause for pause if it weren't written by non-italians)

Mobbd

A Pressburger in Europe is called a Royale with Cheese anyway.

Bernice

I loved A Matter of Life and Death as a kid but it didn't really hit as well on a recent rewatch. Still some brilliant stuff in it but the ending was marred by the overbearing message of UK/US co-operation which seemed to overshadow the sweetly naive universal humanism of the rest.

Still, it's got the dreaminess, the switching in and out of colour, Marius Goring's hammy French fop. Most of all, I love that opening scene with Niven going down on the plane, being all stiff upper lip on the radio. "I love you June – you're life and I'm leaving you!"

On the same day, I watched The Red Shoes for the first time and was blown away by it. Looked incredible, had a nice epic sweep and, fuck me, that central ballet sequence has to be one of the greatest bits of cinema ever, right?   Watched it with my mouth agape, had to pause the movie straight after so me and my girlfriend could gush about how good it was.

The others are on my list, still need to watch Peeping Tom and all.

Mister Six

Peeping Tom is brilliant.

I really need to fill in the massive gaps in my Powell & Pressburger viewing. @Bernice has sold me on The Red Shoes, that's for sure!

Mobbd

Quote from: Mister Six on March 08, 2023, 04:03:46 PMPeeping Tom is brilliant.

I really need to fill in the massive gaps in my Powell & Pressburger viewing. @Bernice has sold me on The Red Shoes, that's for sure!

Same. I've got it lined up. Thanks Bernice! Thanice.

Bernice

Oof, hope I haven't built it up too much now!

zomgmouse

i can never not build that film up. it is life itself

lauraxsynthesis

Major UK-wide P&P project with screenings, books, looks at the archive etc
https://www.bfi.org.uk/news/cinema-unbound-creative-worlds-powell-pressburger

Gonna be lit!

Bernice

Bumping this thread to say I saw Colonel Blimp for the first time in the BFI at the weekend - what an odd fucking movie.

I really didn't have much of an idea of what to expect going in so it took me a while to settle in and adjust to the imperial nostalgia (critique of imperial nostalgia?) that kicks off the start of the flashback sequence. I was buying into it by the time the duel comes around and they have the camera just lazily drift up and away from the action after this painstakingly specific build up. Mad bastards! Brilliant!

The 3 main performances being unequivocally brilliant, but I don't know if their particular blend of English, right-o chappery and romantic expressionism ever yielded a more a politically confusing film. And then how that politics relates to those themes of lost innocence and nostalgia, but how that nostalgia isn't necessarily a statement that Things Were Better... I dunno, it sort of threw me. Which isn't necessarily a criticism, it's just taking a while for my thoughts to settle.

Those 3 central performances though! Absolutely incredible.

daf

It's a great film - there's a short documentary on the blu ray (ported over from the old DVD) presented by Stephen Fry which may help out on unpicking the threads and put it in the context of the time it was made (Churchill hated it, the big wally!)

(Really should get round to replacing my DVD with the Blu Ray - I see it's currently only £5.99!)