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  1. #81
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    " It's a shame that this film is still quite difficult for many people to see. But we do keep hearing about a planned region 1 DVD "

    Take heart, North Americans. We can hope that Criterion will follow their recent 49TH PARALLEL and new THIEF OF BAGHDAD with AMOLAD. Criterion has released much of the PnP catalogue with excellent DVDs.



    In the meantime, the inexpensive Carlton AMOLAD is just fine for those of us with region-free players.
    Criterion don't have the rights to it, they can't make a DVD.



    Columbia Tristar have the rights to it and announced that they were going to release a Region 1 DVD of it in April 2003. We're still waiting.



    Thelma Schoonmaker has said it is still definitely planned, but is waiting for Scorsese to do the commentary. No hint of a release date as yet.



    BTW Criterion's next release of a P&P film will be The Small Back Room



    Steve

  2. #82
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    Thelma Schoonmaker has said it is still definitely planned, but is waiting for Scorsese to do the commentary. No hint of a release date as yet.



    Steve
    So were waiting on the little fella huh?



    I'm wondering if the restoration is actually gong to be a proper one unlike the Criterion 'Thief of Baghdad' recently released DVD which looked nearly the same as the MGM one. In fact I think the earlier MGM DVD looked a bit more lurid which I associate with how Technicolor should look .



    Simon

  3. #83
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    I'm wondering if the restoration is actually gong to be a proper one unlike the Criterion 'Thief of Baghdad' recently released DVD which looked nearly the same as the MGM one. In fact I think the earlier MGM DVD looked a bit more lurid which I associate with how Technicolor should look .



    Simon
    The Criterion DVD of The Thief of Bagdad was from a new print created just for Criterion. But the MGM one was from a new print created just for MGM so there's not a lot of difference between them. Maybe slight differences in how they were printed and digitised.



    With many of the old Powell & Pressburger films they've now got fully restored negatives so can strike off a new print whenever anyone wants one. It being a new print is nice, but it's not all that special. Not like a full restoration creating a new negative (or interneg)



    Steve

  4. #84
    Senior Member Country: UK Moor Larkin's Avatar
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    That is one of the most profoundly and deeply insulting examples of anti-Americanism I have ever heard - and you intended it that way. You are no fool. But you see: neither am I.



    It is also, by the way, just about the most ignoble and ungentlemanly thing it is possible to say in the circumstances, so you might want to take a look at yourself.



    It is time for me to leave this place for another long break. No need to show me to the door.
    Oh bugger. Trust me to take a few days off at just the wrong time.......



    I was imagining that the young British soldiers who ignored Blimp's preposterous rules were exemplars of a new culture that rejected the buffoonery of fighting wars as a gentleman's game. If I was trying to imply anything it was that they looked to an imagined American way of individual initiatives seeking as quick a resolution as possible, as the proper way of doing things, rather than doddering old colonels blustering over the Port and telling their boys to wait for the whistle.



    Given the real-time environment the film was being made in, I would see that as a logical idea. Who else could we look to for our example? The Nazis? We could not do it their way, could we.



    Steve Crook may well be right that Britain merely needed to make its own internalised changes, without reference to any other nation or Army Culture and that The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp , unlike A Matter of Life and Death, has nothing to do with America or Americans at all.



    Don't let a fool like me make you leave the room.




  5. #85
    Senior Member Country: United States TimR's Avatar
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    Oh bugger. Trust me to take a few days off at just the wrong time.......

    I was imagining that the young British soldiers who ignored Blimp's preposterous rules were exemplars of a new culture that rejected the buffoonery of fighting wars as a gentleman's game. If I was trying to imply anything it was that they looked to an imagined American way of individual initiatives seeking as quick a resolution as possible, as the proper way of doing things, rather than doddering old colonels blustering over the Port and telling their boys to wait for the whistle.

    Given the real-time environment the film was being made in, I would see that as a logical idea. Who else could we look to for our example? The Nazis? We could not do it their way, could we.



    Steve Crook may well be right that Britain merely needed to make its own internalised changes, without reference to any other nation or Army Culture and that The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp , unlike A Matter of Life and Death, has nothing to do with America or Americans at all.



    Don't let a fool like me make you leave the room.



    Thanks for responding. I think I have a better understanding of what happened.



    I would agree that we - Americans - would emphasize an individualistic, pragmatic and efficient approach. But the soldiers at the beginning of Blimp were cowardly cheats who humiliated and mocked an elderly man who they should have respected.



