The Life And Death Of Colonel Blimp

Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger

T. it.: Duello a Berlino. Scen.: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger. F.: Georges Périnal. Mo.: John Seabourne. Scgf.: Alfred Junge. Mu.: Allan Gray. Su.: Desmond Dew, C.C. Stevens. Int.: Roger Livesey (Clive Candy), Anton Walbrook (Theo Kretschmar-Schuldorff), Deborah Kerr (Edith Hunter/Barbara Wynne/ Angela Cannon), Roland Culver (colonnello Betterige), James McKechnie (Spud Wilson), Albert Lieven (von Ritter), Arthur Wontner (consigliere), David Hutcheson (Hoppy), Ursula Jeans (Frau von Kalteneck), John Laurie (Murdoch), Harry Welchman (maggiore Davies), Reginald Tate (van Zijl). Prod: Archers Films Production. Pri. pro: 10 giugno 1943 DCP. D.: 164’. 

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

No other director has had such an influence on me as Michael Powell. During my childhood in the 50s and 60s, there was no possibility of seeing his films at the movie theater. The only one we could see in its entirety and in colour in the cinema was The Red Shoes. The others were shown on television in black and white, cut up and mutilated. I saw The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp one afternoon after school. The film blew me away. Never before had I seen anything like it. This incredibly intense, flamboyant, expressionistic Technicolor! Watching it, I wasn't initially aware of the political context of the film at all: in 1942, at a time when the Germans were bombing England, he movingly tells the story of the friendship between a British lieutenant and a German officer. I was completely spellbound by the drama, the deep humanity of the film. And the great love story. With a single actress playing all three female characters: Deborah Kerr. Later, when I was studying film in New York, my friends and I were crazy about Powell's films. But about their creators, the producer Emeric Pressburger and the director Michael Powell, there was absolutely nothing known. There were no books, no articles, nothing. In 1974 I saw The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp for the first time in colour but the order of the scenes had been re-edited, and about forty minutes were missing. Back then, I began looking for copies of the film to restore it to its original form. Only in the mid-80s could we start with the recreation, but back then still without the original negative and without the original colors. Now, after thirty years, we've managed to do it. It may be the longest restoration in cinematic history. My new film Hugo Cabret tells of the rediscovery of film pioneer Georges Méliès. Thanks to a little boy, Méliès, who runs a toy store at Montparnasse station, is made brought back into the public eye and receives his proper place in film history. Only when Hugo Cabret was finished did I realize that it figuratively also tells the story of Powell and me. And it's obvious that all my characters are influenced by Powell's heroes. They too are anti-heroes, broken people driven by conflicts. I'm impressed by how much audacity and eagerness to experiment his cinema has: his screenplays that leave room for ambiguities. His sophisticated, forceful use of music!
(Martin Scorsese)

Copy From

Restored by the Academy Film Archive in association with the BFI, ITV Studios Global Entertainment Ltd., and The Film Foundation. Restoration funding provided by The Material World Charitable Foundation, the Louis B. Mayer Foundation, Cinema per Roma Foundation, and The Film Foundation. Digital Picture Restoration: Reliance Media Works. Colour by: Warner Bros. Motion Picture Imaging (MPI). Colorist: Ray Grabowski. 4K Scans: Point 360. Digital Audio Restoration: Audio Mechanics. Technical Consultants: Michael Pogorzelski & Schawn Belston. Restoration consultants: Martin Scorsese & Thelma Schoonmaker Powell