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  1. #101
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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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
    They're from the same print as far as I can tell. The Amazon listing doesn't say that it has the English soundtrack so it might have a dubbed French soundtrack. It's not one that I have in my extensive collection



    Steve

  2. #102
    Senior Member Country: United States TimR's Avatar
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    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).





    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.
    Yes, I am tougher on them - I have noticed that in reading through the posts. I took it far more seriously than most here, and my response was the same at the beginning as it was towards the end. I don't think it was just a war game: I think it was an example of a general change in behavior.



    In the years leading up to the war, it was the appeasers in Britain and the isolationists in the US who refused to respond to the threat that the Nazis and the Japanese represented. They refused to face the reality of events - and we all paid an even higher price for that. Candy and his type were guilty of expecting gentlemanly behavior from evil people, but they were not appeasers or isolationists.



    Spud and his men took advantage of the trust of the older military men; they knew they would abide by their principles and used it against them. I would not see them as examples of those who won the war - either British or American.



    You mention Bomber Harris. I was thinking, in fact of Dresden when I wrote some of these posts. I spent a month in Germany, including a week in Dresden. This isn't the place to get into long discussion of it. Perhaps a military forum is the place. I do disagree at least in part with what you said here. When the acknowledgment of a moral code is disregrarded, the slope is slippery indeed.



    That is why I found Colonel Blimp so moving and so powerful. He was not an especially imaginative or deep man, but he lived by a code that ennobled his life. That code was under attack - and that began at the very beginning of the film. That is the single most interesting question for me in history: What happened to the world that existed before 1914?



    It is also the code that has ennobled life in Britain for a very, very long time. It is what brought Theo back to Britain. There is a wonderful moment in the 1969 version of Goodbye Mr. Chips where Chipping's German friend tells him - just before the war - that the English do not always realize (or appreciate) what they have. There are so many details that I cannot be aware of. But perhaps my status as an outsider allows me to see it with greater clarity at times because I have that larger perspective.

  3. #103
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    That is why I found Colonel Blimp so moving and so powerful. He was not an especially imaginative or deep man, but he lived by a code that ennobled his life. That code was under attack - and that began at the very beginning of the film. That is the single most interesting question for me in history: What happened to the world that existed before 1914?


    He may of been under attack at the start but only in the form of the way he did things and by people who would look after him and protect his lifestyle. In hindsight Candy must of been grateful for the young upstarts jumping in before time and showing him that his ways of doing things were over - would he of rather had the Nazis show him for a first time later on?



    The saying you have to be cruel to be kind was surely in play here. I think Candy undestood this by the end and would appreciate the chance to be able to tell people about a time when things were done differently and what the world was like before 1914.



    Simon

  4. #104
    Super Moderator Country: England
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    You mention Bomber Harris. I was thinking, in fact of Dresden when I wrote some of these posts. I spent a month in Germany, including a week in Dresden. This isn't the place to get into long discussion of it. Perhaps a military forum is the place. I do disagree at least in part with what you said here. When the acknowledgment of a moral code is disregrarded, the slope is slippery indeed.


    Oh, absolutely. There were good reasons for bombing Dresden, it was the German equivalent of Silicon Valley; but the civilian casualties were appalling. And as for the retention of morals in wartime, it's a lesson we still need to learn....witness Iraq, Guantanamo....and the British Forces have had their dark moments, not just the more heavily publicised US Forces incidents.

    But enough of this. By the way, not as Off Topic as you might think...did you know there was a 'Mock Execution' sequence filmed for Blimp, but edited out?? In the WW1 sequence, after Candy has left the South African Officer with the Uhlan prisoners...stills and the script survive.

  5. #105
    Senior Member Country: United States TimR's Avatar
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    He may of been under attack at the start but only in the form of the way he did things and by people who would look after him and protect his lifestyle. In hindsight Candy must of been grateful for the young upstarts jumping in before time and showing him that his ways of doing things were over - would he of rather had the Nazis show him for a first time later on?



    The saying you have to be cruel to be kind was surely in play here. I think Candy undestood this by the end and would appreciate the chance to be able to tell people about a time when things were done differently and what the world was like before 1914.



