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Michael Powell Centenary Walk 2005

Playlet #4 On Wickhambreaux village green
Characters in order of appearance:
Thomas Colpeper JP, played by Hylton Holt
Peter Gibbs, played by David Collard
Mrs Colpeper, played by Barbara Stannard

[Peter Gibbs has taken Colpeper up on his invitation to visit]

[Inside Colpeper's study]

Colpeper: Good afternoon, Sergeant.

Gibbs: How do you do, sir.

Colpeper: Do sit down. What will you drink? Beer, whisky or cider?

Gibbs: Oh, nothing for me.

Colpeper: You must have something.

Gibbs: Well, cider please.

Colpeper: How's the army going? I'm keeping busy from morning til night. It's a bit like your job. Are you a farmer in civilian life?

Gibbs: Me? No.

Colpeper: May I ask which part of the country you come from?

Gibbs: London. Not much material there for your lectures.

Colpeper: More there than anywhere. What about the British Museum?

Gibbs: Yes. I suppose it is pretty good.

Colpeper: Yes, Pretty good. It's only a day's walk from Chillingbourne.

Gibbs: What? Fifty miles? Some walk.

Colpeper: Not if you like walking. Do you like walking?

Gibbs: Not if I can help it. Why walk if there's a train?
I see, sir, you're interested in mountaineering?

Colpeper: Yes, I do a bit of it. I suppose you'd wait at the bottom until someone builds a funicular railway?

Gibbs: I say why climb to the top at all. What's wrong with the valley?

Colpeper: The answer's in yourself.

Gibbs: Your dead right. The trouble with this country is, every second man thinks he's born to be a missionary and every third man has a bee in his bonnet. Look at you! You don't mind?

Colpeper: No, of course not.

Gibbs: You're a gentleman farmer with a fine house. I'm sure you've got a first class farm and run it well. Yet the first chance you get, you go out climbing mountains or digging up stuff that 600 years ago was thrown out as junk.

Colpeper: No bee in your bonnet!

Gibbs: No. I've got my job. Thirty pounds a week. I've got my flat. I meet my friends when I want to meet them. That's good enough for me.

Colpeper: Don't you want a bigger flat? A better job? Forty pounds a week.

Gibbs: I've got the best job a man in my position can have.

Colpeper: May I ask, what is your job?

Gibbs: I'm an organist.

Colpeper: In St Paul's Cathedral?

Gibbs: No. In a cinema. West End. I'm a cinema organist. A good one.

Colpeper: I'm sure. Have you always wanted to be a cinema organist?

Gibbs: Not when I was a kid. I wanted to be a church organist. I studied for nine years. Then, luckily for me, I met a chap who told me about a job. A new theatre. Brand new organ. You see, I never really had the chance to play on any big organ. Except the one at the academy.

Colpeper: You never played a church organ?

Gibbs: Not a big one.

Colpeper: It seems to me, sergeant, there are two kinds of men. One who learns to play Bach and Handel and to play "I kiss your little hand, Madame" and the man who learns to walk step by step because one day he might climb Mount Everest.
There's not much to do in Chillingbourne. How do you find it?

Gibbs: I haven't seen much of it. I only arrived on Friday night.

Colpeper: I remember seeing you at my lecture with Miss Smith and our American Ally, Sergeant Johnson. Did you walk in together from the station?

Gibbs: Yes. I was with them when the attack took place.

Colpeper: This fellow must be quite a cool customer. About your height. As a matter of fact I happened to be about myself that night at the town hall. I was on fire guard.

Gibbs: Do you have to do fire watching?

Colpeper: Oh Yes. As well as Home Guard. Twice a week Home Guard and fire watching every eighth day.

Mrs Colpeper: Tom.

Colpeper: Yes mother?

Mrs Colpeper: The salvage boys are here again.

Colpeper: But they were here last week.

Mrs Colpeper: But they say it's a paper drive. But maybe it's my home made toffee. There are six boys and Ovenden's donkey.

Colpeper: I'll see to it.

Gibbs: Well I'm afraid I must be going now, Sir.

Colpeper: Nonsense. I'm enjoying our talk. Let's have another mug.

And by one of those lovely coincidences that we find so often, parked outside the pub, on the edge of the green, was the pickup truck marked "Ovenden". They're now in the earthmoving business. maybe they were back then as well. A donkey could be quite useful for all that donkey work.

See also Ian Court's video clips

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