THE LIFE AND DEATH OF COLONEL BLIMP (1943) C 163m dirs: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger

w/Roger Livesey, Deborah Kerr, Anton Walbrook, Roland Culver, James McKechnie, Albert Lieven, Arthur Wontner, David Hutcheson, Ursula Jeans, John Laurie

From The Movie Guide: "One of the most celebrated films from the extraordinary director-writer partnership of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, THE LIFE AND DEATH OF COLONEL BLIMP is a warm and wise work that displays extraordinary generosity of spirit. It tells the story of Clive Candy (Roger Livesey), a stuffy British soldier whose life is shown in episodes that range from 1902, when he had a dashing career as a young officer in the Boer War, to 1943, when he creaks crankily about in the London blitz, remembering his lost youth and loves. Not at all a war film in any conventional sense, but a character study that lingers with the viewer long after it's over.

"Roger Livesey ably portrays a character with a long and complex life as he is transformed by time and experience from the dashing young firebrand of the 1890s to the anachronistic old codger of the World War II era. The great old British warrior virtues of fair play and chivalry become quaint and inappropriate when faced with the modern horrors of war. Deborah Kerr is a joy to watch as she plays three different roles from different eras in the great man's life. Anton Walbrook (who would be even better a few years later in Powell and Pressburger's THE RED SHOES) is splendid as Theo Kretschmar-Schuldorff, the charming Prussian officer whom Clive fights in a duel and who far exceeds the young Briton in sensitivity and understanding.

"The title comes from the satiric character created by cartoonist David Low in the London Evening Standard, by which members of Britain's pompous and stiff military upper-crust came to be known as 'Colonel Blimps.' Churchill illegally prohibited the film's exportation for two years, citing its portrayal of a Colonel Blimp as 'detrimental to the morale of the Army.' Refusing to heed the advice of the Ministry of Information (which felt his position would do more harm than good), Churchill lifted the ban only after the film became such a smash commercial hit in England that its export could no longer be thwarted. Initially released in America in a butchered 93-minute version, the film was restored to its full length in 1986 by Britain's National Film Archive."