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  1. #121
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    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
    I think the smile is just the actor (James McKechnie) enjoying himself



    It is a tough thing for Clive to face and he must face it alone.

    The next scene (in real time chronology) shows him in the garden outside his demolished house, swiping at the leaves with his cane.



    Johnny brings Theo to find him and Clive says (something like) "I'm glad it's you. I couldn't have stood it if it had been anyone else." So Theo is there quite soon afterwards with the consoling words and the explanations



    Steve

  2. #122
    Super Moderator Country: England
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    It is a tough thing for Clive to face and he must face it alone.

    The next scene (in real time chronology) shows him in the garden outside his demolished house, swiping at the leaves with his cane.



    Johnny brings Theo to find him and Clive says (something like) "I'm glad it's you. I couldn't have stood it if it had been anyone else." So Theo is there quite soon afterwards with the consoling words and the explanations



    Steve
    Aargh. Always gets me, that scene, along with the reveal of Johnny Cannon's face to Theo in the car....

  3. #123
    Senior Member Country: United States TimR's Avatar
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    Born in Detroit but she travelled around quite a lot from a young age. Miami Beach High, The Actor's Studio, she worked a lot in New York.



    She wrote a very readable autobiographical cook-book, "Loose in the Kitchen" (North Hollywood, Calif.: Domina Books, 1975). In it she tells the story of her life interspersed by various meals, and recipes, shared with friends.
    It was intriguing to me that I couldn't place her. I knew she was not really a New Englander - although only her voice gave her away. She played the role beautifully, with the right amount of reserve and the correct timing and the quiet independence. Very nice. I couldn't imagine anyone else in the part.



    I continue to be suprised by the depth of her performance in AMOLAD. Perhaps Powell was able to being out a quality that other directors could not.



    It was that book that first told me where they filmed the camera obscura scenes. She mentioned the village of Shere, near Guildford in Surrey. And when I went there, there it all was, very much still recognisable.







    That wooden building isn't a church, it's the village fire station, dated 1911. The bell in the tower calls out the volunteer firemen when they are needed.





    And by a lovely coincidence (or is it?) that's only about 3 miles from there they filmed the Chaucerian pilgrims at the start of A Canterbury Tale
    That camera obscura scene is a pleasure: I cannot imagine it being used in the same way in the work of any other film artists - that transformation of everyday life into something magical.



    That is only three miles from the pilgrim sequence? What about the scene at the end of that prologue: that marvelous moment in A Canterbury Tale where Esmond Knight is narrating, the falcon becomes a plane and then the train is seen from the air? Is that all the same area?



    "Our journey has just begun!"

  4. #124
    Senior Member Country: United States TimR's Avatar
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    What wonderful films they made.



    This weekend, I will be watching The Battle of the River Platte and The Edge of the World

  5. #125
    Super Moderator Country: England
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    What wonderful films they made.



    This weekend, I will be watching The Battle of the River Platte and The Edge of the World
    BoRP is OK, it's relatively conventional, but well crafted....EoTW is a terrific early work, Mickey's calling card, and gained good critical appraisal here and in the States at the time - have you found Contraband or Small Back Room yet?

  6. #126
    Super Moderator Country: UK batman's Avatar
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    I watched Contraband for the first time in years recently, it is very good. The Small Back Room is a great film and one of my personal favourites (but don't tell anyone).

  7. #127
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    It's hard for me to choose a favourite, as it depends what mood I'm in at the time. However, AMOLAD is certainly in the top five, along with The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, another P&P production.

    They always managed to get a slightly odd, eerie feel to parts of their films, sequences where you can feel a kind of spell. I don't think its just me.

    There's a sequence in 'A Canterbury Tale' in which there is a meeting held in a back room - it's all about the local customs and ways - and a strange heaviness descends, as though some kind of old English magic were at work. This seems (to me) to be a common theme of Powell's.

    Sorry, probably been drinking too much airfix cement.

  8. #128
    Super Moderator Country: England
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    It's hard for me to choose a favourite, as it depends what mood I'm in at the time. However, AMOLAD is certainly in the top five, along with The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, another P&P production.