    Simon
    I would disagree here.



    There certainly were young upstarts who would teach him to be more dynamic and proactive and wise in his understanding - but not them. They did not teach him a superior form of warfare. They simply cheated. They were able to humiliate Candy because he was living according to principle. Their shrewdness would have meant nothing against the Nazis.



    Candy's way of doing things will never be over. Principles may disappear, but they do not die. When they disappear, so do our nations.

  6. #106
    Senior Member Country: United States TimR's Avatar
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    Oh, absolutely. There were good reasons for bombing Dresden, it was the German equivalent of Silicon Valley; but the civilian casualties were appalling. And as for the retention of morals in wartime, it's a lesson we still need to learn....witness Iraq, Guantanamo....and the British Forces have had their dark moments, not just the more heavily publicised US Forces incidents.

    But enough of this. By the way, not as Off Topic as you might think...did you know there was a 'Mock Execution' sequence filmed for Blimp, but edited out?? In the WW1 sequence, after Candy has left the South African Officer with the Uhlan prisoners...stills and the script survive.
    I would like to see that edited scene.



    I think we would have an interesting discussion about Dresden.



    And yes - the US examples are apt to my general point. I am aware of that every day.



    Have you read Modris Ekstein's Rites of Spring?



    Stunning book.

  7. #107
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    I would like to see that edited scene.
    It doesn't survive on film but it's described in the book The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp. Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger (edited by Ian Christie). London: Faber & Faber, June 1994. ISBN 0-571-14355-5



    That includes all the memos to and from Churchill where he tried to have it banned. And it compares the original and final scripts with a clever system of bracketing to show what was in each version.



    The scene in question is just after Clive has questioned the German prisoners in the WWI segment. After Clive leaves, the South African officer tells the prisoners that he isn't an English gentleman so doesn't have to be concerned about good manners or good behaviour.



    He orders one of the prisoners to be taken out and shot. A shot is heard out the back but they still don't talk. So he has another one taken out and shot. After a while they begin to talk



    In fact the prisoners weren't really being shot. By prior arrangement with his men the prisoners had been taken out the back and gagged so that they couldn't call out. Then a shot was fired into the air.



    But that was felt to be too much, even in 1943



    Steve

  8. #108
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    Well, I unwrapped my new P&P box set from HMV (thanks for the lead Steve!) put in AMOLAD, and sat in quiet amazement and astonishment from start to finish. Astonishment at the gentle audacity of it all.



    For me to be really engaged with something - be it film, theatre, visual art or the written word - I need to feel that a risk is being taken, that the work is brave and pushing boundaries. AMOLAD took my breath away.



    I'd seen it as a lad and easily remembered the opening, the staircase and a frozen ping-pong ball. But of course, I'd remembered very little.



    Having read so much about the film on here and elsewhere, it's difficult to know where to start, how to order my thoughts, so I'll take just one tiny part of the film for now, triggered by previous remarks in this thread. About the boy on the beach.



    It's an astonishing image these days; it was likely astonishing then but in a different way. Seeing children naked was an innocent thing, the idyllic image of boys plunging into pools of water, kids playing on the beach and so on. Here we have a lonely goatherd, a Pan-like figure suggesting that Peter is in another place. It's pure, it's innocent, it's mystical; depending on our perceptions, the boy has found peace in a heavenly place or he's at peace in a world ravaged by war. He's untouched by the horrors and/or is blissfully unaware of them. Then there's the fantastic device of the plane, giving the scene another context and providing a startling contrast between the boy's world and a world at war.



    And I see the boy popping up again decades later - Greenaway's films particularly come to mind.



    That's why AMOLAD is extraordinary; one scene, so much going on, so much to talk about.

  9. #109
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    I would disagree here.

    There certainly were young upstarts who would teach him to be more dynamic and proactive and wise in his understanding - but not them.
    I don’t understand what you are saying here with “but not them” are you saying that it shouldn’t of been them to do it to Candy and if so why not?

    They did not teach him a superior form of warfare. They simply cheated. They were able to humiliate Candy because he was living according to principle.
    Humiliation is a powerful emotion and should not be underestimated and when used for the right purposes its effects are far reaching. Candys humiliation was compounded by his own pompous attitude towards the younger officer who had shown initiative in, not to follow his superiors rules that war starts at midnight which is quite a ludicrous thing to put into place for war training anyway.

