Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Retrospective: 5 Powell & Pressburger Films


I Know Where I’m Going (1945/UK)   **

A determined girl travelling to the Hebrides to marry a wealthy old man, marries a naval officer instead.
A strange assembling of Powell and Pressburger elements and British rudiments of the time that proved subtly influential in parts; as a whole it remains a puzzle.
 
wd – Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
ph – Erwin Hiller
pd – Alfred Junge
m – Allan Gray
ed – John Seabourne

p – Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger

Cast: Wendy Hiller, Roger Livesey, Pamela Brown, Finlay Curris, George Carney, Nancy Price, Catherine Lacey, John Laurie



A Matter of Life and Death (1946/UK)   ****

A brain-damaged pilot is torn between this world and the next after he bails out of a plane.
An absolutely outrageous and mammoth undertaking which, with its haughtiness, style, wit and flair, cemented Powell and Pressburger’s hallmark on all fantasy films. It is profound and hilarious in equally heavy doses.
 
wd – Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
ph – Jack Cardiff
pd – Alfred Junge
m – Allan Gray
ed – Reginald Mills

p – Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger

Cast: David Niven, Roger Livesey, Raymond Massey, Kim Hunter, Marius Goring, Abraham Sofaer, Robert Coote, Joan Maude, Kathleen Byron, Bonar Colleano, Richard Attenborough



Black Narcissus (1947/UK)   ***

Five Anglo-Catholic nuns take over a harem in the Himalayas and turn it into a convent school.
An episodic and modest tale directed with sheer cinematic beauty, both visually and emotionally.
 
wd – Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger   (Based on the Novel by Rumer Godden)
ph – Jack Cardiff
pd – Alfred Junge
m – Brian Easdale
ed – Reginald Mills
cos – Hein Heckroth

p – Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger

Cast: Deborah Kerr, David Farrar, Sabu, Flora Robson, Kathleen Byron, Jean Simmons, Esmond Knight, Jenny Laird, Judith Furse


 
The Red Shoes (1948/UK)   ****

Tragic consequences ensue when a young a ballerina becomes a star and is forced to choose between love and her career.
A masterful backstage drama and a graceful paean to the artist’s plight combine to make one of the most beautiful of all films. From its rather simple story, the filmmakers produce exciting characters, splendorous visuals, exceptional performances and an impeccable ballet.
 
wd – Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
ph – Jack Cardiff
pd – Hein Heckroth, Arthur Lawson
m – Brian Easdale
ed – Reginald Mills
cos – Hein Heckroth

p – Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger

Cast: Anton Walbrook, Moira Shearer, Marius Goring, Robert Helpmann, Albert Basserman, Frederick Ashton, Leonide Massine, Ludmilla Tcherina, Esmond Knight

 
The Battle of the River Plate (1956/UK)   *

In 1939, the German pocket battleship “Graf Spee” is trapped in Montevideo Harhour.
Confusing, dull, patchy and all-around disappointing studio-bound war epic from this incandescent pair. It’s mostly notable for its sympathetic view of a German commander.
 
wd – Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
ph – Christopher Challis
pd – Arthur Lawson
m – Brian Easdale
ed – Reginald Mills

p – Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger

Cast: John Gregson, Anthony Quayle, Peter Finch, Bernard Lee, Ian Hunter, Jack Gwillim, Lionel Murton, Anthony Bushell, Peter Illing


 

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