    They always managed to get a slightly odd, eerie feel to parts of their films, sequences where you can feel a kind of spell. I don't think its just me.

    There's a sequence in 'A Canterbury Tale' in which there is a meeting held in a back room - it's all about the local customs and ways - and a strange heaviness descends, as though some kind of old English magic were at work. This seems (to me) to be a common theme of Powell's.

    Sorry, probably been drinking too much airfix cement.
    You're not wrong, though I wouldn't recommend drinking the glue...sniffing is sufficient I believe.

    You can practically feel the sultry summer heat in ACT...it's very odd.

  9. #129
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    Another thing I've noticed, especially in ACT, is that there's a strange, gentle tension going on. It's created by a lack of traditional tension, the conflicts are very subtle. It keeps you watching, keeps you listening, you just can't miss what's going to happen next.



    The scene on the hill when they hide in the grass; it builds tension . . . what's going to happen, what will they hear/see, will they be discovered, will the Amercians draw conclusions about the relationship if they find them? But no, they race off down the hill again . . .

  10. #130
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    Absolutely Gazza. That's one of those 'spell' moments, and it's broken in a trice when they get up and run off. Powell seems to use this time and time again, building up a strange (often brooding) tension which doesn't necessarily have any connection with the story, it's just something he wanted to say.

  11. #131
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    There are no rebs with speaking parts in A Matter of Life and Death - unless I missed one - but there are midwesterners and New Yorkers and Bostonians - and with that large cast, I'm sure there are some southerners mixed in.
    There are some of the original rebs - the 1776 colonists that balk at the mention of Paul Revere. But they don't speak so they are probably being played by British extras.



    Steve

  12. #132
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    It's hard for me to choose a favourite, as it depends what mood I'm in at the time. However, AMOLAD is certainly in the top five, along with The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, another P&P production.

    They always managed to get a slightly odd, eerie feel to parts of their films, sequences where you can feel a kind of spell. I don't think its just me.

    There's a sequence in 'A Canterbury Tale' in which there is a meeting held in a back room - it's all about the local customs and ways - and a strange heaviness descends, as though some kind of old English magic were at work. This seems (to me) to be a common theme of Powell's.

    Sorry, probably been drinking too much airfix cement.
    Another thing I've noticed, especially in ACT, is that there's a strange, gentle tension going on. It's created by a lack of traditional tension, the conflicts are very subtle. It keeps you watching, keeps you listening, you just can't miss what's going to happen next.



    The scene on the hill when they hide in the grass; it builds tension . . . what's going to happen, what will they hear/see, will they be discovered, will the Amercians draw conclusions about the relationship if they find them? But no, they race off down the hill again . . .
    It's tempting to think of A Canterbury Tale as Powell's film as it is such a hymn to the area where he grew up. But he said that he didn't fully understand what Emeric was driving at while they were making it and it's only with subsequent viewings that he began to understand it more. In many ways it is more Emeric's film than Micky's.



    It was the same for most people. It wasn't very popular when it was first released. It did OK but it wasn't a huge hit. The people did have other things to think about in 1944. D-Day had happened and was a success. They knew that the end of the war was in sight and began to think about what to do after it, how they'd be able to sort out the mess.



    It's only gradually that it's become more and more popular over the years. It's been a real slow burner, taking 50 or 60 years to find its audience



    But even today most of us don't understand it fully. You have to slow down to its pace to appreciate it. And there is a lot of meandering which is very important for setting the atmosphere and explaining what the three pilgrims experienced, but doesn't exactly move the plot forwards.



    Emeric once said [in New York City, 1980] "I think that a film should have a good story, a clear story, and it should have, if possible, something which is probably the most difficult thing - it should have a little bit of magic . . . Magic being untouchable and very difficult to cast, you can't deal with it at all. You can only try to prepare some nests, hoping that a little bit of magic will slide into them."



    There is magic at work in ACT. Emeric prepared the nests beautifully



    Steve

  13. #133
    Senior Member Country: United States TimR's Avatar
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    BoRP is OK, it's relatively conventional, but well crafted....
    I just watched it last night - I would agree with your assessment. I enjoyed it, but was hoping for more detail on the character of Langsdorff, especially with an actor as well cast as Peter Finch.



