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  1. #1
    Senior Member Country: United States TimR's Avatar
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    I have been catching up on films recently after a busy time and I am watching this Powell and Pressburger gem again. The plot about the rescue of English bombers in the Netherlands is fairly unusual.

    The first time I watched it i was so engrossed in the story that I didn't take the time to think about the production. Seeing it again makes me realize how extremely well made it is: not a wasted moment, impeccable timing, seamless story and action. And a marvelous cast. There are several actors that I recognize now that I wouldn't have a few years; after a few years of watching British films I knew Godfrey Tearle, Hugh Williams and Bernard Miles among the flyers (I know the faces before I know the names). I had to look twice to realize that really was Robert Helpmann, very effective and convincing as a Dutch version of a Quisling.

    The woman almost steal the film: Pamela Brown, whose part is frustratingly small (that is too often true), Joyce Redman and Googie Withers, who I have rarely seen. All three are very, very good.

    My favorite sequences: the initial meeting between the flyers and Pamela Brown; the church service sequence, which has brilliant cinematography and lighting, with Peter Ustinov as the pastor; the entire sequence towards the end in Googie Withers' house.

    I found the box office returns on the film. It was a great success - here as well.

  2. #2
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    Did you notice ...
    There is no music soundtrack as such. There is some music heard, but only when the people on screen would be hearing music like in the church or playing the records.

    They couldn't actually film it in The Netherlands, not in 1941/42 - the Nazis would have objected. So they filmed it around Boston (the one in Lincolnshire, not the one in Mass.). In days of yore that area used to flood a lot so some Dutch canal builders came over to show the locals how to keep the water at bay by building canals, dykes and windmills. On old maps that area is sometimes shown as "Parts of Holland"

    It is a wonderfully crafted story, thanks Emeric. It's a counterpoint to 49th Parallel. In 49P the Nazis fall apart under pressure but in OOOAIM the plucky Brits coalesce as a team as the pressure mounts.

    I presume that you know that this film led to The LIfe and Death of Colonel Blimp where Sir George tells one of the others that he doesn't know what it's like to be old. As he cut that line, the editor on OOOAIM, who had also edited 49P for them, the young David Lean, suggested that they could make a whole film out of that one line - so they did

    Steve

  3. #3
    Senior Member Country: United States TimR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Crook View Post
    Did you notice ...
    There is no music soundtrack as such. There is some music heard, but only when the people on screen would be hearing music like in the church or playing the records.

    They couldn't actually film it in The Netherlands, not in 1941/42 - the Nazis would have objected. So they filmed it around Boston (the one in Lincolnshire, not the one in Mass.). In days of yore that area used to flood a lot so some Dutch canal builders came over to show the locals how to keep the water at bay by building canals, dykes and windmills. On old maps that area is sometimes shown as "Parts of Holland"

    It is a wonderfully crafted story, thanks Emeric. It's a counterpoint to 49th Parallel. In 49P the Nazis fall apart under pressure but in OOOAIM the plucky Brits coalesce as a team as the pressure mounts.

    I presume that you know that this film led to The LIfe and Death of Colonel Blimp where Sir George tells one of the others that he doesn't know what it's like to be old. As he cut that line, the editor on OOOAIM, who had also edited 49P for them, the young David Lean, suggested that they could make a whole film out of that one line - so they did

    Steve
    Interesting. Thanks.

    That background of silence is unlike anything else I can recall, especially for a film set during the war with a great deal of action covering so much territory. It works extremely well. Yes, the story works beautifully. I didn't know about the connection with The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp; I enjoy seeing the relation of their films to each other, whether in theme or cast.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Country: Australia
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  5. #5
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur Linden-Jones View Post
    That episode of "Dad's Army", "The Lion Has Phones" is one of the many with references to P&P films

    From the References to P&P films in other films & TV shows:

    "The Lion Has Phones (1969) [3.3]"
    The local cinema is showing One of Our Aircraft is Missing (1942) and they mention Eric Portman and Googie Withers. There is a poster for it on display. There is also a poster for next week's film, The Edge of the World (1937) and of course the episode title is almost certainly a reference to The Lion Has Wings (1939).

    "The Big Parade (1970) [4.1]"
    Nicky reports:
    Chanced upon an episode of Dad's Army ('The One with the Sheep') and was amused to see that it began with the Pikes, Wilson, Mainwaring and Jones at the cinema watching The Spy in Black ('I don't believe in Germans being in films; why couldn't they get a British actor?')

    "Put That Light Out (1970) [4.7]"
    Nicky reports:
    Has anyone come across another film/tv/literary reference to a QQ? Anyway, in the episode Put That Light Out which is mostly set in a light-house (I think you can work out the plot for yourselves!), Pike refers to 'The Phantom Light with Gordon Harker'

    "Time on My Hands (1972) [5.13]"
    Nicky reports:
    Picked up a batch of cheapie tapes recently and have another reference for the site. In the episode Time on My Hands (The one with the German airman on the church tower), Pike knows how to release a parachute because he's seen it done in OOOAIM ! However we don't actually see a demonstration, unsurprisingly.

