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  1. #161
    Senior Member Country: United States TimR's Avatar
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    Undoubtedly they had an interest in it. Powell especially was very interested in representations of religious ideas by different cultures. The holy man in Black Narcissus is another interesting aspect of this.



    The stairway idea goes back to Jacob's ladder and also appears in Pilgrim's Progress. Remember that Bunyan is the conductor who brings Doc Reeves to the civilian reception area. But it's a lovely idea to update it from a simple staircase to an escalator

    ....................

    Steve
    Good and interesting points.



    That inclusion of Bunyan in such a brief and apt scene is a pleasure to watch.



    I'm usually rather allergic to films that even suggest religious faith or eternity because most of them tend to be either vulgar and sentimental, or foolish and presumptuous - or all four at once. The subject is a serious and important one for me and I prefer not to see literal representations of what we can only "see dimly" or a sentimental presentation of the most profound of topics.



    I agree that the use of the escalator works very well. It is never used as as a prop, but as part of the whole vision.



    A Matter of Life and Death is a beautiful and extremely unusual example of how the subject matter can be presented with wit and a light touch. The result is moving because it is not heavy-handed. That is because it is the work of masters; they do not presume or lecture.



    On another - but I think related - topic, I often think many of the very best British films are under-rated because they are under-stated.



    The wit and charm and verbal brilliance of these films are literally incomparable. I do think that quality is difficult to translate - more difficult than, say, Eisenstein or Bergman or de Sica or Griffith.



    It's an interesting topic, in my opinion.

  2. #162
    Senior Member Country: United States TimR's Avatar
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    .........I missed zaphod's original comment or I would have pointed out that there is no representation of heaven in AMOLAD. There's a representation of the reception area but would you judge a city by its airport?



    When the American bomber crew land and pick up their wings they then go through a doorway and we don't see what they see. We only have that wonderful line where the brash city boy says "Boy oh boy, home was never like this" and the farm boy drawls "Mine was"



    Steve
    Oh - very good!



    Yes: they see from the doorway. I know just what you are referring to. And that sequence with the young farmer is a beauty.



    That's another example of what I mean by the power of under-statement.

  3. #163
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TimR
    Good and interesting points.



    That inclusion of Bunyan in such a brief and apt scene is a pleasure to watch.



    I'm usually rather allergic to films that even suggest religious faith or eternity because most of them tend to be either vulgar and sentimental, or foolish and presumptuous - or all four at once. The subject is a serious and important one for me and I prefer not to see literal representations of what we can only "see dimly" or a sentimental presentation of the most profound of topics.



    I agree that the use of the escalator works very well. It is never used as as a prop, but as part of the whole vision.



    A Matter of Life and Death is a beautiful and extremely unusual example of how the subject matter can be presented with wit and a light touch. The result is moving because it is not heavy-handed. That is because it is the work of masters; they do not presume or lecture.



    On another - but I think related - topic, I often think many of the very best British films are under-rated because they are under-stated.



    The wit and charm and verbal brilliance of these films are literally incomparable. I do think that quality is difficult to translate - more difficult than, say, Eisenstein or Bergman or de Sica or Griffith.



    It's an interesting topic, in my opinion.
    One of the many reasons why I love 'em. They're not afraid to tackle subjects that others steer clear of, but they do it with subtlety and discretion. Religion, either as an organised religion or as just a personal statement of faith, appears in a few P&P films. It often overlaps slightly with patriotism, again handled with subtlety and wit. Evil is a religious as much as a philosophical concept, so any fight against evil has a religious element.



    The Nazi giving Johnny the trapper his crucifix in 49th Parallel

    The Dutch women's declarations of faith in One of Our Aircraft is Missing

    Theo's speech to Clive in Colonel Blimp

    Bob going into the cathedral in A Canterbury Tale

    Alison at her caravan in the same film

    Then AMOLAD and Black Narcissus are full of it of course

    Then there are the representations like the shoemaker in The Red Shoes and Helpmann's characters in Tales of Hoffmann



    I was talking to some people about this at Cannes and we reminded ourselves of Powell's trip to Burma just before the war to scout out a film for Korda that never quite happened and his trips up the Amazon for The End of the River. He was interested in people and religion is part of people



    Steve



    BTW that line you quote from A Canterbury Tale always makes me smile.

    "Or an instrument like a lute". What is like a lute that isn't a lute?

  4. #164
    Senior Member Country: United States TimR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Crook
    One of the many reasons why I love 'em. They're not afraid to tackle subjects that others steer clear of, but they do it with subtlety and discretion. Religion, either as an organised religion or as just a personal statement of faith, appears in a few P&P films. It often overlaps slightly with patriotism, again handled with subtlety and wit. Evil is a religious as much as a philosophical concept, so any fight against evil has a religious element.