    The direction is tight and the film is well structured, but there were a few times where I lost the thread of the story. I had to rewind the video to make certain that I grasped what was happening.



    The early naval battles are the one aspect of WWII that I know the least about, so this filled in some of the gaps in my own knowledge.



    EoTW is a terrific early work, Mickey's calling card, and gained good critical appraisal here and in the States at the time - have you found Contraband or Small Back Room yet?
    I probably won't get to Edge of the World until next week, as life has picked up steam in the last few days. The other two films will follow, certainly. I have looked into their availability - and I will likely borrow them through interlibrary loan before buying them.



    There are four that I have not been able to locate yet - Ill Met by Moonlight, Oh, Rosalinda, Elusive Pimpernal and Gone to Earth, even under the American title.



    I would have thought that with Jennifer Jones in the cast, it might be easier to find that last one, but it isn't.



    I would not buy any of them without seeing them first - unlike the P&P classics - and our interlibrary loan system is really outstanding. It covers the entire US. If a film is not located through their system, it is very unlikely that it is available in the US.



    Ill Met By Moonlight is on TCM every few months, so I will probably catch up with it then.

  14. #134
    Senior Member Country: United States TimR's Avatar
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    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??
    I had read about Kathleen Byron being a great beauty in Black Narcissus, but I wasn't too impressed. Too strange for my taste (not her - the role )



    Then in AMOLAD, I was very impressed. She was regal. I would like to have seen her play Eleanor of Aquitaine in The Lion in Winter.



    I had thought many of the women you mention were quite successful. Wendy Hiller was a major "name" here in the US, and I know all of the others except Patricia Roc. I especially liked Lili Palmer, who was both beautiful and smart and sane. An attractive woman who is sane and low-key and level-headed and has a sense of irony always "gets" me.

  15. #135
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    [The Battle of the River Plate]

    I just watched it last night - I would agree with your assessment. I enjoyed it, but was hoping for more detail on the character of Langsdorff, especially with an actor as well cast as Peter Finch.



    The direction is tight and the film is well structured, but there were a few times where I lost the thread of the story. I had to rewind the video to make certain that I grasped what was happening.



    The early naval battles are the one aspect of WWII that I know the least about, so this filled in some of the gaps in my own knowledge.
    Of course the (possibly apocryphal, possibly not) story is that it was renamed as Pursuit of the Graf Spee for the American audience in case anyone thought it was about the River Platte and so thought that it was a Western



    BoRP and Ill Met are the two that P&P made towards the end of their partnership. They were both based on real events in WWII and were both such amazing tales of bravery and sheer cheek that there wasn't too much that The Archers could add to them. They could only tell the tale as they found it. It was also the time when the partnership was beginning to come to its natural conclusion. They had a few disagreements but remained firm friends till the end of their lives. But they had come to the end of all the things they wanted to do together and they both wanted to pursue some individual projects. They had been working closely together since 1939 so it's understandable that they'd want a break.



    I agree, it would have been nice to explore the character of Langsdorff more. Especially to make more of the fact that he wasn't a Nazi but was old school German Navy. I think Micky might have been distracted by having such fun playing with all those nice toys. It's not often that a film-maker has much of the Mediterranean Fleet of the Royal Navy to play with, plus the USN Salem who was on station in the Med at the time.



    The scenes of the actual battle at sea, especially the gunnery, often gets compliments from people who have experienced real naval battles.



    Some people thing it drifts off a bit when they get to Montevideo. But that's how it really happened. It did become more of a battle of wits, of diplomacy and some deliberately leaked information.





    I probably won't get to Edge of the World until next week, as life has picked up steam in the last few days. The other two films will follow, certainly. I have looked into their availability - and I will likely borrow them through interlibrary loan before buying them.



    There are four that I have not been able to locate yet - Ill Met by Moonlight, Oh, Rosalinda, Elusive Pimpernal and Gone to Earth, even under the American title.