    If only Candy had been more avuncular instead of acting like a buffoon and castigating the officer with threats and having the temerity to do something so outrageous to a higher ranking officer who has had more experience in war and flouting his and his fellow high ranking officers distinguished service in the face of their inexperienced younger soldiers. Candy eventually blows his own top at the exchange between himself and the lieutenant ranting at him and calling him a young pup how inadvertently apt of Candy to call this man a young dog, as we should all realise from this exchange between the new and the old - is that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

    Their shrewdness would have meant nothing against the Nazis.
    Their shrewdness was meant for their superior officer and his contemporaries - to show them that their way of doing things was over - preparation for the troops was key to fighting the enemy ,mental toughness and adaptability had to be instilled in soldiers before they went off to war this can’t be done by everyone agreeing war starts at a certain time and you can’t look at the codes for the war game now because that will ruin the whole exercise. We know modern warfare is fought on information and gaining secret enemy files - we know that in The Great War information was either ignored or not gained and it resulted in unnecessary death on a huge scale.



    Candy's way of doing things will never be over. Principles may disappear, but they do not die. When they disappear, so do our nations.
    I’m afraid Candys ways are over and if we had kept to his code then our great nations would of disappeared long ago. His principles are alive and well because we changed the way we fought.



    Simon

  10. #110
    Super Moderator Country: England
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    Originally Posted by TimR

    I would like to see that edited scene.



    It doesn't survive on film but it's described in the book The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp. Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger (edited by Ian Christie). London: Faber & Faber, June 1994. ISBN 0-571-14355-5


    The book also includes a still from the missing sequence...the only one I've seen.

  11. #111
    Senior Member Country: United States TimR's Avatar
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    I don’t understand what you are saying here with “but not them” are you saying that it shouldn’t of been them to do it to Candy and if so why not?
    Yes - that is what I am saying. Candy needed to learn some things, but they did not know enough - or understand enough - to be his teachers,



    Humiliation is a powerful emotion and should not be underestimated and when used for the right purposes its effects are far reaching. Candys humiliation was compounded by his own pompous attitude towards the younger officer who had shown initiative in, not to follow his superiors rules that war starts at midnight which is quite a ludicrous thing to put into place for war training anyway.

    If only Candy had been more avuncular instead of acting like a buffoon and castigating the officer with threats and having the temerity to do something so outrageous to a higher ranking officer who has had more experience in war and flouting his and his fellow high ranking officers distinguished service in the face of their inexperienced younger soldiers. Candy eventually blows his own top at the exchange between himself and the lieutenant ranting at him and calling him a young pup how inadvertently apt of Candy to call this man a young dog, as we should all realise from this exchange between the new and the old - is that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.
    Why do you assume that the "war starts at midnight" agreement was an example of Candy being a pompous blowhard? I didn't get that from the material. Why it is ludicrous to put a start-time into place for war game training?



    How was he behaving like a buffoon? It seems to me you are reading into him. And I suppose I am reading into the younger men.





    Their shrewdness was meant for their superior officer and his contemporaries - to show them that their way of doing things was over - preparation for the troops was key to fighting the enemy ,mental toughness and adaptability had to be instilled in soldiers before they went off to war this can’t be done by everyone agreeing war starts at a certain time and you can’t look at the codes for the war game now because that will ruin the whole exercise. We know modern warfare is fought on information and gaining secret enemy files - we know that in The Great War information was either ignored or not gained and it resulted in unnecessary death on a huge scale.
    Well, here I am in agreement with your general comments, but I think I have found the principal area of disagreement. You are assuming (from what I can tell) that Candy's way of doing things was responsible for the carnage of the western front. I don't see him as the sort of arrogant, stupid fool who would have thrown tens of thousands of men to their deaths. The original blimp would have - - but not the P&P Blimp.



    You do bring up an interesting point about mental shrewdness.





