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.
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Submitted by Nicky Smith
By: Nicky Smith
Just back from an utterly splendid day at Canterbury although I will leave the star-studded gossip to Steve since he spent yesterday hobnobbing with the rich and famous. I arrived only just in time as we were 'detrained' at Faversham for an hour and a half owing to a fallen tree just outside Canterbury (sadly it wasn't at Selling, the next station along the line which is the real Chillingbourne station. So my carefully laid plans to look round Canterbury went awry and I had to run to the cinema where Steve, Lou Volpe and Neal Lofthouse were already there. The cinema was almost full and it was pretty large so I guess there must have been about 250 people which is pretty amazing for 11.00am. John Sweet is still very thin and upright and Sheila Sim is still recognisable and very pretty. Never having seen the film on the big screen before, it was a revelation - as usual when you see a Pnp film at the cinema you spot all sorts of extra things. This was especially noticeable having been on the recent location tour. After the show there was a little presentation of flowers to the stars and we adjourned to the lobby to see Paul Tritton sell lots more books and to get our books signed. Despite having signed about 500 books since he arrived in the country yesterday morning, John Sweet was still charming enough to tell every one how pleased he was they could come and, rather nicely, he still signs 'Sgt John Sweet'.
After watching a bit of signing, about 50 of us adjourned to the Powell Building of the new Uni for a buffet and I got Sheila Sim's autograph. Chatted to lots of people, and found myself sandwiched between 2 failed Eric Portman biographers ! One was the lady I had met at CHilham who is now writing a book about the fire service during the war, and the other was a chap who put an ad in the Stage magazine and had an 'interesting' response. Thet had both had very similar responses from (different) people - people's memories just seemed to become very bad when when Portman was mentioned (including John Mills' which is interesting for a man who currently has a one-man show of film reminiscences).
Then it was off to the Marlowe Theatre (where ACT had its premiere) to see a plaque unveiled by John Sweet and Sheila Sim and more chatting. Steve and I found ourselves talking to Lady Freyburg who was a friend of Emeric for many years and in fact sold him Shoemakers Cottage. She was absolutely fascinating so we took her to tea (well, Steve paid !) in those tea-rooms by the cathedral gate (where Bob Johnson and Mick have tea) and we had scones (we drew the line at rock buns !) which seemed the proper thing. Lady Freyburg was most interesting - she seemed to have been a very close friend of Emeric, ever going to football matches with him, (she had lived next door to him in Eaton Place I think) and he seemed far closer to her family than to his own. She also mentioned seeing Leo Marks regularly at the Chelsea Arts Club. She was very keen on the idea of a blue plaque for Emeric and would certainly be a formidable ally :-). One interesting point - she advised us to look at Nicholas Shakespeare's biog of Bruce Chatwin which apparently has a lot about Emeric.
Then we went next door to the Cathedral for a look round. Steve persuaded an attendant to let us stand on the steps recreated in the famous photo of MP and EP in the studio mock up - it was amazing to see how accurate the studio cathedral was, down to the smallest carving. Plus looking at all the OT cathedral things like the Thomas A Becket shrine and the fabulous crypt (not yet converted into a tearoom !).
Altogether it was a fabulous day and having now actually read it, I can definitely recommend Paul Tritton's book which is a simply marvellous piece of research with loads of stuff you won't find anywhere else.
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