    I know all too well how many times we have not behaved according to principle and I am ashamed of it. But certainly at that time, allegiance to principle and a moral code were a part of the pragmatism followed by the majority of Americans serving during WWII, just as it was for the Brits.



    I would disagree that Blimp was preposterous. He may have been a foolish old man in some ways, but his principles and code of conduct were not. I admire them and try to live by them.



    I am glad there is peace between us.



    And you are not a fool. If you were, I would not have paid any attention to what you said.

  6. #86
    Senior Member Country: United States TimR's Avatar
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    The expression often used to describe American servicemen at the time was "Overpaid, over-sexed and over here". This was prevalent from about the time they started arriving in large numbers for the build up to D-Day in about 1944.

    Remember that by that time the British people had been at war for 5 years. Their homes had been bombed killing many of their friends and relations, they were on a strict food ration and hadn't had many luxury good for years. Most of their young men, their sons, brothers and fathers had been abroad fighting, getting captured, wounded or killed, in North Africa and the Far East or they had been on convoy duty bringing in the few supplies that did make it here.



    Then the Americans turn up. They are better paid and better dressed than British servicemen. They have access to all sorts of luxuries that haven't been seen for years like chocolate, nylons and even simple things like chewing gum and fruit. They turn up at local dances and bring their new music with them, jazz, big band music, and the new dances that go with them. Of course they are going to appear glamorous to the young ladies and the British people, in uniform or not, aren't going to get a look in. It's no wonder that there was a lot of ill-feeling.



    Steve
    Ill-feeling towards them for coming when they did and ill-feeling for them for not coming sooner.



    The build-up to D-Day was in 1944. US troops left stateside for Europe and Asia before the end of 1941.



    And in addition to the new uniforms and the jazz and the dances and the glamor and the cash, there is also the fact that tens of thousands of those men - and women - didn't come home, and are buried in graves thousands of miles away from the US, often alongside English and Scots and Welsh and Canadians. Or they came home broken in body or mind.



    It seems to me that ill-feeling could not have been the only response on the part of the people of Britain. My experience of them is that they are far more generous than that.

  7. #87
    Senior Member Country: United States TimR's Avatar
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    I also think Peter is just as symbolic as June.

    Peter could easily be seen as representing Britain's struggle - he's on the verge of death which could be seen as the later part of the war when Britain was indeed actually in the decline, described as uncommon - this could easily be translated as Britain being part of Europe but being separated from the whole, the chess could be translated as the war itself with June nonplussed interest being America's standoffishness and then you have the book room that Peter wants to be around which could easily stand for Britain's history and importance in the literary world.



    Simon
    I watched it again last week, and fell completely under the spell of the master magicians Powell and Pressuburger.



    I do see what you're saying with the Britain/US theme. It really is everywhere. I didn't catch it the first time.



    I could have done without Raymond Massey's eye-rolling, nostril-flaring, righteous scoundrel. Surely the Americans might have come up with someone better than that to counter Roger Livesey, one of the most intelligent and sympathetic of actors. But otherwise, I greatly enjoyed it.

  8. #88
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    Oh bugger. Trust me to take a few days off at just the wrong time.......

    I was imagining that the young British soldiers who ignored Blimp's preposterous rules were exemplars of a new culture that rejected the buffoonery of fighting wars as a gentleman's game. If I was trying to imply anything it was that they looked to an imagined American way of individual initiatives seeking as quick a resolution as possible, as the proper way of doing things, rather than doddering old colonels blustering over the Port and telling their boys to wait for the whistle.



    Given the real-time environment the film was being made in, I would see that as a logical idea. Who else could we look to for our example? The Nazis? We could not do it their way, could we.



    Steve Crook may well be right that Britain merely needed to make its own internalised changes, without reference to any other nation or Army Culture and that The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp , unlike A Matter of Life and Death, has nothing to do with America or Americans at all.



    Don't let a fool like me make you leave the room.



    I thought Theo (Walbrook) made it clear in his second big speech, the one after Clive's broadcast is cancelled.



    Clive: I often thought, a fellow like me dies - special knowledge, all to waste. Well, am I dead? Does my knowledge count for nothing, eh? Experience? Skill? You tell me!

    Theo: It is a different knowledge they need now, Clive. The enemy is different, so you have to be different, too.

    Clive: Are you mad? I know what war is!

    Theo: I don't agree.

    Clive: You...!