    I’m afraid Candys ways are over and if we had kept to his code then our great nations would of disappeared long ago. His principles are alive and well because we changed the way we fought.
    There is enough in this discussion for a book. I don't think his principles are alive and well. They cannot die because they reflect an objectively true moral code, but they can certainly vanish - and they are not generally accepted, or even respected today.



    As for the idea that we would have disappeared if we had fought by that code: that makes sense if you see Blimp as the sort who started - and continued - the Somme. I have a far more generous view of him.

  12. #112
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    Yes - that is what I am saying. Candy needed to learn some things, but they did not know enough - or understand enough - to be his teachers,
    But they will come to - you can't stop the law of the jungle the new will overtake the old , it won't be Candy going out to face the enemy it will be the young soldiers putting their lives on the lines.

    Why do you assume that the "war starts at midnight" agreement was an example of Candy being a pompous blowhard? I didn't get that from the material.
    Well I would never call Candy a blowhard and I didn't - I think you misread something but he was pompous in his dealing with the young officer with his exaggerated self esteem and dignity and using it to make a point. I did not assume the 'war starts at midnight' comment made Candy pompous, the audacity of the situation made him react in that way - not very impressive.

    Why it is ludicrous to put a start-time into place for war game training?
    Because it is totally unreasonable to expect war in reality to give it's time and place of strike - the attack on Pearl Harbour being the biggest example I can think of, this occurred before a formal declaration of war and ultimately the US naval base was unprepared and unsuspecting - The art of the pre-emptive strike was now part of modern warfare[/quote]

    How was he behaving like a buffoon? It seems to me you are reading into him. And I suppose I am reading into the younger men.
    Well I just get that feeling from the scene, unfortunately it's quite painful to watch when you re-watch it because you know that Candy is a man to be admired, he kind of lets himself down - pride has a habit of doing that to people. Lest have a look at it again (if you want to).

    Well, here I am in agreement with your general comments, but I think I have found the principal area of disagreement. You are assuming (from what I can tell) that Candy's way of doing things was responsible for the carnage of the western front. I don't see him as the sort of arrogant, stupid fool who would have thrown tens of thousands of men to their deaths. The original blimp would have - - but not the P&P Blimp.
    Whether he was responsible or not he represents a rank and part of the First World War that was ultimately responsible - I don't think they put any personal responsibility on him, the young soldiers salute the rank not the man so they can only respond to rank it's nothing personal.



    Simon



    P.S. Maybe this Blimp talk might be better off in that thread - might be an idea for the mods to move it to it perhaps?

  13. #113
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    Pardon a very brief continuation of the off-topic Dresden comments, just so I can recommend the excellent Errol Morris documentary THE FOG OF WAR (2003).



    This movie is a lengthy interview/memoir with Robert McNamara, best known as JFK and LBJ's Secretary of Defense who guided the mistaken war in Viet Nam. He worked as a young statistician for USAAF in WW2, and carefully recorded the effectiveness of bombing for Major-General Curtis LeMay - especially the horrific incendiary attacks on Japanese cities.



    As an understanding of "total war" by a democracy, FOG's WW2 segment is helpful. It is too bad we didn't have this part of the thread in the BLIMP topic where it would have more relevance. Anyway, those of you intrigued by the moral issues raised in BLIMP, please see FOG OF WAR for another insight.

  14. #114
    Senior Member Country: United States TimR's Avatar
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    The music in AMOLAD impressed me in a way that it had not the first time. The use of the unusual, atonal music as punctuation in the eternity sequence - and - especially - in the first stairway sequence is unlike anything I had heard.

  15. #115
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    Sorry about that Steve - discussion of P&P seems to lend itself to that sort of overlap. There is so much in every film.



    I think Simon and I were concerned about getting off topic.
    Dinnae fash yersel, as our Scottish friends would say.

    Don't worry about it. They are closely related and there are many areas covered by both films



    Steve

  16. #116
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    The music in AMOLAD impressed me in a way that it had not the first time. The use of the unusual, atonal music as punctuation in the eternity sequence - and - especially - in the first stairway sequence is unlike anything I had heard.
    There's what I usually call "that haunting piano progression".

    It's simple, but it's so effective.



