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Thread: Michael Powell

  1. #21
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    name='charliekane']Yes Steve -



    I was aware of the missing stuff because it 'didn't move the story forward' but I see from PaPaS that it is thought that Micky himself made these cuts - under duress, I assume !

    I've never seen the opening animation but would be keen to see it for curiosity value alone - did any other film-makers have their work mucked about with as much as Powell and Pressburger, do you think - even if it was just a change of title ?


    It was under solme duress, but it was also because it wasn't released in the States until 1949. 5 years after it had been released here and a lot had happened in those 5 years. Remember as well that although it wasn't exactly a failure, it wasn't as much of a success as their other films in the same period had been - not with the public or with the critics. It's a slow burner and it's only over the intervening years that people have really come to appreciate it.





    They did have quite a few of their films mucked about with. But that's the price you pay for living on the edge and pushing back the frontiers



    The other big case of "mucking about" was with Gone to Earth. It was co-funded by David O. Selznick who thought that he could put Jennifer Jones into a British film and get a classier version of Lust in the Dust (aka Duel in the Sun).



    Selznick was always around while they were filming it - always sending in memos and taking lots of Benzedrine, and he saw a lot of the rushes and was quite happy with them. But when the final cut was made he decided that he wasn't happy with it and, being American, took The Archers to court. They won of course which added to Selznick's humiliation. But then he found that he had additional rights on the North American release and could get a modified version released.



    He looked around for a director to do it for him. Many of them looked at the film and told him that he shouldn't change a thing. But he insisted so he finally found someone who needed the money enough to do it.



    Consequently, he had the film re-edited and some extra scenes shot in Hollywood under director Rouben Mamoulian to make the version known as The Wild Heart (1952). Selznick's changes were mostly additions to the film: a prologue; scenes explaining things, often literally, by putting labels or inscriptions on them; and more close-ups of Jennifer Jones. The most infamous of the alterations are the scenes at the end when Jennifer is supposedly carrying a tame fox - in the additional scenes, she is carrying what is obviously a stuffed toy fox. Selznick also deleted a few scenes that he felt weren't dramatic enough, some of which were major plot points, so the story doesn't make as much sense as it does in the original film. In his autobiographies, Powell claimed that Selznick only left about 35 minutes of the original film, but, in fact, about two-thirds remains intact. Overall, Selznick cut the film's length by 28 minutes, from the original 110 minutes to 82 minutes.



    The original version of Gone to Earth was fully restored by the British Film Institute's National Archive in 1985. A New Statesman review claimed the restored film to be "One of the great British regional films" and, according to Powell's cinematographer, Christopher Challis, "one of the most beautiful films ever to be shot of the English countryside".



    Confusingly there are some video (and hence DVD) releases in the States titled The Wild Heart which are really the full film and it was shown on TV here under the title The Wild Heart but that was really Gone to Earth as well. The easiest way to tell them apart is that the version that Selznick mucked about with starts with a shot of the Selznick Mansion under the opening credits.



    It's a corny story - but it's a beautiful piece of film-making



    Steve

  2. #22
    Senior Member Country: UK charliekane's Avatar
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    I have to say I'm very fond of Gone to Earth - as you say, a beautiful film, with excellent music and such a great cast - Jennifer Jones, Cyril Cusack, David Farrar and all those smaller roles - Edward Chapman, Sybil Thorndike, George Cole, the wonderful Esmond Knight.



    Christopher Challis told me that he wasn't at all keen on working on any of the reshoots but that Powell asked him to do it so as to at least retain some sense of quality and continuity, and I dread to think how it might have turned out with someone else behind the camera. He also mentions in his own book how chaotic the situation was in Hollywood - which, I suspect, was pretty much standard for Selznick who just couldn't help interfering with everything he touched. How he ever managed to finish a film is beyond me.


