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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Submitted by Roger Mellor

The Films of Michael Powell and the Archers by Scott Salwolke

A Book Review by Graham Roberts

Scott Salwoke offers us a much more substantial book. The author has already written well on one British director (Nicholas Roeg: film by film, 1993). This new volume is a thoughtful consideration of the work of the Archers and Powell in particular. The later chapters, which dwell on the significance and legacy of Powell and Pressburger are particularly fine. Salwoke writes with style and grace. He also exhibits a love of his subject which is founded on a careful attempt to understand the work, its context and enduring value.

A possible criticism of The Films of Michael Powell and the Archers is that it is very dependent on secondary sources. Salwoke freely admits his debt to Christie's Arrows of Desire (1994), Kevin Gough-Yates' two 1970s books on Powell and, of course, Kevin MacDonald's Emeric Pressburger: the life and death of a scriptwriter. Another possible criticism is that Salwolke's book is too much reliant on Powell's A Life in Movies. However, if after reading this excellent volume, more readers are led towards Powell's excellent, humanistic cinema book, then so much the better.

The other main criticism of the book is that it does, as the title suggests, focus rather more on Powell than Pressburger. Readers may find this approach a little old-fashioned and leaning towards auteurism, particularly as Salwolke is dealing with what was so quintessentially a team. However, it is important to note that the author is keen to discuss Powell before and beyond his work with Pressburger. In doing so he deserves praise for illuminating the grand old man's career from a perspective that is rarely considered.

Salwolke's bibliography of material on individual films is invaluable. [Oh yes?] His filmography is extensive, accurate and well worth having. [Apart from all the errors. It's also essentially a copy of Ian Christie's filmography from ALIM] In short, this is a book which will not replace the major monographs available but will certainly add to them. Anyone interested in British cinema, particularly thinking of researching the subject, should be aware of this excellent book. [Aware of it, yes, so that they can avoid all the errors.]

Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television
August 1998 v18:n3. p453(2)

And now see what Steve thought of it.

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