    Theo: I read your broadcast up to the point where you describe the collapse of France. You commented on Nazi methods--foul fighting, bombing refugees, machine-gunning hospitals, lifeboats, lightships, bailed-out pilots--by saying that you despised them, that you would be ashamed to fight on their side and that you would sooner accept defeat than victory if it could only be won by those methods.

    Clive: So I would!

    Theo: Clive! If you let yourself be defeated by them, just because you are too fair to hit back the same way they hit at you, there won't be any methods but Nazi methods! If you preach the Rules of the Game while they use every foul and filthy trick against you, they will laugh at you! They'll think you're weak, decadent! I thought so myself in 1919!

    Theo: [he pats Clive's shoulder] You mustn't mind me, an old alien, saying all this. But who can describe hydrophobia better than one who has been bitten - and is now immune.



    Clive: I heard all that in the last war! They fought foul then - and who won it?

    Theo: I don't think you won it. We lost it -but you lost something, too. You forgot to learn the moral. Because victory was yours, you failed to learn your lesson twenty years ago and now you have to pay the school fees again. Some of you will learn quicker than the others, some of you will never learn it - because you've been educated to be a gentleman and a sportsman, in peace and in war. But Clive! [tenderly] Dear old Clive - this is not a gentleman's war. This time you're fighting for your very existence against the most devilish idea ever created by a human brain - Nazism. And if you lose, there won't be a return match next year... perhaps not even for a hundred years.





    Then Clive goes out and forms the Home Guard (or helps out with it). But it still needs Spud and his platoon to show him what modern warfare is all about.





    In reality, Churchill already knew this and had formed the Commando units, Paras and other special forces - and SOE.



    The Paras were formed after the German parachute troops attacked and took over Crete. They lost so many men that Hitler decided to never use them again. But Churchill decided that it was worth the losses. So yes, we did do it the Nazi way. Or rather, we learnt from their way of doing it and improved our own methods.



    Spud's platoon was part of the regular army, but that was the way they were being trained by then. It was just the generals that needed to catch up



    Steve

  9. #89
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    Ill-feeling towards them for coming when they did and ill-feeling for them for not coming sooner.

    The build-up to D-Day was in 1944. US troops left stateside for Europe and Asia before the end of 1941.

    And in addition to the new uniforms and the jazz and the dances and the glamor and the cash, there is also the fact that tens of thousands of those men - and women - didn't come home, and are buried in graves thousands of miles away from the US, often alongside English and Scots and Welsh and Canadians. Or they came home broken in body or mind.



    It seems to me that ill-feeling could not have been the only response on the part of the people of Britain. My experience of them is that they are far more generous than that.
    It wasn't the only response by any means. Of course most people were grateful for them coming and what they did and were fully aware of the sacrifices made. But there was a murmuring undercurrent from some people and that's what the government asked P&P to address.



    Steve

  10. #90
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    I would like to know if there is a place to contact regarding the region 1 DVD release. I would be happy to start writing whoever is sitting on their hands.
    Well Columbia are the ones with the rights to it. They're now a Sony company.



    But really we're waiting for Mr Scorsese to do that commentary.

    I mention it to Thelma Schoonmaker every time I see her

    And she does assure me that he wants to do it and will do it as soon as he gets time. It's not a case of anyone sitting on their hands but Marty & Thelma are incredibly busy people. not only with the films they make but also with things like the foundation that Marty set up to preserve and restore old films.



    Steve

  11. #91
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    "Home Was Never Like This!"

    "Mine Was"
    Isn't that just perfect?



    And the normally chatty Bonar Colleano knows he can't add anything so he just stands there for a moment in silence.



    Steve

  12. #92
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    I watched it again last week, and fell completely under the spell of the master magicians Powell and Pressuburger.

    I do see what you're saying with the Britain/US theme. It really is everywhere. I didn't catch it the first time.

    I could have done without Raymond Massey's eye-rolling, nostril-flaring, righteous scoundrel. Surely the Americans might have come up with someone better than that to counter Roger Livesey, one of the most intelligent and sympathetic of actors. But otherwise, I greatly enjoyed it.
    How could you not fall under their spell?



    It does vary with different tastes of course but for me this is just the perfect film. It's got so much in it, romance, philosophy, poetry, history, intelligence, contemplation of life, death and eternity, romance, drama, peril, humour, self-awareness, willingness to fight for and sacrifice for a loved one, and did I mention romance?



