The Masters  
The Powell & Pressburger Pages

Dedicated to the work of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger and all the other people, both actors and technicians who helped them make those wonderful films.

A lot of the documents have been sent to me or have come from other web sites. The name of the web site is given where known. If I have unintentionally included an image or document that is copyrighted or that I shouldn't have done then please email me and I'll remove it.

I make no money from this site, it's purely for the love of the films.

[Any comments are by me (Steve Crook) and other members of the email list]

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Powell & Pressburger - Frequently Asked Questions

5. British English
The films of Powell and Pressburger were made in Britain and some terms that are used may need explanation.

  • Schools :-
    In England the first schools were Church schools and only there to teach people who were going to become clergymen (this was way back in the dim & distant past). The first non-church schools were set up by various worthies so that anyone could get an education. These were called "Public Schools". I say anyone, but really mean "anyone who could afford it". Most offered grants to help pay the way for those who could prove their worth by passing an entrance exam. Those who do are usually known as "scholars". Michael Powell was a scholar at King's School, Canterbury.
    So when the state set up the first schools where everything was paid for by the state they decide to call them "Private Schools" (because they weren't Public Schools)

  • Money
    The films were made in the days before the current decimal system.
    The main unit of currency in the UK is the pound (written £ for libra).
    We now have 100 pence making 1 pound. (£1 = 100p)
    In the old days the pound was divided into 20 shillings (£1 = 20/-)
    and the shilling was divided into 12 pence. (1/- = 12d)
    So 240 pennies (240d) were equal to £1
    Some prices were given in Guineas. This was £1 1/-
    Other coins & amounts that you might see mentioned under the old system include
    • Guinea - One pound and one shilling.
    • Quid - another name for a pound
    • Half a crown - coin with value 2/6
    • Bob - another name for a shilling
    • Tanner - small coin with value 6d
    • Thupenny bit - even smaller coin with value 3d (three pence or "thruppence")
      Also used in rhyming slang :)

    A Quote from IKWIG
    Just after Joan & Torquil have spoken to the people on the island of Kiloran by radio telephone at the Post Office and Joan has offered the Postmistress a pound note to pay for the calls. The Postmistress shies away saying "Ooh I can not change that" so Torquil pays with a few coins.

    As Joan and Torquil walk away down the street ...
    Torquil: She wouldn't see a pound note from one pensions day to another.
    Joan: People around here are very poor I suppose.
    Torquil: Not poor, they just haven't got money.
    Joan: It's the same thing.
    Torquil: Oh no, it's something quite different.

    The start of Joan's education :)