powell (and pressburger)

owen

Well-known member
ok, so there's a retrospective at the NFT of (along with lindsay anderson and nic roeg) the only proper film director(s) this foul isle has ever produced. so what should i see? have already seen canterbury tale, i know where i'm going, and a matter of life and death (about 8 times in the latter case)

also general powell discussion appreciated!
 

mind_philip

saw the light
I think the opening sequence in Canterbury Tale where a hawk turns into a spitfire or similar fighter is far better than the more famous bone-to-spaceship sequence in 2001.
 

Woebot

Administrator
Staff member
ive seen practically all their films.

black narcissus is probably the one that keeps its relevance most (a post-colonial text innit)

but these are also great and i suppose it's their twee englishness that charms:

matter of life and death (david niven as bomber pilot who was supppsed to have died but the angel who was supposed to bring him to heaven fucks up. in the meantime he falls in love with a "gel", this chubby bird who could ONLY be a 1940s pin-up, she looks like a primary school teacher. and cos he's fallen in love he cant nnow be taken away. still it all hangs in the balance. cue nutty sets etc:




colonel blimp lovely technicolour romp about how the old guard in the army once had feelings. most implausible piece of propaganda ever. bit overlong.



red shoes many see this as their masterpiece. and actually owen i think you'll like it a lot. very overwrought. kind of a film opera if i remember.

i know where i'm going
romantic bizness set in mull. precursor to local hero and all that.

all the above from their "classic period" of the 1940s.

peeping tom much later (1960) powell on his own but really "important" for the kitchen sink lot and kind of fascinating.



asonished to see just how many they made
 

Diggedy Derek

Stray Dog
Great post, although I'm not sure Peeping Tom was important for the Kitchen Sink lot. Indeed P&P are generally seen as diametrically opposed to British realist drama- they use colour and studios extensively for a start, but their general flights-of-fantasy aesthetic is miles away from the proverbial kitchen sink.

I love Peeping Tom, that's a film that (as per comments above) feels wholly unreal to start with, and there's something ridiculous about the posh british voices, but an extraordinarily dark and troubling film.
 

henrymiller

Well-known member
probably perversely, i think i prefer their b/w work: 'the spy in black', 'canterbury tale', and especially 'the small back room'. 'peeping tom' was hated on, not least by the kitchen sink brigade.
 

jed_

Well-known member
I'm Not sure if this is only on in Scotland - check your local TV Listings.


SUNDAY 14 AUGUST


ArtWorks Scotland

10:00pm - 10:30pm

BBC2 Scotland



Michael Powell

Series focusing on contemporary Scottish art. As the Edinburgh Film Festival prepares to celebrate the centenary of Michael Powell's birth, filmmakers as diverse as Martin Scorsese, Alan Parker, George Romero, Baz Luhrmann and Bertrand Tavernier line up to celebrate his work and pick up their favourite moments from an amazing career which includes the films The Red Shoes, Black Narcissus and Peeping Tom.
 

Woebot

Administrator
Staff member
Diggedy Derek said:
Great post, although I'm not sure Peeping Tom was important for the Kitchen Sink lot. Indeed P&P are generally seen as diametrically opposed to British realist drama- they use colour and studios extensively for a start, but their general flights-of-fantasy aesthetic is miles away from the proverbial kitchen sink.

(scratches head) it was important to SOME band of new wavers?!? who dem?

henrymiller said:
probably perversely, i think i prefer their b/w work: 'the spy in black', 'canterbury tale', and especially 'the small back room'. 'peeping tom' was hated on, not least by the kitchen sink brigade.

c'mon henrymiller. help me out. who WAS it "seminal" for. kitchen sink literaly off the top of my head.
 

henrymiller

Well-known member
among filmmakers and critics p&p were reviled till the mid-sixties, and even then it took a lot of effort to make them atall hot. the minority interest 'motion' (1963)and 'movie' magazines wrote favourable things. this piece by raymond durgnat (1965) is the first major article of praise. i think they had a cult following in france also.

among british filmmakers, maybe roeg (and boorman?) was influenced; but the most conspicuously influenced (haha glad sinkah doesn't read this!) were neil jordan, derek jarman, sally potter -- all from the mid-70s. and of course there's scorsese, his true heir.
 

Woebot

Administrator
Staff member
henrymiller said:
(haha glad sinkah doesn't read this!)

presumably sinker would have dealings with ian christie in his capacity (though i expect id have to ask him myself ;)). thats a nice book christie wrote.
 

JimO'Brien

Active member
Powell's autobiography - A Life in Movies - is also well worth a read. There was a follow up - Million Dollar Movie - which is not as good.
 

RobinCarmody

New member
I'm rather fond of Gone to Earth, not least because of how voluminous it makes the (much-neglected in film and television - the latter possibly because so few location dramas were ever made by ITV companies based purely in Birmingham) Marches appear.

P&P generally were hugely important to me, back when I discovered them aged 14. I think the key point has always been the juxtaposition of the intense Englishness of some of their films' theoretical subject matter, with the intense *un-Englishness* of the way they look and feel ... it fits with my vision of this country as truly European.
 

owen

Well-known member
yes yes, there is something very european about their sensuality, their luxuriating in image....

great to see you here by the way!
 

Onegin

New member
I love the way that it was the very staid and English Michael Powell who always sought for the more exotic, European flourishes, while Hungarian Emeric Pressburger was the main one responsible for the very English feel of their films. I think it's significant that A Canterbury Tale isn't Powell's favourite - though set in and a celebration of Kent - but Pressburger's!
 
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