    The Nazi giving Johnny the trapper his crucifix in 49th Parallel

    The Dutch women's declarations of faith in One of Our Aircraft is Missing

    Theo's speech to Clive in Colonel Blimp

    Bob going into the cathedral in A Canterbury Tale

    Alison at her caravan in the same film

    Then AMOLAD and Black Narcissus are full of it of course

    Then there are the representations like the shoemaker in The Red Shoes and Helpmann's characters in Tales of Hoffmann



    I was talking to some people about this at Cannes and we reminded ourselves of Powell's trip to Burma just before the war to scout out a film for Korda that never quite happened and his trips up the Amazon for The End of the River. He was interested in people and religion is part of people



    Steve
    The sequence with the German Hutterite community in The 49th Parallel is a gem - especially the scene where they respond to the National Socialist ravings with absolute silence.



    I have not seen One of Our Aircraft is Missing. I must add that to the list.



    Black Narcissus remains the one exception. The presentation of faith (and indeed of life) is vulgarized and sensational.



    BTW that line you quote from A Canterbury Tale always makes me smile.

    "Or an instrument like a lute". What is like a lute that isn't a lute?
    Yes - it's true - it isn't precise. That is part of why I like that scene. She is trying to find words for something that isn't clear - but very real.



    Fortunately our signature space is limited, as I would include much longer quotes!



    That film captures the numinous in a way no other film does. Marvelous.

  5. #165
    Senior Member HUGHJAMPTON's Avatar
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    British Pathe - THE KING AND THE STARS

    British Pathe - PRESS RECEPTION FOR ROYAL COMMAND FILM PERFORMANCE STARS

    British Pathe - ROYAL COMMAND FILM

    British Pathe - ROYAL COMMAND FILM PERFORMANCE





    If these have already been posted, my apologies. The 2nd clip has sound up to about the 3:30 mark, clips 3 and 4 are mute.

  6. #166
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    My vote would go to Powell and Pressburger's 1940s masterpiece. I love the combination of Englishness and romanticism which marks this out from the British tendency towards kitchen sink realism or twee comedies.



    The script is witty, the performances perfect and the visual effects still impressive after fifty odd years. The film is a good riposte to anyone who thinks that the British can't make truly cinematic films as every minute is packed with cinematic invention and flair.



    Ultimately, though, it's the film's uplifting message which makes it such a pleasure to watch and rewatch. In its cinematic world, love really does conquer everything, including death!

  7. #167
    Senior Member Country: England Number Six's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobertinWales
    My vote would go to Powell and Pressburger's 1940s masterpiece. I love the combination of Englishness and romanticism which marks this out from the British tendency towards kitchen sink realism or twee comedies.



    The script is witty, the performances perfect and the visual effects still impressive after fifty odd years. The film is a good riposte to anyone who thinks that the British can't make truly cinematic films as every minute is packed with cinematic invention and flair.



    Ultimately, though, it's the film's uplifting message which makes it such a pleasure to watch and rewatch. In its cinematic world, love really does conquer everything, including death!
    Hello RobertinWales - welcome to the site! Agree absolutely - the performances of David Niven, Kim Hunter, Raymond Massey, Roger Livesey and Marius Goring are all flawless. A real gem of British film making.......and Robert Coote makes a cameo appearance which is always a treat!

  8. #168
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobertinWales
    My vote would go to Powell and Pressburger's 1940s masterpiece. I love the combination of Englishness and romanticism which marks this out from the British tendency towards kitchen sink realism or twee comedies.



    The script is witty, the performances perfect and the visual effects still impressive after fifty odd years. The film is a good riposte to anyone who thinks that the British can't make truly cinematic films as every minute is packed with cinematic invention and flair.



    Ultimately, though, it's the film's uplifting message which makes it such a pleasure to watch and rewatch. In its cinematic world, love really does conquer everything, including death!
    What ho Robert,

    My Mum lives just a few miles SW of you, over towards Llandysul. It's a lovely part of the country.



    As you can see from various comments in this thread and others, AMOLAD has long been my all time favourite film. I never tire of it.



    Steve

  9. #169
    Senior Member Country: England cornershop15's Avatar
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    One of my favourite moments from one of my favourite films, featuring a young Richard Attenborough :



    "It's Heaven, isn't it?"



    Corresponding image, with Kathleen Byron and Robert Coote, but what was their reply? I've forgotten





    I'm sure you can guess which thread that first image is destined for very soon

  10. #170
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    The film historian James Chapman told me that when he is asked what his favourite British film is he always says this one, because most people haven't heard of it and that ends the conversation!



    From the number of posts here I think he's wrong!



    PS. Steve - you might remember me from the Powell and Pressburger conference in Bangor a few years ago. I still have a photo you took of all the people there!

  11. #171
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    Quote Originally Posted by cornershop15

    "It's Heaven, isn't it?"
    "You see? There are millions of people on Earth who would think it Heaven to be a clerk. And don't say Holy Smoke!"

  12. #172
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobertinWales
    The film historian James Chapman told me that when he is asked what his favourite British film is he always says this one, because most people haven't heard of it and that ends the conversation!



    From the number of posts here I think he's wrong!



    PS. Steve - you might remember me from the Powell and Pressburger conference in Bangor a few years ago. I still have a photo you took of all the people there!
    Aha! That Robert in Wales. Nice to hear from you again. Welcome to Britmovie.



