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c*** The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp
Picturegoer: July 24th 1943
The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943) G.F.D. Archers. British. "U" certificate.
Runs 163 minutes.
Written, produced and directed by
Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger.
Cast in order of appearance: Spud Wilson James McKechnie Stuffy Graves Neville Mapp Club Porter (1942) Vincent Holman Clive Candy Roger Livesey Hoppy David Hutcheson Period Blimp Spencer Trevor Colonel Betteridge Roland Culver Club Porter (1902) James Knight Edith Hunter Deborah Kerr Café Orchestra Leader Dennis Arundell Kaunitz David Ward Indignant Citizen Jan van Loewen von Schönborn Valentine Dyall ; von Reumann Carl Jaffé von Ritter Albert Lieven Colonel Goodhead Eric Maturin Baby-Face Fitzroy Frith Banbury Embassy Secretary Robert Harris Embassy Counsellor Arthur Wontner Colonel Berg Count Zichy Theo Kretschmar-Schuldorff Anton Walbrook Nurse Erna Jane Millican Frau von Kalteneck Ursula Jeans Pebble Phyllis Morris Sibyl Diana Marshall Aunt Margaret Muriel Aked Murdoch John Laurie Van Zijl Reginald Tate The Texan Captain W. Barrett
The Nun Yvonne Andre The Matron Marjorie Gresley Barbara Wynne Deborah Kerr The Bishop Felix Aylmer Mrs Wynne Helen Debroy Mr. Wynne Norman Pierce Major Davis Harry Welchman President of Tribunal A. E. Matthews Johnny Cannon Deborah Kerr BBC Official Edward Cooper Secretary Joan Swinstead The Sergeant Corporal Thomas Palmer
I can't enthuse about this picture which runs for over two hours and could well be shorteded but I must say that it has a great deal of merit in it and some very moving moments and from a production point of view is a credit to British studios.
The story concerns Candy, a young Boer War V.C., who goes to Berlin on his own initiative to try and counter anti-British propaganda.
He gets involved in a duel with a German officer. Both wounded they become friends.
The German marries a British governess, whom Candy only realises he has loved after he has lost her.
Comes the great war and Candy - now a colonel - gets through it, marries a girl who resembles his lost love and helps to get his German friend, now a prisoner-of-war, repatriated.
Candy after the war travels a lot, retires, comes back for World War 2 as a brigadier but is axed.
He meets his old German officer friend who has fled from Germany from the nazi regime and vouches for him.
But his humiliation comes when - having been made a general in the Home Guard - he is captured in the turkish baths in his club, before the zero hour in an exercise.
He threatens to break the officer concerned, but is calmed by his German friend and a driver in the ATS who resembles the girl he had lost at the beginning of the film.
The fallacy here is that in mock warfare some zero hour must be set because otherwise an exercise becomes null and void.
It is quite a different thing from jumping the gun in real warfare.
[Did this reviewer stay awake for the 163 minutes? They seem to have totally missed the point]
The Colonel Blimp of this picture has little or no relation to Low's caricature.
He seems a decent and quite sensible fellow and is interpreted remarkably well by Roger Livesey. The way he ages is a masterpiece both of make-up and acting.
Anton Walbrook is brilliant as the Uhlan officer who loathes the Nazi regime and urges ruthlessness in fighting Hitler.
Deborah Kerr plays the three roles of the governess, Blimp's wife and the ATS driver with distinction.
I found it interesting but a little tiring at times and not wholly credible.
[Interesting review, particularly the way he is so glib about a British officer having a German friend. Remember this was at the height of WW2 and the outcome, although looking optimistic, was far from certain]
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