IMDb > The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943)
The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp
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The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943) More at IMDbPro »

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Overview

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8.1/10   8,471 votes »
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Down 29% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Writers:
Michael Powell (written by) &
Emeric Pressburger (written by)
Contact:
View company contact information for The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
4 May 1945 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
A Lusty Lifetime of Love and Adventure in Lavish Technicolor (US Lobby Card tag) See more »
Plot:
From the Boer War through World War II, a soldier rises through the ranks in the British military. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
3 wins See more »
NewsDesk:
(86 articles)
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User Reviews:
Powell's Masterpiece See more (77 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Roger Livesey ... Clive Candy

Deborah Kerr ... Edith Hunter / Barbara Wynne / Johnny Cannon
Anton Walbrook ... Theo Kretschmar-Schuldorff
Roland Culver ... Col. Betteridge
James McKechnie ... Spud Wilson
Albert Lieven ... von Ritter
Arthur Wontner ... Embassy Counsellor
David Hutcheson ... Hoppy
Ursula Jeans ... Frau von Kalteneck

John Laurie ... Murdoch
Harry Welchman ... Major Davies
Reginald Tate ... van Zijl
A.E. Matthews ... President of Tribunal
Carl Jaffe ... von Reumann (as Carl Jaffé)
Valentine Dyall ... von Schönborn
Muriel Aked ... Aunt Margaret
Felix Aylmer ... The Bishop
Frith Banbury ... Baby-Face Fitzroy
Neville Mapp ... Stuffy Graves
Vincent Holman ... Club Porter (1942)
Spencer Trevor ... Period Blimp
James Knight ... Club Porter (1902)
Dennis Arundell ... Café Orchestra Leader
David Ward ... Kaunitz
Jan Van Loewen ... Indignant Citizen
Eric Maturin ... Col. Goodhead
Robert Harris ... Embassy Secretary
Theodore Zichy ... Col. Borg (as Count Zichy)
Jane Millican ... Nurse Erna
Phyllis Morris ... Pebble
Diana Marshall ... Sybil Hopwell
W.H. Barrett ... The Texan (as Capt. W.H. Barrett U.S. Army)
Thomas Palmer ... The Sergeant (as Corp. Thomas Palmer U.S. Army)
Yvonne Andre ... The Nun (as Yvonne Andrée)
Marjorie Gresley ... The Matron
Helen Debroy ... Mrs.Wynne
Norman Pierce ... Mr. Wynne
Edward Cooper ... B.B.C. Official
Joan Swinstead ... Secretary
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
John Boxer ... Soldier (uncredited)
Erik ... Cocker Spaniel (1920) (uncredited)
Ian Fleming ... Maj. Plumley (1902) (uncredited)
Desmond Jeans ... Barman (uncredited)

Patrick Macnee ... Extra (uncredited)
Ferdy Mayne ... Prussian Student (uncredited)
Pat McGrath ... Cpl. Tommy Tucker (uncredited)
Ronald Millar ... Sgt Hawkins (uncredited)

Charles Mortimer ... Dr. Crowler at Duel (uncredited)
Pete Murray ... Extra in Crowd at BBC Bunker (uncredited)
Peter Noble ... Prisoner of War (uncredited)
Wally Patch ... Sergeant Clearing Debris (uncredited)
Norris Smith ... Napoleon Armstrong (1918) (uncredited)
Spangle ... Cocker Spaniel (1920) (uncredited)
Waleen Tidy ... Edith's Sister (uncredited)
John Varley ... Soldier (uncredited)
George Woodbridge ... Man with Debris Clearing Unit (uncredited)
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Directed by
Michael Powell 
Emeric Pressburger 
 
Writing credits
Michael Powell (written by) &
Emeric Pressburger (written by)

Produced by
Michael Powell .... producer
Emeric Pressburger .... producer
Richard Vernon .... associate producer
 
Original Music by
Allan Gray 
 
Cinematography by
Georges Périnal  (as Georges Perinal)
 
Film Editing by
John Seabourne Sr.  (as John Seabourne)
 
