Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger

Scen.: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger; F.: Frederick Ford; M.: Michael C. Chorlton e (non accr.) John Seabourne; Scgf.: Alfred Junge; Mu.: Allan Gray; Su.: Desmond Dew; Int.: Ralph Richardson (se stesso), Pat McGrath (Fred Davey), Laurence Olivier (se stesso), Michael Powell (fotografo), Charles de Gaulle (se stesso), Anna Neagle, Herbert Wilcox, Tommy Woodrooffe, Joan Richardson; Prod.: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger per The Archers; 35mm. D.: 24’.

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

Unjustly neglected because it was a recruiting film for the navy’s air branch, the Fleet Air Arm, this short from the Archers’ hectic year of 1943 is packed with personal allusions and bold anticipations of later Powell-Pressburger work. Ralph Richardson, the greatest English stage actor of the era, appears as Othello, a film actor at Denham studio (with appearances by many stars of the time, including Anna Neagle and Olivier), and as himself, having actually served as a navy pilot. His dresser, Fred, stands ‘at the end of one world and the beginning of another’, like so many Archers’ protagonists. Within this deceptively casual form – and the film apparently succeeded in boosting recruitment – we find their recurrent theme of how the war has opened new horizons for many and the metaphor of playing a part on life’s stage (or screen). Also included is one of Powell’s cameo appearances, as a photographer outside Buckingham Palace!

Ian Christie

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