  3. #23
    Senior Member Country: UK didi-5's Avatar
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    I never really took to The Wild Heart somehow - it made Gone to Earth into just a bit of period soap. But there's no denying that it looks great in whichever form.

  4. #24
    Senior Member Country: UK charliekane's Avatar
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    name='charliekane']I know, I know - Michael Powell must show up on this form every now and then, BUT -



    I am currently rewriting/expanding/updating my book on Powell, originally published in 1996, and looking for copies of any (or all !) of the following:

    Rynox

    Hotel Splendide

    His Lordship

    The Fire Raisers

    Something Always Happens

    Her Last Affaire

    Crown v Stevens

    The Man Behind the Mask

    An Airman's Letter to his Mother

    Smith

    Oh Rosalinda

    The Sorcerer's Apprentice

    The Queen's Guards

    Bluebeard's Castle

    and - is They're a Weird Mob available other than as part of the PP box set ?

    Ta all !


    Thank you thank you thank you (or, put another way, Ay thang yew) to all those kind people who have helped me with this and pointed me in the right direction. As a POSITIVELY FINAL plea, can I just run around everyone once more to see if anyone has any of the following:



    Hotel Splendide

    Smith

    The Queens Guards

    Bluebeard's Castle (managed to see the first 10 minutes or so on Youtube)

    The Volunteer

    Luna di Miel (Honeymoon) -

    and the BBC Arena programme on Powell from around 1990 ? I'm almost sure I have a VHS of it somewhere but can't for the life of me lay hands on it.



    Thanks again !!

  5. #25
    Senior Member Country: UK CaptainWaggett's Avatar
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    The Volunteer is on the Criterion 49th Parallel

  6. #26
    Senior Member HUGHJAMPTON's Avatar
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    name='charliekane']Thank you thank you thank you (or, put another way, Ay thang yew) to all those kind people who have helped me with this and pointed me in the right direction. As a POSITIVELY FINAL plea, can I just run around everyone once more to see if anyone has any of the following:





    and the BBC Arena programme on Powell from around 1990 ? I'm almost sure I have a VHS of it somewhere but can't for the life of me lay hands on it.



    Thanks again !!


    Used to be on YouTube, but now available here, in it's entiriety Videos Posted by Black Narcissus (1947): Arena documentary -- Powell & Pressburger: Part 1 | Facebook

  7. #27
    Senior Member Country: UK charliekane's Avatar
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    name='HUGHJAMPTON']Used to be on YouTube, but now available here, in it's entiriety Videos Posted by Black Narcissus (1947): Arena documentary -- Powell & Pressburger: Part 1 | Facebook


    Thanks but I have that one 'A Pretty British Affair' - this was another Arena programme produced after Michael's death,with interviews from Kathleen Byron, Cyril Cusack, Thelma Schoonmaker etc.

  8. #28
    Senior Member HUGHJAMPTON's Avatar
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    name='charliekane']Thanks but I have that one 'A Pretty British Affair' - this was another Arena programme produced after Michael's death,with interviews from Kathleen Byron, Cyril Cusack, Thelma Schoonmaker etc.


    Sorry, Charlie, didn't notice the date

  9. #29
    Senior Member Country: UK charliekane's Avatar
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    name='CaptainWaggett']The Volunteer is on the Criterion 49th Parallel


    I'm guessing this is Region 1 ? Don't think I can play them..............

  10. #30
    Senior Member Country: UK CaptainWaggett's Avatar
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    name='charliekane']I'm guessing this is Region 1 ? Don't think I can play them..............


    You can get a multi-region player for c�20 on Amazon if that helps. The Criterion Powell and Pressburger discs are all superb - have you really not bought them? Or you can just download VLC and watch any region dvds on your PC for free.

  11. #31
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    name='CaptainWaggett']The Volunteer is on the Criterion 49th Parallel


    There's also the Fleet Air Arm DVD, At War & Peace.



    The Volunteer, 1943. Ralph Richardson, very brief appearences by Michael Powell and Laurence Olivier.

