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The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943)

Passed  |   |  Drama, Romance, War  |  4 May 1945 (USA)
8.2
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 9,434 users  
Reviews: 78 user | 91 critic

From the Boer War through World War II, a soldier rises through the ranks in the British military.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
James McKechnie ...
Neville Mapp ...
Stuffy Graves
Vincent Holman ...
Club Porter (1942)
...
David Hutcheson ...
Hoppy
Spencer Trevor ...
Period Blimp
Roland Culver ...
Colonel Betteridge
James Knight ...
Club Porter (1902)
...
Edith Hunter / Barbara Wynne / Johnny Cannon
Dennis Arundell ...
Café Orchestra Leader
David Ward ...
Kaunitz
Jan Van Loewen ...
Indignant Citizen
Valentine Dyall ...
von Schönborn
Carl Jaffe ...
von Reumann (as Carl Jaffé)
Albert Lieven ...
von Ritter
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Storyline

Portrays in warm-hearted detail the life and loves of one extraordinary man. We meet the imposingly rotund General Clive Wynne-Candy, a blustering old duffer who seems the epitome of stuffy, outmoded values. Traveling backwards 40 years we see a different man altogether: the young and dashing officer "Sugar" Candy. Through a series of relationships with three women and his lifelong friendship with a German officer, we see Candy's life unfold and come to understand how difficult it is for him to adapt his sense of military honor to modern notions of "total war." Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A Lusty Lifetime of Love and Adventure in Lavish Technicolor (US Lobby Card tag) See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance | War

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

4 May 1945 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Colonel Blimp  »

Box Office

Budget:

£200,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Microphonic Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to the directors, the idea for the film did not come from the comic strip by David Low, but from a scene cut from their previous film, One of Our Aircraft Is Missing (1942), in which an elderly member of the crew tells a younger one, "You don't know what it's like to be old." See more »

Goofs

The position of the two decks of cards on the card table changes from one position at the time the nurse picks up the table to move it to another when she sets it down. See more »

Quotes

Colonel Betteridge: Can't imagine anything more awful than to be a prisoner of war in England.
Mr. Wynne: Was the cooking good?
Theo: [pause] It was English cooking.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The lead actors' names are sewn onto a tapestry-like picture, written on scrolls. This opening credits "needlework tapestry" was completed by the Royal College of Needlework. See more »

Connections

Featured in Maltin on Movies: Trance (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Zampa
(excerpt)
Music by Ferdinand Hérold
See more »

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User Reviews

 
pacy, breathless brilliance since unparalleled on the big screen
7 July 2001 | by (Belfast UK) – See all my reviews

Neither war films nor romances rate amongst my favourite film genres. Colonel Blimp is both of these and has to rate as my runaway favourite film. Made in 1943 by the irreplaceable icons of British film making Powell and Pressburger it displays a pacy breathless brilliance since unparalleled on the big screen.

The film follows the life and times of General Wynne-Candy from when he is an idealistic young officer returned on leave from the Boer War through to his retirement as an anachronistic and obdurate Major General.

The film is structured in three acts set in the aftermath of the Boer War, the first world war and the present (at the time of making the film) the height of the 2nd World War. But it is not just an examination of these conflicts. Its real power lies in Candy's pursuit of his ideal woman throughout each of these stages. All three women are played beautifully by Deborah Kerr who never surpassed the power of her performance in this film.

The other constant in the film is Anton Wallbrooks character of the sympathetic German with whom Candy builds a lifelong friendship and ultimately is probably Candy's only ever really satisfying relationship throughout his life.

For me the film operates on many complex levels. The romantic element is as affecting as anything you are likely to witness in the cinema. It achieves everything in the unrequited love department a la "the remains of the day" in a fraction of the time and as only part of the overall plot.

It deals with the moral complexities of war in a way that will have you debating the issues in your mind long after you have seen the film. This particular theme reaches its climax towards the end of the film when Candy is "retired" by the war ministry probably as a result of his outdated approach to strategy for the 2nd World War. Anton Wallbrook then delivers a setpiece speech which starkly outlines the evils of Nazism and the necessity to use any means to defeat it for the sake of freedom and humanity for coming generations.

Colonel Blimp with its pristine performances, absorbing plot, dazzling colour photography and economic flawless script easily gives Citizen Kane a good run for its money as the best film of all time.


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