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]

  Steve's Logo

The Home Guard, Picture Post and Colonel Blimp

In The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, when Clive Candy is building up The Home Guard, there are some pictures of him in a magazine called Picture Post. What was The Home Guard and what was Picture Post?

The Home Guard was formed in 1940 when the threat of invasion by Nazi Germany was very real. Initially known as the Local Defence Volunteers, their name was changed within a few months to The Home Guard. A volunteer, part time force of people who were ineligible for normal active service, too young, too old or in reserved occupations doing essential war work. The Home Guard was intended to protect Britain against invasion. Of course they couldn't protect very much for very long against the highly professional Nazi forces but they could delay any invasion for long enough for the regular forces to re-group and repulse any invasion.

Picture Post was a photo-journalist magazine published in Britain from 1938 - 1957. It was at the height of its popularity in the years leading up to World War II and through that war. It combined news with social comment, reporting on the major figures in the news as well as upon ordinary people.

In The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp we see editions of Picture Post showing Clive Candy at a Home Guard training camp and giving lectures to Home Guard units. These were based very closely on actual editions of the magazine, particularly the edition dated 21 September 1940 which included an article titled "The Home Guard Can Fight".

That article showed readers the activities at the Home Guard training school at Osterly Park and includes a page showing pictures and a short biography of each of the principal trainers. With a neat bit of "PhotoShop" (<G>) work the film-makers replaced the picture and biography of Tom Wintringham (top, left) with a picture and biography of Clive Candy.

Tom Wintringham was the WWI and Spanish Civil war veteran and Communist Party member that set up this Home Guard training school. Red Tom talked staunch conservative owner of the Picture Post (and of Upton Park), Edward G. Hulton, into supporting his ideas for the defence of Britain in those perilous days.

The magazine cover as used in the film showed Clive Candy and when a browser turned to the inside page we see the page showing "Some of the men at the Home Guard School" but with Clive Candy replacing Tom Wintringham.

Back to index