    Other episodes have included mentions of, or references to, P&P films. We are sure that David Croft and/or Jimmy Perry must be fans. Of course the cast includes John Laurie who appeared in 6 films for Michael Powell (2 for P&P).

    e.g. Episode Operation Kilt: The Home Guard is defending against an exercise by the regular Army (Highland Regiment). The regulars try to trick them by starting their attack 1 hour earlier than agreed.
    c.f. Colonel Blimp

    Steve

  6. #6
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Crook View Post
    That episode of "Dad's Army", "The Lion Has Phones" is one of the many with references to P&P films
    That was the episode they showed on BBC2 today. I also liked Avril Angers as the emergency services operator that L/Cpl Jones calls.

    "Well if you don't want the fire, police or ambulance I can't hep you. They're shooting at you? Oh, sorry about that but I only deal with emergencies"

    Steve

  7. #7
    Senior Member Country: Australia lllIIlllIIlllIIl's Avatar
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    Am I imagining it?

    I understand he was playing uncredited bit parts at the time so I wonder if the man standing in a doorway for a second at the 5.42 mark when Godfrey Tearle enters is Stewart Granger.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pWVEauHx5lE

  8. #8
    Senior Member Country: Scotland Gerald Lovell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lllIIlllIIlllIIl View Post
    Am I imagining it?

    I understand he was playing uncredited bit parts at the time so I wonder if the man standing in a doorway for a second at the 5.42 mark when Godfrey Tearle enters is Stewart Granger.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pWVEauHx5lE
    It's Michael Denison, I think.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Country: Japan
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    Also interesting in the film is the sense of solidarity and lack of hierarchy among the British characters, reflecting one of the effects of the war itself. Usually in films of the time (or in the 1930s), the upper-middle class characters were clearly top dog, and the working classes were only there for comic relief or less - not so in this film.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Country: Australia lllIIlllIIlllIIl's Avatar
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    I wish I could make one of those 'screen captures'

  11. #11
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gerald Lovell View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by lllIIlllIIlllIIl View Post
    Am I imagining it?

    I understand he was playing uncredited bit parts at the time so I wonder if the man standing in a doorway for a second at the 5.42 mark when Godfrey Tearle enters is Stewart Granger.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pWVEauHx5lE
    It's Michael Denison, I think.
    It looks a lot more like Michael Denison than Stewart Granger. But it doesn't look much like Michael Denison



    Steve

  12. #12
    Senior Member Country: Europe Bernardo's Avatar
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    It is a bad still. I have just looked at the suggested section which was very brief and I am sure saw Michael Denison.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Country: Australia lllIIlllIIlllIIl's Avatar
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    I wish the actor had something to say so we could identify Denison's voice.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Country: England darrenburnfan's Avatar
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    This is one of the very best of the Powell and Pressburger films, all the more remarkable because it has no music score at a time when just about every film had a music score, sometimes with music all the way through. But, even without music, it certainly holds the attention and the acting, script; production values and direction are all top notch.

    And, no, whoever it is, it ain't Michael Denison.

  15. #15
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    There is a bit of music in the film, but no music score as such. We hear some music when the characters hear music like the organ music in church or when someone puts some music on the record player. So it's all really just "natural" sounds.

    Innovative and unusual, but that's what Powell & Pressburger specialised in

    BTW this film can be regarded as a companion piece to 49th Parallel (1941). Both films have a group of military people stranded in a foreign land, trying to get back home. But whereas in 49P the U-boat crew fall apart under pressure and reject the help they are offered, the bomber crew in OOOAIM bond closer together and accept all the help offered.

    Steve

  16. #16
    Senior Member Country: England darrenburnfan's Avatar
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    Yes, even their final collaboration, 1972's The Boy Who Turned Yellow was innovative and unusual, and how they managed to persuade London Transport to let them paint that tube train yellow is a bit of a mystery.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Country: Scotland Gerald Lovell's Avatar
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    Not so much like Michael Denison now, I'd agree!

  18. #18
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by darrenburnfan View Post
    Yes, even their final collaboration, 1972's The Boy Who Turned Yellow was innovative and unusual, and how they managed to persuade London Transport to let them paint that tube train yellow is a bit of a mystery.
    They were very persuasive. For the aforementioned 49th Parallel they persuaded the Canadian government to give them the run of the country and loads of assistance. For The Battle of the River Plate they persuaded the Royal Navy to let them have the use of 3 cruisers and various other ships and they persuaded the US Navy to let them use one of their battleships. But their best act of persuasion was probably to persuade J Arthur Rank to back them while giving them a totally free hand for a series of feature films

    Steve

  19. #19
    Senior Member Country: United States TimR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Crook View Post
    There is a bit of music in the film, but no music score as such. We hear some music when the characters hear music like the organ music in church or when someone puts some music on the record player. So it's all really just "natural" sounds.

    Innovative and unusual, but that's what Powell & Pressburger specialised in
    Yes, there is a surrounding silence - so unusual. It works very well.

    BTW this film can be regarded as a companion piece to 49th Parallel (1941). Both films have a group of military people stranded in a foreign land, trying to get back home. But whereas in 49P the U-boat crew fall apart under pressure and reject the help they are offered, the bomber crew in OOOAIM bond closer together and accept all the help offered.

    Steve
    I can see that comparison. I'll have to watch that one again. I haven't seen 49th Parallel in twenty five years.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Country: Australia lllIIlllIIlllIIl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gerald Lovell View Post
    ...
    I like this 'screen capture'; it looks as though the unknown officer may originally have had some dialogue.

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