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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.

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AMOLAD at the Phoenix, Oxford - with Jack Cardiff
6 June 1999

Well many thanks to Richard Layne for spotting the announcements for this event.

As I may have (occasionally) mentioned in the past, AMOLAD is my favourite of the P&P canon and having the mighty Jack Cardiff (now in his 85th year) present and offering to discuss it as well - wonderful.

I got there about 30 minutes before it was due to start and Jack and his entourage arrived shortly after I did. I managed a few quick words with him after introducing myself by saying "Do you mind if I worship at your feet?" :)

I was having a quick cup of coffee and a cigarette outside & got chatting to this lovely French lady who I'd seen in Jack's entourage. She's doing a thesis on P&P so I told her to stay in touch - here's hoping :)
[She is Natacha Thiery, now a PaPAS member, doing a thesis at Oxford but now back in Paris]

Richard spotted me and after sorting out our tickets (they'd lost mine again !! But they found it eventually) we all trooped inside.

A good turn out. It looked quite full (about 50 or so peoples).

Jack was introduced and we sat back to enjoy the film (after a glitch at the start). It was the BFI restored print so lovely quality. There was something a fraction odd about the sound though. I didn't time it but it was almost as if they were a fraction more basso as if it were running very slightly slow.

Afterwards and after a rousing round of applause, Jack took a seat at the front and the Manager asked for questions.

Nobody else looked like starting so I leapt in with "Jack, did you get into much trouble with Technicolor over this & BN?" That gave his a good chance to tell us all about how he was chosen for the Technicolor training and how strictly they regulated any use of it in the early days.

There were a few other questions and then we retired to the bar upstairs where, after a bit of confusion, Jack signed copies of Magic Hour and he also signed my copy of the AMOLAD book (what a hero !!)

He has got a copy himself but wasn't 100% sure about the story behind it's publication. He confirmed that all the major members of the cast & crew were given copies though.

We then settled back for a more relaxed (over a glass or two) Q&A session. I asked him particularly about the Camera Obscura - he confirmed it was a pure studio shot and he said he was pretty sure (it WAS over 50 years ago) that he'd had the idea after seeing one in Portmeirion (where they filmed "The Prisoner" that weird Patrick McGoohan TV series). I also asked about that shot where David, Marius & Roger walk through the glass panelled door from the operating theatre back to where Kim is waiting. I'd always admired it and had never heard anyone else comment on it. I thought it was almost done too well and hardly anyone noticed it. [It was really a clever piece of matte work, the door frame wasn't really there, it was filled in later, frame by frame.]

It wasn't just me asking though, others were asking questions about Monroe, Loren, Hitcock, The African Queen and much more.

While we were milling around in the bar I went to thank the manager for organising it and he pointed out the person who'd really organised it - the lovely French lady who I'd been speaking too earlier :) So I thanked her and asked her again to get in touch - here's hoping.

It appears that this was really just the final event in a 2 or 3 day event for French film students - a lot of it had a P&P angle. I had been puzzled by the number of French people there.

Ian Christie had given a talk on "How others see us" and there were various other things. Richard spotted the poster for them all as he left - I'd be interested in what they got up to but my French is nowhere near enough to have joined in.

All in all a lovely time was had by all - well I certainly enjoyed it :)


Jack signing away The Phoenix Cinema, Oxford
Jack Cardiff The Phoenix

Other P&P trips