Production Design by
Alfred Junge 
 
Costume Design by
Joseph Bato 
 
Makeup Department
George Blackler .... makeup artist
Dorrie Hamilton .... makeup artist
Stuart Freeborn .... makeup artist (uncredited)
 
Production Management
Alec Saville .... production manager (uncredited)
Sydney Streeter .... production manager (uncredited)
Tom White .... production manager (uncredited)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Kenneth Horne .... assistant director (as Ken Horne)
Tom Payne .... assistant director
 
Art Department
Peter Manley .... art department (uncredited)
 
Sound Department
Desmond Dew .... sound
C.C. Stevens .... sound
 
Visual Effects by
W. Percy Day .... process shots
Jason Richardson .... restoration artist (restored version)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Jack Cardiff .... camera operator: Technicolor
Harold Haysom .... camera operator: Technicolor
Geoffrey Unsworth .... camera operator: Technicolor
Bill Wall .... chief electrician
Jim Body .... clapper loader (uncredited)
Fred Daniels .... still photographer: portraits (uncredited)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Matilda Etches .... costume executor
 
Editorial Department
Thelma Connell .... assistant editor (as Thelma Myers)
Peter Seabourne .... assistant editor
Clive Donner .... trainee (uncredited)
Peter R. Hunt .... associate editor (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Allan Gray .... music arranger
Charles Williams .... conductor
 
Other crew
Charles R. Beard .... period advisor (as Dr. C. Beard)
Douglas Brownrigg .... military advisor (as Lieut-General Sir Douglas Brownrigg K.C.B. D.S.O.)
Natalie Kalmus .... chief of color control department: Technicolor
Arthur Lawson .... floor manager
Joan Page .... secretary: Archers
Alec Saville .... management
E.F.E. Schoen .... period advisor
Sydney Streeter .... management (as Sydney S. Streeter)
Roger Cherrill .... production runner (uncredited)
Bill Paton .... assistant: Mr Powell (uncredited)
Maggie Unsworth .... script supervisor (uncredited)
 
Thanks
David Low .... with acknowledgements to: creator of the immortal Colonel
 
Crew verified as complete


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Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Colonel Blimp" - USA (cut version)
"The Adventures of Colonel Blimp" - USA (recut version)
See more »
Runtime:
163 min
Country:
Language:
Color:
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Microphonic Recording)
Certification:
Australia:G | Finland:S | France:U | Germany:12 (DVD rating) | Ireland:G | Netherlands:AL (original rating) (1947) | South Korea:12 (2003) | Spain:T | UK:U | USA:Not Rated | USA:Approved (PCA #03762) | USA:TV-G (TV rating)

Did You Know?

Trivia:
The filmmakers wanted Laurence Olivier to play Clive Candy, but he was prevented from being furloughed from the Navy by Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who didn't want the film to be made. Churchill didn't want to bolster the production with an actor and star of Olivier's caliber, as he felt the movie was critical of a type of British patriot. Olivier was allowed to take a leave from the Navy to make a film about William Shakespeare's patriotic King Henry V in Henry V (1944). Roger Livesey was cast instead. A generation later he played Olivier's father, Billy Rice, in The Entertainer (1960), though he was actually less than a year older than Olivier.See more »
Goofs:
Continuity: When Angela is playing darts, we see in close-up that two of her shots landed at the edge of the board. When she goes to retrieve them, however, she takes all three darts from the center.See more »
Quotes:
Frau Von Kalteneck:Theo knows only two English expressions: "very much" and "not very much." Right, Theo?
Theo:Very much.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Soundtrack:
I See You EverywhereSee more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
111 out of 115 people found the following review useful.
Powell's Masterpiece, 21 June 2004
Author: Norman K. Gillen (norman.gillen@hotmail.com) from Corpus Christi TX

In his autobiography, "A Life in Movies" (published 1987), director Michael Powell recalled that he and screenwriter Emeric Pressburger sharply disagreed as to their best collaborative film work. The former argued in favor of their satirical vision of Heaven, the phantasmagoric "A Matter of Life and Death" (1946). The latter preferred the romantic world of international ballet as presented in the opulent backstage musical/dance-athon, "The Red Shoes" (1948). In my opinion, both were mistaken.

