A Canterbury Tale (1944) - News Poster

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Thelma Schoonmaker on the Technicolor magic of A Matter of Life and Death

Powell and Pressburger’s 1946 film, about a man who has to convince the angels that he deserves to remain on Earth, has a special place in the heart of Scorsese’s Oscar-winning editor – not least because she married its director

One of the most romantic movies ever made began its life in a government office. In 1945, the Ministry of Information suggested to Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, who had recently scored a success with A Canterbury Tale, that they might make a film to soothe fractious Anglo-American relations. Although Brits and GIs fought alongside each other in the war, American soldiers stationed in the UK had gained the unwelcome reputation of being “oversexed, overpaid and over here”.

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See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

One of Our Aircraft Is Missing

Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger officially become ‘The Archers’ for this sterling morale-propaganda picture lauding the help of the valiant Dutch resistance. It’s a joyful show of spirit, terrific casting (with a couple of surprises) and first-class English filmmaking.

One of Our Aircraft is Missing

Blu-ray

Olive Films

1942 / B&W / 1:37 flat Academy /103 82 min. / Street Date November 15, 2016 / available through the Olive Films website / 29.98

Starring Godfrey Tearle, Eric Portman, Hugh Williams, Bernard Miles, Hugh Burden, Emrys Jones, Pamela Brown, Joyce Redman, Googie Withers, Hay Petrie, Arnold Marlé, Robert Helpmann, Peter Ustinov, Roland Culver, Robert Beatty, Michael Powell.

Cinematography Ronald Neame

Film Editor David Lean

Camera Crew Robert Krasker, Guy Green

Written by Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger

Produced by The Archers

Directed by Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger

Reviewed by Glenn Erickson

There are still a few more key Powell-Pressburger ‘Archer’ films waiting for a quality disc release, Contraband and Gone to Earth for just two.
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

Her Majesty, Love

It's the final Hollywood film by the legendary Ziegfeld star Marilyn Miller, and it's also a terrific talkie feature debut for W.C. Fields -- with one of his dazzling juggling bits. But the real star is director William Dieterle, whose moving camera and creative edits rescue the talkie musical from dreary operetta staging. Her Majesty, Love DVD-r The Warner Archive Collection 1931 / B&W / 1:37 flat Academy / 75 min. / Street Date January 19, 2016 / available through the WBshop / 21.99 Starring Marilyn Miller, Ben Lyon, W.C. Fields, Leon Errol, Ford Sterling, Chester Conklin, Clarence Wilson, Ruth Hall, Virginia Sale, Oscar Apfel. Cinematography Robert Kurrie Film Editor Ralph Dawson Songs Walter Jurmann, Al Dubin Written by Robert Lord, Arthur Caesar from story by Rudolph Bernauer, Rudolf Österreicher Directed by William Dieterle

Reviewed by Glenn Erickson

The Warner Archive Collection has been kind to fans of early talkies. We've been able to discover dramatic actresses like Jeanne Eagels
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

Sheila Sims, Actress Who Was Richard Attenborough’s Widow, Dies at 93

Sheila Sims, Actress Who Was Richard Attenborough’s Widow, Dies at 93
Sheila Sim, the British actress who was the widow of British actor and director Richard Attenborough, and starred with him in several films as well as in the original stage production of Agatha Christie’s “The Mousetrap,” died on Tuesday. She was 93.

Her death was announced after a performance of “The Mousetrap” in Nottingham’s Theatre Royal. In the world premiere of the whodunit there in October 1952, she starred as Mollie Ralston, the proprietor of Monkswell Manor, opposite Attenborough. The couple moved with the production to the West End, where it has been playing continually ever since.

Since 2013 Sim had been living in Denville Hall, a London retirement home for actors, and she had been suffering from dementia.

Sim and Attenborough were married from January 1945 until his death in August 2014 at age 90.

On the big screen the couple worked together in 1947’s “Dancing With Crime,” 1948’s “The Outsider” and 1951’s “The Magic Box.
See full article at Variety - Film News »

The Tales of Hoffmann review – Powell and Pressburger’s purest work

(Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, 1951; Studio Canal, U)

One of the great experiences of British cinema in the mid-20th century was to sit in the stalls as the curtain drew aside and an arrow hit a bull’s-eye on a target, announcing a film by the Archers, the team of British director Michael Powell and Hungarian émigré screenwriter Emeric Pressburger. They took a joint credit as “writer, director and producer”. This logo presaged a wartime movie such as 49th Parallel or The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, which took a subtler, more humane view of the conflict than the usual black-and-white propaganda, or it proffered a thoughtful view of a possible postwar world the way A Canterbury Tale and A Matter of Life and Death did.