    Add to all of that the daring of tackling such a subject at such a time, the beautiful way it is filmed, the ideal casting - yes, even Ray Massey. I like the way he starts off being so fierce but he's come round to be on Peter & June's side by the end. When he warns Doc Reeves to take care he is concerned for their safety.



    Every time I see it, and I've seen it a lot, it has me in tears. It just hits all the right buttons for me and the tears are just the emotion welling up uncontrollably.



    Steve







    "She is a nice girl"

  13. #93
    Senior Member Country: United States TimR's Avatar
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    Well Columbia are the ones with the rights to it. They're now a Sony company.



    But really we're waiting for Mr Scorsese to do that commentary.

    I mention it to Thelma Schoonmaker every time I see her

    And she does assure me that he wants to do it and will do it as soon as he gets time. It's not a case of anyone sitting on their hands but Marty & Thelma are incredibly busy people. not only with the films they make but also with things like the foundation that Marty set up to preserve and restore old films.



    Steve
    Martin Scorsese and Thelma Schoonmaker are two people I admire and respect - as film makers and for their extraordinary work with P&P films.



    I didn't know that was the reason.

  14. #94
    Senior Member Country: United States TimR's Avatar
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    How could you not fall under their spell?

    It does vary with different tastes of course but for me this is just the perfect film. It's got so much in it, romance, philosophy, poetry, history, intelligence, contemplation of life, death and eternity, romance, drama, peril, humour, self-awareness, willingness to fight for and sacrifice for a loved one, and did I mention romance?

    Add to all of that the daring of tackling such a subject at such a time, the beautiful way it is filmed, the ideal casting - yes, even Ray Massey. I like the way he starts off being so fierce but he's come round to be on Peter & June's side by the end. When he warns Doc Reeves to take care he is concerned for their safety.



    Every time I see it, and I've seen it a lot, it has me in tears. It just hits all the right buttons for me and the tears are just the emotion welling up uncontrollably.



    Steve







    "She is a nice girl"
    Yes, I loved it.



    The warmth and generosity moved me a great deal, as did the story.



    I was also pleased with the numerous references to Boston and the inclusion of an aspect of American life that is rarely shown on film - even in American films.



    I did find Massey to be too stagey, but I do admit that the sort of righteous, humorless (sometimes self-righteous) allegiance to the letter of the law is a New England trait even today.



    I also noticed that Kathlees Byron is very beautiful, like a medieval carving. I didn't think so in Black Narcissus.

  15. #95
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    I also noticed that Kathlees Byron is very beautiful, like a medieval carving. I didn't think so in Black Narcissus.
    Have you got her other great appearance in a P&P film, The Small Back Room on your list? There she pairs up with David Farrar again in a "British Noir" (if the purists will allow for such a thing).



    It's on Criterion's "coming soon" list. They're just finishing it off at the moment.



    Kathleen was another one, like Roger Livesey, and David Farrar to an extent, who was mainly a stage actor. Although they all did a reasonable amount of film work their only really outstanding film work is what they did for P&P. Although he was known to bully actors to didn't give it 100%, with some like these he got some amazing performances out of them.



    I think Kathleen's only other film role that is really worth seeing is in Prelude to Fame (1950) where she discovers a young musical prodigy and drives him to more than he is really capable of emotionally.



    She had some good but small roles in some great films like The Elephant Man and in some truly dire films like Wolfshead: The Legend of Robin Hood.



    She played old Mrs Ryan in Saving private Ryan. Spielberg having been brought up on P&P films (amongst many others).



    She is now being looked after in Denville Hall (home for retired actors) and is suffering from Alzheimer's Disease



    Steve

  16. #96
    Super Moderator Country: England
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    I would agree that we - Americans - would emphasize an individualistic, pragmatic and efficient approach. But the soldiers at the beginning of Blimp were cowardly cheats who humiliated and mocked an elderly man who they should have respected.
    How interesting....you're much harder on them than most people who have seen the film...and certainly harder than the contemporary critics..

    I would argue at the beginning of the film we see the 'Private Army' as young war-hardened, slightly cynical, thrusting go-getters of precisely the type that are going to win the War for us, and Wynne-Candy and his colleagues as slightly preposterous, and although Spud is rude, he does back away and apologise in mid-flow....and it was only a (War) game. He's not - or not meant, I think - to be seen as the baddie in all this.