    Eagles of the Fleet, 1950. Ralph Richardson narrates.

    Floating Fortress, 1959. Associate Producer, one Michael Winner.



    It is pretty is interesting if you are into this sort of thing.

  12. #32
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    name='charliekane']Thanks but I have that one 'A Pretty British Affair' - this was another Arena programme produced after Michael's death,with interviews from Kathleen Byron, Cyril Cusack, Thelma Schoonmaker etc.
    Hello "Charlie",

    I don't know of an edition of Arena about P&P (or just P) from 1990.



    There was an obituary piece in the BBC's The Late Show in 1990 with Jack Cardiff & Derek Jarman saying nice things about the old fellow. The Late Show was the main BBC arts show at the time. In 1992 they also did the Missing, Believed Lost programme to coincide with the release of the BFI's book. The Late Show also did a special on Micky to coincide with the posthumous publication of Million Dollar Movie.





    As for the others on your list, apart from The Volunteer as already mentioned, none of the others have ever been released commercially.



    Luna de miel (aka Honeymoon) was shown once, a long time ago, on British TV. But that was in the cut-down version. The cuts are nearly all in the dance sequences which leave it as mainly just a travelogue. The restored version is much better balanced.



    The Queen's Guards has to be seen to be believed - how bad it is. See my review from when I saw it in San Sebastian in 2002. I've seen it again since then and have no reason to soften the review.



    In January 2008 Thelma introduced Herzog Blaubarts Burg (aka Bluebeard's Castle) in LA and said that they were hoping for a Criterion DVD of Oh... Rosalinda!! which should include Bluebeard. But since then they've been distracted by the restoration of The Red Shoes and other major P&P films



    Steve

  13. #33
    Senior Member Country: England
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    name='charliekane'] can I just run around everyone once more to see if anyone has any of the following:



    Luna di Miel (Honeymoon) -


    I recorded this on VHS back in the late 1980s when it was shown on BBC1 and I transfered it onto a DVD about five years ago. Unfortunately, it's as Steve says - heavily edited, it's was shown in pan-and-scan (apart from the opening credits), and the overall picture quality isn't great. I've been on the lookout for a commercial release of this film myself in its restored form.



    However, if you're interested in the broadcast version, I'll try and dig it out and make you a copy.

  14. #34
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    name='Carl V']I recorded this on VHS back in the late 1980s when it was shown on BBC1 and I transfered it onto a DVD about five years ago. Unfortunately, it's as Steve says - heavily edited, it's was shown in pan-and-scan (apart from the opening credits), and the overall picture quality isn't great. I've been on the lookout for a commercial release of this film myself in its restored form.


    My favourite scene from it is the Flamenco that Antonio and Carmen do at the Tavern del Torro.



    Kit & Anna drive by and offer Antonio a lift. Anna declares she is hungry & and Antonio says he knows where they can get a good Spanish breakfast. They drive in to the "Tavern del Toro" where Antonio is known and start to eat a wonderful breakfast. Antonio thinks he has seen Anna before but she says that this is her first trip to Spain. One old lady pushes forward her daughter (granddaughter?) who she wants to dance for Antonio. Lucia (Carmen Rojas) dances the "El Macarona (?)" flamenco but then Antonio asks the musicians to play "El Taranto" to really see what she can do. After a short while Antonio joins her and there follows some of the sexiest dancing I've ever seen on screen.



    Rosita turns up at the end of the flamenco and another argument ensues so Kit & Anna slip away.





    There's a not very good quality version of it on YouTube, but it gives you a good idea of the style of the film



    [nomedia="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZDeYigl_XlI"]YouTube- ANTONIO and ROSARIO[/nomedia]



    Steve

  15. #35
    Senior Member Country: UK charliekane's Avatar
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    name='Carl V']I recorded this on VHS back in the late 1980s when it was shown on BBC1 and I transfered it onto a DVD about five years ago. Unfortunately, it's as Steve says - heavily edited, it's was shown in pan-and-scan (apart from the opening credits), and the overall picture quality isn't great. I've been on the lookout for a commercial release of this film myself in its restored form.



