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]
A Message from Finland
From: Hannu Björkbacka
Hannu emailed me in response to the request for people interested in a 2nd edition of Paul's ACT book. I emailed back, mentioning Aila, Pohjolan tytär (1951) the film directed by Jack Witikka, that Michael Powell produced in Finland.
Hannu replied saying:
~( ;^) ~ Hi, Steve!
I have browsed your site from time to time, but because I'm reading the autobiographies and seeing and collecting all the available P & P films on DVD (great to have 49th parallel out, now how about One of our aircraft... on DVD?), I've yet to discover all the wonderful info on your site.
I saw AMOLAD as a child - but it went 20 years before I noticed, reading Sight and Sound, whose film it was! I'm a self-taught enthusiast, and this month completed giving a course on film history using only the best DVD sources as film examples, and of course I tried to include as much P & P "propaganda" as possible into the lectures to influence my young audience!
It's nice to know that the Finnish angle to Powell is so widely known. However, did you know, that the knife that hits the floor in the Red Shoes ballet is a Finnish knife from Lapland? The knife was given to Powell as a present from Finnish director Jack Witikka, who was also present at the opening night in London.
Mr. Witikka (who died this year) was interviewed in a two hour radio programme (which I have on tape) by the well-known Finnish film expert Peter von Bagh two weeks after Mr. Powell had died. They talked about Powell and the movies and especially the Finnish connection with Jack Witikka. After listening the programme and learning about the last film project that was on Mr. Powell's mind (filming Poe's The Fall of the House of Usher in Finland, at the Hvitträsk manor built by Eliel Saarinen and other Finnish architects 1901-1903 - where Akseli Gallen-Kallela and Maksim Gorky used to stay) and his love of Dylan Thomas, I sent Mr. Witikka a tape of John Cale's Dylan Thomas songs (Words for the Dying). After that we were in contact by letters and telephone during his last years. Witikka made a number of quality films, but mostly he is rememberd as a theatre director, bringing the modern plays of Becket and others first time to the Finnish stage.
My other "contact" to Powell - who visited The Midnight Sun Film Festival in Sodankylä once with Mrs. Schoonmaker-Powell - was sending a telegram to Thelma after learning about Powell's death while reading the first part of the autobiography. Mrs. Schoonmaker-Powell kindly sent me an invitation to St. James's Church for the service in memory of Michael Powell. Unfortunately I did not know as a Finn what that kind of a service actually meant, so I only sent a "thank you" note. Only after Thelma sent me clippings of the event it dawned me what a fool I was blaming my work schedule and not taking a trip to London "in memory of Michael Powell"!
http://www.nba.fi/MUSEUMS/HVITTR from this link you can find a nice picture of Hvitträsk.
All the best, and thank you for you continuing work on P & P.
(Hannu Bjürkbacka, Kokkola, Finland)