In the 1940s and 50s, the Archers stood apart from the prevailing social realism of that period in their feeling for the mystery of the landscape,
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

’49th Parallel’ – The best British film about Canada created to get America into the war ever made

To begin with, no, 49th Parallel is not a Canadian film. At least not technically. The Hungarian Emeric Pressburger, who had been working in England for about five years, wrote the 1941 feature, and the Kent-born Michael Powell, who had been making films since the early 1930s, directed it. All but one interior was shot at Denham Studios in Buckinghamshire, and Ortus Films, a British company, produced the picture after the Ministry of Information commissioned it. The cast is a veritable who’s who of prominent British actors, including Laurence Olivier, Anton Walbrook, and Leslie Howard, among others. David Lean, then the preeminent editor in England, cut the picture.

Still, it is a great Canadian film. Locations range from Winnipeg to Quebec to Alberta. Perhaps more than any other film, certainly of the era, it also deals explicitly with Canada’s largely ignored involvement in World War II—as far as the movies are concerned anyway.
See full article at SoundOnSight »

Camerimage to host Powell-Pressburger tribute

  • ScreenDaily
Camerimage to host Powell-Pressburger tribute
Cinematography festival to present retrospective on the innovative British film-making duo, attended by Oscar-winning editor Thelma Schoonmaker.

Camerimage (Nov 15-22) is to host a special retrospective around the films of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger.

The film festival that celebrates cinematography, held in the Polish city of Bydgoszcz, will be attended by Powell’s wife and three-time Oscar-winning editor Thelma Schoonmaker as well as film scholars and Powell-Pressburger experts Erich Sargeant and Ian Christie.

Films of the due set to be screened at Camerimage include:

The Edge Of The World; 1937; cin. Monty Berman, Skeets Kelly, Ernest Palmer

One Of Our Aircraft Is Missing; 1942; cin. Ronald Neame

The Life And Death Of Colonel Blimp; 1943; cin. Georges Périnal

A Canterbury Tale; 1944; cin. Erwin Hillier

I Know Where I’m Going!’; 1945; cin. Erwin Hillier

A Matter Of Life And Death; 1946; cin. Jack Cardiff

Black Narcissus; 1947; cin. Jack Cardiff

The Red Shoes; 1948; cin. Jack Cardiff

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See full article at ScreenDaily »

English Heritage honours London flat that was base for Powell and Pressburger

British film duo Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's film company, the Archers, produced classics including A Matter of Life and Death and The Red Shoes

Martin Scorsese: why I restored Colonel Blimp

In the dog days of the second world war, the heart of British cinema could be found inside a three-room flat off the Marylebone Road in London. This, from 1942-1947, was the headquarters of film-makers Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, and the production office for such pictures as A Matter of Life and Death, The Red Shoes and The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp. In the event of air raids, the office came equipped with a set of camp beds.

Now the flat at Dorset House has been commemorated with an English Heritage blue plaque, honouring the work of Powell and Pressburger's film company, the Archers. Attending the unveiling were Powell's widow, the Oscar-winning American editor Thelma Schoonmaker,
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Letters: Powell, Pressburger and the 'failure' that was A Canterbury Tale

Xan Brooks's account of his emotional engagement with Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's A Canterbury Tale (A pilgrim's progress, Review, 10 August) captures beautifully what many feel about this evocative film. Unfortunately, he plays down two important elements that make the film what it is. Most important is the contribution of Pressburger, who was much more than Powell's "regular collaborator", but a full partner in all departments except directing on this and 16 other features.

Having organised the first full retrospective of their work for the BFI, I can testify that they considered the film a "failure", but were gratified when the BBC's restoration of the truncated original premiered to acclaim at the Nft in 1978. Emeric later introduced the film at MoMA in New York and spoke about trying to create the conditions for "magic" to happen on screen – his contribution shouldn't be downgraded. The other vital ingredient was the non-professional Sgt John Sweet,
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Film today: your daily movie bulletin

The top-line on the big news stories in cinema today – plus a preview of what's coming up on the site

Welcome to the first in a new series, launching every week day at 7:30am GMT, giving you the latest movie headlines – and a look ahead to what's coming up on theguardian.com/film.

News today

Disney boss booed at D23 convention after failing to spill beans on Star Wars.

Pixar have changed the Finding Nemo sequel in wake of Blackfish documentary.

George Galloway has turned to Kickstarter to fund his documentary, The Killing of Tony Blair.

Footage from Jerry Lewis's The Day the Clown Cried has shown up on YouTube; likewise from Werner Herzog's "don't text and drive" documentary.

More Expendables 3 cast additions: Mel Gibson and Antonio Banderas.

World War Z has become Brad Pitt's highest-earning film ever.