    Yes indeed I remember you and still have happy memories of that conference. I'm still in regular contact with quite a few of that happy band.



    Diane Friedman finished her book on the medical aspects of AMOLAD

    [ame="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1438909454/papas-20"]Amazon.com: A Matter of Life and Death: The Brain Revealed by the Mind of Michael Powell (9781438909455): Diane Broadbent Friedman: Books[/ame]

    and a fascinating read it is too.



    I still see the lovely Natacha whenever I can. We were both in Cannes in May for the launch of the digital restoration of The Red Shoes and to meet Mr Scorsese. Andy Moore & Ian Christie were there as well.

    Cannes 2009



    Do you still have your badge?



    As for James Chapman's comment, I find that not many people remember it by name. But as soon as you say "David Niven on the stairway to heaven" then they often remember it, usually very fondly.



    Oh, I should add that Nick Burton from Canterbury Christ Church is sadly no longer with us. He sadly died in 2006. But the others from Canterbury who were at Bangor like Eddie, Bryan & Karen are carrying on his work in the Powell Research Centre there.



    The Red Shoes is being shown at Bath Film Festival on Thursday next week. That's the digitally restored print and Thelma is coming over to introduce it. I'll be there for that and then I'll be at Canterbury Christ Church on Wednesday 25th where Thelma is unveiling some new banners they've had made from photos of Micky & Emeric.



    Steve

  13. #173
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    "A Matter of Life and Death" was on TV last week. I wasn't sure what to make of it at first, but after five or ten minutes settled down and enjoyed it. As it was on at something like 2am, I recorded it and watched it later, but unfortunately it must have started a few minutes ahead of schedule, as I didn't get all of it recorded. It started at the point where one airman is walking down the stairs playing a mouth organ - did I miss anything much other than the title credits?

  14. #174
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by franfran
    "A Matter of Life and Death" was on TV last week. I wasn't sure what to make of it at first, but after five or ten minutes settled down and enjoyed it. As it was on at something like 2am, I recorded it and watched it later, but unfortunately it must have started a few minutes ahead of schedule, as I didn't get all of it recorded. It started at the point where one airman is walking down the stairs playing a mouth organ - did I miss anything much other than the title credits?
    Yes. Rush out and get a copy of it on DVD

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00004CX5N/


    You missed the opening tour of the universe and then Peter and June's exchange as Peter was sure he was going to die. That's very important to the story. You also missed some of the other points that establish the story.



    Oh, and you missed that the airman playing the harmonica had just been walking up the stairs, not down them



    Steve

  15. #175
    Senior Member HUGHJAMPTON's Avatar
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    Seeing this is up and running, perhaps, I can ask a question here?



    Is that Leslie Dwyer, alongside Wally Patch in the heaven sequence?

  16. #176
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HUGHJAMPTON
    Seeing this is up and running, perhaps, I can ask a question here?



    Is that Leslie Dwyer, alongside Wally Patch in the heaven sequence?
    Which heaven sequence? There are quite a few of them



    Wally Patch is listed on the IMDb as "ARP Warden (uncredited)"

    The only ARP Warden I can think of is in this image from the 1946 "book of the film" by Eric Warman





    But that scene wasn't actually in the film



    We don't see anyone else on the stairway, only Peter & Conductor 71 and then the court officials when they go down to the operating theatre.



    There are a few civilians seen milling around when Conductor 71 goes to meet Dr Reeves. And there are a few civilians (mainly from historical periods) in the audience in the court room



    Steve

  17. #177
    Senior Member HUGHJAMPTON's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Crook
    Which heaven sequence? There are quite a few of them



    There are a few civilians seen milling around when Conductor 71 goes to meet Dr Reeves. And there are a few civilians (mainly from historical periods) in the audience in the court room



    Steve
    This'll be the section, Steve. At 1 min 8:6 secs into the film, just before conductor 71 returns Dr. Reeve's book

  18. #178
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HUGHJAMPTON
    This'll be the section, Steve. At 1 min 8:6 secs into the film, just before conductor 71 returns Dr. Reeve's book
    Do you mean this scene? This is just after the closing eyelid and just before Conductor 71 meets Dr Reeves and gives him the book.







    Actually I think that 1:08:06 is 1 hour 8 minutes and 6 seconds



    There were various other groups associated with the ARP & rescue teams. I presume that the "SP" on the helmet refers to one of those.



    Anyway, is that Wally in the "SP" helmet? And is it Leslie Dwyer next to him?



    Steve

  19. #179
    Senior Member Country: UK CaptainWaggett's Avatar
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    Doesn't look like Leslie Dwyer to me though and while he was never a star, I don't think he was doing non-speaking parts at this point .

  20. #180
    Super Moderator Country: England
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainWaggett
    Doesn't look like Leslie Dwyer to me though and while he was never a star, I don't think he was doing non-speaking parts at this point .
    True, though the same could also be said for Wally Patch; which begs the question; a cut sequence where they were talking, if the id is correct? I'll look at my copy tomorrow for a better view at the other chap.

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