    I would have thought that with Jennifer Jones in the cast, it might be easier to find that last one, but it isn't.



    I would not buy any of them without seeing them first - unlike the P&P classics - and our interlibrary loan system is really outstanding. It covers the entire US. If a film is not located through their system, it is very unlikely that it is available in the US.



    Ill Met By Moonlight is on TCM every few months, so I will probably catch up with it then.
    Well of those 4, Gone to Earth is easily available. It's been released on a Region 2, PAL format DVD. That's the restoration that was done by a nice man at Disney. But after he'd finished it, the suits at Disney didn't know what to do with it and shelved it - despite some classic Disney scenes of animals scurrying for cover when the huntsmen approach. Luckily it was picked up and released by Pearson in the UK. But those in the ex-colonies should make sure they can play region 2, PAL format DVDs before buying it.



    I would regard it as a 2nd rank classic. Not as good as their very best films. But a "not their best" by The Archers still knocks the spots off most other films



    It does betray its origins and the book it was based on is very melodramatic. But the saving grace is the landscape which is as important in this film as it is in ACT or IKWIG.



    Jennifer does a great job, even managing the Shropshire accent very well. David Farrar makes a superb wicked squire and Cyril Cusack is perfect as the meek parson. Good support from Archers regular Esmond Knight as Jennifer's father and from Sybil Thorndike as the parson's mother.



    The DVD includes some "home movies" of the cast and crew on location. But sadly there's no soundtrack on the film itself (they added some music for the DVD) and there's no subtitles so it helps to know who is who and to have some idea of what they're doing.



    Nick Dando used to live around that way and found all the locations used. We did a tour of them and got a load of "Then & Now" photos which I'll refer you to after you've seen it. Apart from more cars, TV aerials and a few other things, most of them are still remarkable recognisable.



    Try not to watch the Selznick version first. In his autobiographies, Powell claimed that Selznick only left about 35 minutes of the original film. In fact, about two-thirds remains intact. Selznick's changes are mainly adding: a prologue; scenes explaining things, often literally, by putting labels or inscriptions on them; more close-ups of Jennifer Jones. The most infamous of these are the scenes at the end when she is supposedly carrying a tame fox - in the additional scenes, Jones is carrying what is obviously a stuffed toy fox. He also deleted a few scenes that he felt weren't dramatic enough. Sadly some of these were major plot points so the story doesn't make as much sense as in the original film.





    Ill Met by Moonlight is also available on UK DVD. As with BoRP it's based quite closely on a true story. A group of young men who, had it not been for the war would have become smugglers or pirates, gathered in Cairo and went off on various adventures. One of these was to the Nazi-occupied island of Crete to kidnap the German General and bring him back to Cairo for questioning. It sounds like something straight out of a "Boys Own Adventure" comic book - but it really happened.



    Starring Dirk Bogarde at his flamboyant Byronic best as the leader and with various British character actors doing good impersonations of Cretan partisans. But once they've kidnapped the General it does lag a bit as they take him from one mountain hideout to the next.





    The Elusive Pimpernel has never been released commercially on DVD although it has been released on video so you might be able to find one of those (cheaper than the $78 which is the cheapest on Amazon Marketplace).



    Starring David Niven and Margaret Leighton this was for some time my prime contender for the worst film made by Powell and/or Pressburger - until I saw The Queen's Guards. It's not that it's a bad film, but it could have been so much better. And of course a "not very good" film by The Archers is still worth watching





    Oh... Rosalinda!! has never been released commercially on video, DVD or on any other medium. Although it has been mentioned as being on Criterion's long term plans. Maybe in a year, or two.



    It has been shown on TV in the UK so some recordings do exist.



    Starring some of the old crowd from TRS and ToH like Anton Walbrook and Ludmilla Tcherina it is a fun operetta (Die Fledermaus). They brought in Mel Ferrer, Dennis Price, Michael Redgrave and Anthony Quayle to play the other main parts. Well worth watching, but don't expect anything of the standard set by TRS or ToH.



    It was the first film they made in wide screen (CinemaScope) and they make good use of that with things like a long balcony scene with different things going on in different rooms and people singing their parts from different sections of the balcony.