    There are also a few almost atonal chords that punctuate. Allan Gray did like them, he used them in The Silver Fleet as well. There's a special one he uses which is like a chord but with the notes making up the chord played in quick succession rather than at exactly the same time. I've called it a "pling". It's played on a stringed instrument and it's not as long as a glissando - it's more like a rolling or staggered chord (or whatever musicians call it), and with the last note in the chord slightly off.



    Allan Gray was sometimes accused of pastiche, signalling themes too obviously and being over dramatic with things like the fanfare at Castle Sorn in IKWIG. But I like his work. It's fun, but it fits.



    And when Peter goes to Lee Wood House in AMOLAD we see the hands of the pianist starting to play that haunting progression. I like to thing that was Alan Gray himself



    Steve

  17. #117
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    Well, I unwrapped my new P&P box set from HMV (thanks for the lead Steve!) put in AMOLAD, and sat in quiet amazement and astonishment from start to finish. Astonishment at the gentle audacity of it all.



    For me to be really engaged with something - be it film, theatre, visual art or the written word - I need to feel that a risk is being taken, that the work is brave and pushing boundaries. AMOLAD took my breath away.



    I'd seen it as a lad and easily remembered the opening, the staircase and a frozen ping-pong ball. But of course, I'd remembered very little.



    Having read so much about the film on here and elsewhere, it's difficult to know where to start, how to order my thoughts, so I'll take just one tiny part of the film for now, triggered by previous remarks in this thread. About the boy on the beach.



    It's an astonishing image these days; it was likely astonishing then but in a different way. Seeing children naked was an innocent thing, the idyllic image of boys plunging into pools of water, kids playing on the beach and so on. Here we have a lonely goatherd, a Pan-like figure suggesting that Peter is in another place. It's pure, it's innocent, it's mystical; depending on our perceptions, the boy has found peace in a heavenly place or he's at peace in a world ravaged by war. He's untouched by the horrors and/or is blissfully unaware of them. Then there's the fantastic device of the plane, giving the scene another context and providing a startling contrast between the boy's world and a world at war.



    And I see the boy popping up again decades later - Greenaway's films particularly come to mind.



    That's why AMOLAD is extraordinary; one scene, so much going on, so much to talk about.
    I'm glad you liked it. And audacity is a word I often use to describe it



    Greenaway of course went on to make Prospero's Books (1991), based on The Tempest. That's one story Powell longed to make in his later years but could never manage to get the funding. It would have been a great story for him to film



    Steve

  18. #118
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    Well, several of us keep coming back to this - and while it certainly doesn't apply to AMOLAD, it does fit with Blimp.



    Thanks for the suggestion re: the documentary. It's a new one on me.


    I'll second that documentary that Keechelus recommends it is very good, Mcnamara gives an engaging and interesting account.



    Simon

  19. #119
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    There's a special one he uses which is like a chord but with the notes making up the chord played in quick succession rather than at exactly the same time. I've called it a "pling". It's played on a stringed instrument and it's not as long as a glissando - it's more like a rolling or staggered chord (or whatever musicians call it), and with the last note in the chord slightly off.





    Steve
    Arpeggio ??

  20. #120
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    It's not painful to watch, it's a beautiful scene.

    Notice the slight jump when Candy berates Wilson saying "You are not in Hyde Park with an audience of [jump] loafers". The original was "tarts and loafers".

    But Spud defends his position well, saying that the enemy expects them to keep to the rules but that when he signed up he only agreed to defend his country by every means at his disposal.



    And Clive's almost child-like "But that was agreed... wasn't it?"

    He's full of indignation and bluster but in this scene he doesn't understand what's going on



    And when they tumble into the pool, note the smile on Spud's face as Clive pulls him back down.



    A beautiful scene



    Steve
    OK back to Blimp then - That's one way of seeing it and I can easily go along with it but painful in the sense that we are seeing a man who has become an anachronism, yes it's a beautiful scene but it does not stop me from thinking it's a painful one for Candy. There's no reassuring arm from Theo this time when he's forced to face the truth it seems to me that Candy's still paying the school fees.



    I never noticed the smile on Spuds face - so maybe there was admiration for the fight still left in Candy on Spuds behalf, I can go with that as well.



    Simon

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