    However, if you're interested in the broadcast version, I'll try and dig it out and make you a copy.




    Yes I saw and recorded it at the same time, but it's since been lost somewhere - if you can find it I'd be glad to see it again although I don't recall it as being too thrilling. However, all in the name of research................

  16. #36
    Senior Member Country: UK charliekane's Avatar
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    name='Steve Crook']Hello "Charlie",

    I don't know of an edition of Arena about P&P (or just P) from 1990.



    There was an obituary piece in the BBC's The Late Show in 1990 with Jack Cardiff & Derek Jarman saying nice things about the old fellow. The Late Show was the main BBC arts show at the time. In 1992 they also did the Missing, Believed Lost programme to coincide with the release of the BFI's book. The Late Show also did a special on Micky to coincide with the posthumous publication of Million Dollar Movie.





    Steve




    It could well have been the 1992 Late Show special as opposed to Arena - do you know if that featured Kathleen Byron, Cyril Cusack etc ?

  17. #37
    Senior Member Country: UK charliekane's Avatar
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    Oh, and I almost forgot - does anyone have a copy of The Boy Who Turned Yellow ?

    Thanks

  18. #38
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    name='Steve Crook']My favourite scene from it is the Flamenco that Antonio and Carmen do at the Tavern del Torro.



    Kit & Anna drive by and offer Antonio a lift. Anna declares she is hungry & and Antonio says he knows where they can get a good Spanish breakfast. They drive in to the "Tavern del Toro" where Antonio is known and start to eat a wonderful breakfast. Antonio thinks he has seen Anna before but she says that this is her first trip to Spain. One old lady pushes forward her daughter (granddaughter?) who she wants to dance for Antonio. Lucia (Carmen Rojas) dances the "El Macarona (?)" flamenco but then Antonio asks the musicians to play "El Taranto" to really see what she can do. After a short while Antonio joins her and there follows some of the sexiest dancing I've ever seen on screen.



    Rosita turns up at the end of the flamenco and another argument ensues so Kit & Anna slip away.


    Yes I remember the scene well Steve. Another scene I recall quite well is when Antonio's girlfriend drives off in the car and leaves him stranded. He then dances the "zapateado" (I think that's spelt correctly) until he's picked up by Kit and Anna in their car. I think this is before the breakfast scene you were mentioning.



    Charlie - I know it'll be somewhere in the cupboard. If you can give me a couple of days or so, I'll dig it out and make a copy. Bearing in mind it was recorded over 20 years ago, it won't be great quality and the picture wasn't brilliant even when originally broadcast. Although I liked the film, it wasn't Michael Powell's best. However, if I ever see the film in its full version (in widescreen), then I dare say I'll enjoy it much more.

  19. #39
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    name='Steve Crook']There's a not very good quality version of it on YouTube, but it gives you a good idea of the style of the film



    YouTube- ANTONIO and ROSARIO



    Steve


    Hey thanks! You should nag the rights holders again.



    EDIT: Er, aha, I got the impression Antonio was a tad feeling horny in that shot. I noted the Vic Reeves' stylee trouser rubbing...

  20. #40
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    name='charliekane']Oh, and I almost forgot - does anyone have a copy of The Boy Who Turned Yellow ?

    Thanks


    I have the following my Michael Powell:



    Herzog Blaubarts Burg aka Bluebeard's Castle

    Lazybones

    Oh Rosalinda! - letterbox print

    Rynox

    Something Always Happens

    The Boy Who Turned Yellow

    The Fire Raisers

    The Love Test

    The Phantom Light

    Michael Powell - BBC Late Show Special

    Michael Powell - South Bank Show Special



    PM me if interested in any of them,



    Neil

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