    It's only after we have got to know Candy/Wynne-Candy through the flashback, fallen a bit in love with him and the ideals of conduct, principles, the Englishness he represents that we feel so less comfortable with the opening sequence, seen from a slightly different viewpoint, literally and metaphorically. And that the dangers of the 'Modern' ways of war, and life, included throwing the baby out with the bathwater. The answer, as seen in the film, I believe, is that the generations mustn't try and dominate each other, but to co-operate; to share experiences and ideas, rather than to either merely repress or supplant them. Hence the invitation to dinner (lunch? I forget).



    I would disagree that Blimp was preposterous. He may have been a foolish old man in some ways, but his principles and code of conduct were not. I admire them and try to live by them.


    Me too....but then we have the luxury of (relative) peace. It was harder then, and with more at stake if it all went wrong. There was a very strong debate going on at the time, not entirely behind closed doors, about the prosecution of the war that the film reflects. In a sense, it continues; 'Bomber' Harris is still reviled in some quarters (not by me I hasten to add) for prosecuting the war a little too keenly for some tastes.

  17. #97
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    Have you got her other great appearance in a P&P film, The Small Back Room on your list? There she pairs up with David Farrar again in a "British Noir" (if the purists will allow for such a thing).



    It's on Criterion's "coming soon" list. They're just finishing it off at the moment.



    Kathleen was another one, like Roger Livesey, and David Farrar to an extent, who was mainly a stage actor. Although they all did a reasonable amount of film work their only really outstanding film work is what they did for P&P.


    Tim, if you haven't seen The Small Back Room, then you only have an inkling of what a truly great actress Kathleen Byron was. And gorgeous....she smoulders - gently, in a very refined way, but smoulders anyway...it's a cracking film, but like Contraband(1940) it's sometimes seen as a minor film.. (Why? is it because it was monochrome?)...but it really isn't. They're both absolute jewels, made on low budgets with clever casts, combining Pressburger's writing with all the economy Powell learnt in his Quota Quickie years, and his silentfilm influences to boot. If you haven't seen them, you should...it's a slightly different P'n'P to the Technicolor epics...but no less interesting.



    It's strange, there was a whole raft of powerful British leading ladies that emerged from the films of the War that struggled to make a lasting impact post-War. Was it that the War-era films were more adult, whereas the post-War films were too fluffy for such strong female characters?? Kathleen Byron is a prime example, but how about Valerie Hobson, Joan Greenwood, Lilli Palmer, Patricia Roc (Too sexy by half ??); Wendy Hiller did, but only on stage, not on film.... They all had careers, they all paid their rent...but they never reached the eminence I feel they should have had, the sort that Helen Mirren or Judi Dench (rightly) has now...any other thoughts on why this was??

  18. #98
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    It's strange, there was a whole raft of powerful British leading ladies that emerged from the films of the War that struggled to make a lasting impact post-War. Was it that the War-era films were more adult, whereas the post-War films were too fluffy for such strong female characters?? Kathleen Byron is a prime example, but how about Valerie Hobson, Joan Greenwood, Lilli Palmer, Patricia Roc (Too sexy by half ??); Wendy Hiller did, but only on stage, not on film.... They all had careers, they all paid their rent...but they never reached the eminence I feel they should have had, the sort that Helen Mirren or Judi Dench (rightly) has now...any other thoughts on why this was??
    Perhaps it was to do with the American influence of films in this country post-war, less British fair. The Americans had no problems getting or giving strong parts to their women especially in the femme fatales of 1940's and 50's Film Noir.



    Simon

  19. #99
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    I saw this over on the French Amazon site - released in 2007 - a possible question for Steve here - is it any better than the earlier UK DVD?













    Simon

  20. #100
    Senior Member Country: UK Moor Larkin's Avatar
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    I thought Theo (Walbrook) made it clear in his second big speech, the one after Clive's broadcast is cancelled.
    I suppose the danger there is that Theo's bitterly contrite speech might lead to the idea that you had to adopt a Nazi mentality to win. Perhaps I saw the collision of American new-thinking and Blimpish British decency as being the solution proposed.



    There are many who seem to want to paint Bomber Harris as no better than the Nazis. The difference is not in his application of war methodology, but in why he employed it. If a war can be won, it should be won as ruthlessly and quickly as possible. The sooner war is over, the better. That was Sir Athur Harris' intention.



    Just as an aside of course, Theo, had he lived a long long time, would doubtless have realised eventually, that just as his army had lost the first war, so the nazi Army lost the second one, around about the time Hitler launched Barbarossa. It just took a while to sink in.



    But that's just me pontificating about history....... and nothing about A Matter of Life and Death, so I'm evacuating myself from this Thread......




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