    But first on your list should quite rightly be The Edge of the World. The American DVD has a bit of sprocket slippage which was very careless of them (Milestone) but is otherwise very good.



    It was Michael Powell's first truly personal project and the one that pulled him out of the 20+ B-films he'd made in the previous 6 years. It let him be recognised by some major players like Korda who in turn put him together with Pressburger. But even if it wasn't for that historical significance it's still well worth watching.



    Bearing in mind what they went through to make it. Going to an island a few hundred miles north of the Scottish mainland and then staying there for nearly 5 months. Longer than intended but the weather marooned them there.



    The American DVD includes the short propaganda piece An Airman's Letter to His Mother and the 1978 documentary Return to the Edge of the World where Powell and some of the surviving cast and crew went back to Foula to see how things had changed in the last 40 years. It also has a commentary by Thelma Schoonmaker & Ian Christie on the main film and some other goodies.



    Micky knew that it was such a significant event that he even wrote a book about their adventures and how it all happened. Originally titled "200,000 feet on Foula" (referring to the amount of film shot, not the height of the cliffs), it's available in various editions with different titles like "200,000 Feet - The Edge of the World".



    And even if we ignore all that, it's still an amazing film

    It was very rare to make location based films in 1937 and this one really does make great use of the landscape and the people living there as well as the imported actors. It's a great story and is filmed (and edited) superbly well.



    Steve

  16. #136
    Senior Member Country: UK Freddy's Avatar
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    Hindsight is a luxury and probably this information wasn't available to P and P when they made AMOLAD but the last operations flew by Lancasters (Peter Carter's plane) was dropping food supplies to the civilian population in Western Holland after a truce was arranged with the local German commander and that was at the end of April and the beginning of May. There were no offensive operations by Lancasters in May. The last offensive operation of Bomber Command before the surrender in Europe was by Mosquitoes of the number 8 Group on Kiel on the 2/3 May.



    RAF History - Bomber Command 60th Anniversary



    Forumites have mentioned many aspects of AMOLAD but has anyone ever commented on the Peter Carters opening scene and what that says?



    He tells us he is 27, that his father died in 1917, in that line you realise that as it is 2/3 May 1945 (only a few days before the end of the war) there was a good chance he was born in 1918, that his father died before he was born, perhaps never knowing his wife was pregnant or ever seeing his son and that Peter's mother was going to lose her husband and son in each of the world wars.



    Freddy

  17. #137
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    I love this film... but think, maybe, a Roger Corman / Wicker Man edit would have done wonders to have improved it: especially losing the preachy bit about getting on with the Americans.

  18. #138
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    I love this film... but think, maybe, a Roger Corman / Wicker Man edit would have done wonders to have improved it: especially losing the preachy bit about getting on with the Americans.
    That was the whole point of the film - to improve the soured relations between Britain and America thanks to the vast numbers of "overpaid, over-sexed and over here" service e men and women.



    Nick

  19. #139
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    I love this film... but think, maybe, a Roger Corman / Wicker Man edit would have done wonders to have improved it: especially losing the preachy bit about getting on with the Americans.
    It really was necessary at the time. And it's thanks to this film (and maybe a few other things) that we get on so well now



    Although it wasn't just the morals of the GIs that the government was worried about. There were also reports about those nice English girls corrupting all those innocent GIs. The things a girl would do for a pair of stockings!



    And remember, that's your mothers, aunts and grandmothers we're talking about



    See Times article





    When they did a stage version of this film, the Kneehigh Company had a similar thought. All that preachy stuff about the British and the Americans had to go. So they made the girl into an English girl. But that took out too much IMHO. They could have made her any other non-British nationality and then they could have still had an updated attack on and defense of Britain. But they cut all of that and I think the play was poorer for it,



    Steve

  20. #140
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    In the supplement to The Mail on Sunday, 10 War films you should own. Top of the list Mr. Crookes favourite(I know Steve, it is more than a war film!!!) also on the radio they were talking about the forthcoming big screen showing of this film and the influence it has had on filmakers and musicians and video's)

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