"The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp" (1943) is their masterpiece. It was the film in which Powell finally fulfilled the promise that he had shown sporadically in his earlier films – in scenes such as Conrad Veidt's darkly comic encounter with a mountain-goat while trailing a bicycle up a cliff in "The Spy in Black" (1939); the opening shot of "Thief of Bagdad" (1940) as the camera tracks closer to Jaffar's ship and reveals a painted eye on the boat's prow; or in the eerie opening sequence of "One of Our Aircraft Is Missing" (1942), where, without a crew to guide it, a Wellington bomber, flying over the southern coast of Britain, suddenly smashes into a power line and implodes in a blazing white ball of flame. Here, in "Colonel Blimp," based on the stuffy, elitist character created by David Low, director Powell found a unifying style that encompassed the other-worldly vision that is sustained throughout the film's lengthy running time (2 hours, 43 minutes) – a style that is, at once, austere yet elegant; moody but curiously euphoric; hard at its core but sentimental around the edges.

As evidenced by the film's title, Pressburger's script does deal in a very generalized way with issues of Life and Death, but he carries his vision into the realm of the abstract, and he does so in circular fashion. More specifically, he explores a younger generation's brash, rebellious attitude towards their elders; and then examines how that attitude becomes more restrained, more conservative with the passage of time – until, as that generation ages, they become so "traditional" that, in the end, when their notions of honor and ethics have become obsolete in relation to the dominant society, they abstain from collaborating with community and, in a sense, they cease to really exist at all. And in the end, Death is really all there is.

In keeping with Pressburger's theme, the film is structured in circular fashion, beginning in 1943, flashing back to 1903 and progressing all the way up to 1943 again, where it ends: Life as a universal loop, so to speak. Pictorially, the movie begins with an image of speed – British military messengers motorcycling across the English highways to their respective units with orders regarding war-game maneuvers. But the film ends with a sharply contrasting image – a yellowish-brown leaf floating down a small waterway, its slowness of passage suggesting a funeral dirge and procession.

The story's main concern is of the deep friendship and camaraderie between the film's hero, Major John Candy, V.C. (Roger Livesey), and German Lieutenant Theo Kretschmar-Schuldorff (Anton Walbrook), who meet one another as participants in a duel that has been arranged for the two in order to solve a peacetime diplomatic dispute. Afterwards, while nursing their wounds in a hospital, they become close friends – so much so that when it is discovered that they are unacknowledged suitors to the same girl, an English governess (one of three women played by Deborah Kerr), there is no dispute whatsoever: a coy suggestion by the filmmakers that two individuals can often solve disputes more efficiently than two nations. There is a temporary row between Candy and Theo at the end of the First World War, as indeed there can be little other than animosity between two uneasy nation/signatories of a peace treaty. But 20 years later, when Theo flees Nazi Germany and begs political asylum in England, it is Candy (now a general) who gladly uses his enormous influence to save Theo from either internment or deportation. This last episode is particularly affecting: Theo recites for British immigration officials a long, sad story of his life from 1919 on, relating the death of his wife and the indoctrination of his sons into the Hitler Youth.

From there, the film completes its flashback "loop" to 1943, where we witness Candy's old-fashioned Victorian adherence to "good sportsmanship" – his single failing as a military tactician and leader – that costs his Home Guard unit a war-games competition. David Low sought to satirize the Blimp character as a ridiculous facsimile of grandiose pomposity; Powell and Pressburger, however, seek to humanize him by tracing the process that finally made "Colonel Blimp" what he was, at least externally. Roger Livesey's performance is an outstanding, sympathetic tour-de-force – he was one of the most transparently gifted film actors of his generation. And Deborah Kerr's triple-performance confirmed her stardom for decades to come.

Powell references one of his favorite films "The Wizard of Oz" (1939) throughout – even down to the naming of Candy's aunt as the Lady Margaret Hamilton. Candy is referred to as "the Wizard" by his driver's fiancée, even while humming and dancing to the tune "We're Off to See the Wizard." (Three years later, Powell would use "Oz's" technique of alternating between monochrome and Technicolor for his fantasy, "A Matter of Life and Death.")

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