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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The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp -- Pristine British soldier Clive Candy battles to maintain his honor and proud gentlemanly conduct through romance, three wars, and a changing world. Vibrant and controversial, The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp is at once a romantic portrait of a career soldier and a pointed investigation into the nature of aging, friendship, and obsolescence.

Overview

User Rating:
8.2/10   9,298 votes »
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Up 1% 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 »
User Reviews:
"Embodiment Of All The Solid Virtues" See more (77 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)
James McKechnie ... Spud Wilson
Neville Mapp ... Stuffy Graves
Vincent Holman ... Club Porter (1942)

Roger Livesey ... Clive Candy
David Hutcheson ... Hoppy
Spencer Trevor ... Period Blimp
Roland Culver ... Colonel Betteridge
James Knight ... Club Porter (1902)

Deborah Kerr ... 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
Eric Maturin ... Colonel Goodhead
Frith Banbury ... Baby-Face Fitzroy
Robert Harris ... Embassy Secretary
Arthur Wontner ... Embassy Counsellor
Theodore Zichy ... Colonel Borg (as Count Zichy)
Anton Walbrook ... Theo Kretschmar-Schuldorff
Jane Millican ... Nurse Erna

Ursula Jeans ... Frau von Kalteneck
Phyllis Morris ... Pebble
Muriel Aked ... Aunt Margaret

John Laurie ... Murdoch
Reginald Tate ... van Zijl
W.H. Barrett ... The Texan
Thomas Palmer ... The Sergeant
Yvonne Andre ... The Nun (as Yvonne Andrée)
Marjorie Gresley ... The Matron
Felix Aylmer ... The Bishop
Helen Debroy ... Mrs.Wynne
Norman Pierce ... Mr. Wynne
Harry Welchman ... Major Davies
A.E. Matthews ... President of Tribunal
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)
Diana Marshall ... Sybil Hopwell (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)

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


Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

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:Passed (National Board of Review) | USA:Approved (PCA #03762) | USA:TV-G (TV rating)

Did You Know?

Trivia:
Although uncredited, a very young Patrick Macnee (who would famously go on to play John Steed in the 1960s TV series 'The Avengers')can be briefly seen near the beginning of the film as one of the British soldiers who abduct Clive Candy from the Turkish bath and bundle him into the back of the army truck whilst Candy protests that "The war games haven't started yet". Macnee's distinctive voice also says a couple of words in this scene which helps identify him. He would have been approximately 21 years old when this scene was filmed.See more »
Goofs:
Continuity: When Clive first visits his Aunt's house, and the camera pans to the wall, where the animal heads will appear. You can clearly see a lighter patch of wallpaper where one of the heads will later be superimposed.See more »
Quotes:
Theo Kretschmar-Schuldorff:You know that, after the war, we had very bad years in Germany. We got poorer and poorer. Every day retired officers or schoolteachers were caught shoplifting. Money lost its value, the price of everything rose except of human beings. We read in the newspapers that the after-war years were bad everywhere, that crime was increasing and that honest citizens were having a hard job to put the gangsters in jail. Well in Germany, the gangsters finally succeeded in putting the honest citizens in jail.See more »
Movie Connections:
Soundtrack:
Commando PatrolSee more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
46 out of 54 people found the following review useful.
"Embodiment Of All The Solid Virtues", 12 March 1999
Author: Michael Coy (michael.coy@virgin.net) from London, England

Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, the outstanding British writing-directing team of the 1940's, produced probably their greatest work in this assured, pacy flag-waver made in the middle of the war. Colonel Blimp was a newspaper cartoon character created by Low, the English genius with the patriotic bent. Blimp was a little slow and inflexible, but he was certain of his moral position and was entirely fearless. He enshrined the British national character, and stood as a reassuring emblem for the British people during the dark days of World War Two. In this film, the character of General Wynne-Candy is loosely based on Blimp.

