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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
GUEST,Nicholas Waller BS: Seen any good movies lately? (578* d) RE: BS: Seen any good movies lately? 13 Sep 08


Don Firth -

Two of the films you mention with Roger Livesey - I Know Where I'm Going! and The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp - were made by Powell & Pressburger (whose non-Livesey films include The Red Shoes and Black Narcissus). If you liked them you should like A Matter of Life and Death aka Stairway to Heaven in the US, which stars David Niven and Kim Hunter, with Roger Livesey as a brain specialist.

Very specifically set over a few days over the end of WW2 in Europe, and in fact shot during the last part of 1945, it combines black and white (the "afterlife" - or is it?) and Technicolor (earth) and is about life, death, love, law and war and also Anglo-American relations (it was partly a propaganda film to show Americans why they should still like the Brits, even if we did have cricket and the Empire) and is my favourite film.

Blimp is another film I really like; one amazing thing about it is that it was shot in Technicolor in south east England during WW2. Decades of exposure to films set in WW2 but shot years afterwards maybe dull the impact, but when you see magazine front covers in the film dated 1943 that's not years ago, that's months or weeks before and the outcome of the war was not fully known. Similarly with the ruins of Canterbury in A Canterbury Tale; that's real bomb damage while the war was still on, filmed in 1943, not recreated production design.

Churchill, incidentally, tried to get Blimp banned; with its sympathetic German officer character (Anton Wallbrook) and its message that the Brits ought to stop being jolly good sporting warriors and fight (and interrogate) more like Nazis, plus the suspicion that the Blimp character was partly a portrait of Churchill, he thought it didn't send the right message.

For more on Livesey and his family - including the tidbit that he and his wife Ursula Jeans met Susan Hampshire as a 6-year old and wanted to adopt her - see http://www.powell-pressburger.org/Reviews/Livesey/JillWatt.html


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