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The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (Powell & Pressburger, UK, 1943)


Pre-Referendum Sunday Matinee

"A wonderful salute to British decency and a touching portrait of a friendship that bridges national boundaries." Alan Morrison, Empire Magazine

Roger Livesey stars as General Clive Wynne-Candy - who we first meet during World War II as a blustering old duffer who seems the epitome of stuffy, outmoded values. Travelling backwards 40 years we see a different man altogether: the young and dashing officer "Sugar" Candy. Through a series of relationships with three women (all played by Deborah Kerr) and his lifelong friendship with a German officer (the brilliant Anton Walbrook), we see Candy's life unfold and come to understand how difficult it is for him to adapt his sense of military honor to modern notions of "total war" against the Nazis.

Intended originally as a piece of war-time propaganda, Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's much-lauded epic Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, actually stirred up impassioned hostilities and indignations among the Brits when released in 1943 due to what was seen as its satire of British traditionalism. It so infuriated Winston Churchill that he tried to have the film suppressed.  

Michael Powell once said of The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp that it is "... a 100% British film but it's photographed by a Frenchman, it's written by a Hungarian, the musical score is by a German Jew, the director was English, the man who did the costumes was a Czech; in other words, it was the kind of film that I've always worked on with a mixed crew of every nationality, no frontiers of any kind."

In other words: perfect pre-Referendum viewing! (In or out? Stay or go? Don't ask us: we just press play (guv))