An early British venture into the new Technicolor process, "Blimp" is an unmitigated triumph. Georges Perinal, for the Technicolor Company, produced a sumptuous and crystal-clear stream of images. The pastel blue of the Turkish baths and the pinks and reds of the British Embassy are a feast for the eye. And it is hard to think of many finer cinematic moments than Edith's appearance at the hospital window, her face dappled by leaf shadows and her vivid scarlet belt radiant with colour.

The brisk pace of the action is set right at the very beginning, with a team of motor-cycle couriers being passed at speed by the truck-mounted camera. We see a message being delivered to a young army officer. Dialogue is delivered in amusing staccato, and the officer, 'Spud' Wilson, launches a military manoeuvre. His men set off in pursuit of a uniformed young woman, referred to as 'Mata Hari'. This puzzling business engages our attention, but we have to wait until the final reel for everything in this section to be explained.

A skilful transition takes the camera by means of a crane shot to the far end of the pool in the Turkish baths, and we have travelled back in time from 1943 to 1902. The gentlemen's club is exactly the same, this being England, land of enduring values. There are comforting references to Albion's might, for this is Britain's heyday and the Boers have just been defeated. Young Candy is correspondingly vigorous, just back from South Africa with his Victoria Cross. A letter from an English governess living in Germany sends Candy off on a bit of proto-Bond counterespionage. Those German bounders must be prevented from spreading lies about Britain's record in South Africa. The British, unlike the beastly hun, always fight fair.

The German episode culminates in Candy fighting a duel with Kretschmer-Schuldorff, befriending him then losing Edith to him. This section of the film is packed with unflattering German stereotypes. Kaunitz and his 'table' stop the playing of the operetta tune - German militarists, you see, are killers of beauty. Whereas London was reassuringly sooty and foggy, Berlin is all snow trodden by jackboots - a harsher political climate. The meticulous care the German officers take over the duel arrangements emphasises their devotion to violence and their lack of humanity. A second beautiful transition lifts us out of the Uhlans' gymnasium and into a carriage.

Quite apart from boosting morale at home in Britain, this movie was also intended to encourage sympathy for the British cause in the USA. Accordingly, some blatant Americanisms have found their way into the script ('went bail', 'railroad', 'we're quits'). Kretschmer-Schuldorff wears his duelling scar with pride, but Candy, being English, modestly covers his with a moustache.

Another brilliant transition moves the story forward to World War One. We see animal heads mounted on Candy's wall, with dates attached. Rifle shots sound and rapid cuts move us from boar to elephant etc. In simple elegant cinematic language, the years between 1902 and 1918 have been bridged. Candy has aged, and is now a brigadier serving on the Western Front. The Americans whom he meets are all genial types (the actors were actually serving American soldiers). As the guns fall silent on Armistice Day, their ominous rumble is replaced by birdsong. The battlefield set is superb.

The 'English countryside' sequence is skilfully done. Concert music to which the German prisoners are listening carries over unbroken into the scene between Candy and the Commanding Officer. As Candy and Barbara talk of their love, the grand house stands behind them out of focus, the symbol of Britain's heritage, ever-present but never ostentatious. The kindness shown to the German prisoners is emphasised, and this makes the snub administered by Kretschmer-Schuldorff all the more distasteful.

When Wynne-Candy (as he now styles himself) sits at the fireside with Barbara, the colour and composition are exquisite. The dinner guests are open and generous, in contrast with Kretschmer-Schuldorff's teutonic gracelessness: "Don't you worry," they tell him, "we'll soon have Germany on her feet again." Yet another transition takes us through the inter-war years by leafing through Wynne-Candy's scrapbook.

Anton Walbrook is billed as the star, playing Kretschmer-Schuldorff, but it is Roger Livesey as Wynne-Candy who unifies the whole film with an inspired performance as the amiable British hero. A very young Deborah Kerr plays three parts - Edith, Barbara and Angela - as Wynne-Candy pursues his vision of the Golden Girl across the decades of the 20th century.

The two duellists are inseparable, having once been enemies, and aliens in each other's homeland. The stiff German is civilised by his experiences in England, and eventually comes to feel 'homesick' for the land he once hated. 'Spud' Wilson is the enthusiastic young soldier of 1943, the Candy of the new generation. And thus the Great British story continues ...

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