James Gray's next project is to be White Devil,
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

A pilgrim's progress: trailing A Canterbury Tale

Seventy years after it was made, Michael Powell's A Canterbury Tale remains the perfect remedy for self-pity. Xan Brooks seeks out the film's locations, still haunted by the ghosts of a film that celebrated the values and traditions of an England under fire

In August 1943 the director Michael Powell came to east Kent to shoot his most ambitious and personal film to date. A Canterbury Tale took its lead from Chaucer to spin the story of three modern-day pilgrims uprooted by the war. It showed us the hedgerows and the hop gardens and the ancient road atop the downs. It celebrated the values and traditions of an England under fire. That wartime summer, the film's locations came haunted by the ghosts of the pardoner, the falconer, the garrulous wife of Bath. Today, for me, they are haunted by the ghosts of A Canterbury Tale. Seventy years on, it's as
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

'The Sopranos' Creator David Chase's Must See Movies Include 'Barry Lyndon,' 'Bicycle Thieves,' 'Something Wild' & More

There’s a fun little series on NPR, titled “Watch This,” which occasionally takes a look at the favorite films from filmmakers such as William Friedkin, Paul Feig, and Kevin Smith. The latest edition features “The Sopranos” creator David Chase and it’s filled with a lot of interesting choices. It’s always fascinating to learn more about what influences certain filmmakers and Chase’s list definitely reflects that. His list includes Stanley Kubrick's “Barry Lyndon,” Vittorio De Sica's “Bicycle Thieves,” Laurel and Hardy’s “Saps at Sea,” Powell and Pressburger’s “The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp” and “A Canterbury Tale” (check out our recent retrospective on the filmmakers), Lindsay Anderson’s “O Lucky Man!,” Luis Bunuel’s “Tristana” and “Viridana,” and Johnathan Demme’s “Something Wild” (the most contemporary picture of the bunch). David Chase cites “Barry Lyndon” as his favorite Kubrick movie, saying “What’s great about it,
See full article at The Playlist »

The Sight & Sound Top 250 Films

After much media hoopla about "Vertigo" toppling "Citizen Kane" in its poll, Sight and Sound magazine have now released the full version of its once a decade 'Top 250 greatest films of all time' poll results via its website. The site also includes full on links showcasing Top Tens of the hundreds of film industry professionals who participated in the project.

For those who don't want to bother with the individual lists and to save you a bunch of clicking, below is a copy of the full 250 films that made the lists and how many votes they got to be considered for their positions:

1 - Vertigo (Hitchcock, 1958) [191 votes]

2 - Citizen Kane (Welles, 1941) [157 votes]

3 - Tokyo Story (Ozu, 1953) [107 votes]

4 - La Règle du jeu (Renoir, 1939) [100 votes]

5 - Sunrise: a Song for Two Humans (Murnau, 1927) [93 votes]

6 - 2001: A Space Odyssey (Kubrick, 1968) [90 votes]

7 - The Searchers (Ford, 1956) [78 votes]

8 - Man with a Movie Camera (Vertov, 1929) [68 votes]

9 - The Passion of Joan of Arc (Dreyer,
See full article at Dark Horizons »

Calling time on the pint in the pub

Full of smoke, casual sexism and happy punters, a series of nostalgic films about pubs leaves Nicholas Lezard mourning our lost sense of community

The low point in Roll Out the Barrel: The British Pub on Film (BFI), a 2-disc collection of corporate and promotional films about pubs, comes about halfway through the second disc, in a 21-minute film from 1972 extolling the alleged virtues of Bass Charrington Ltd. After a dismaying montage of modern architectural horrors that apparently hoped to trade as licensed premises, and boosterism about the new popularity of lager (cue shots of endless cans of Tennent's rolling off the production lines; in one unintentionally amusing set-piece, a French cognac magnate is poured a tin of Carling Black Label by way of hospitality), the mouthpiece for the corporation confidently says that what Bass is doing is "giving the public what they want".

Usually, when one comes across something like this,
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

In praise of the outsider perspective

Powell and Pressburger's Life And Death Of Colonel Blimp is typical of Archers Film and almost un-English in its audacity

You live abroad for a couple of decades and it's surprising which memories of the old country flicker into a different kind of focus. I'm not the nostalgic or homesick type, I haven't been home in six years. And yet two decades have made me feel more English than I ever did in England – and technically I'm not even English (I'm Scotch-Irish). I never read Trollope or Wilkie Collins in England, I never swooned exultantly over finding a Virago-edition Rosamond Lehmann novel, or a Two Ronnies video at a yard-sale.

Neither did I celebrate my birthday every year, as I do now, with a large scotch watching A Canterbury Tale alone, certain in the knowledge that when Eric Portman talks about the mysterious continuity of ancient tradition I will find myself,
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Daily Briefing. Jordan Mintzer's "James Gray"

  • MUBI
"So, what the hell is James Gray, anyway?" Evan Davis at the House Next Door: "That's the question Paris-based Hollywood Reporter critic and Gray enthusiast Jordan Mintzer attempts to answer in his new book, James Gray. Comprised of interviews with Gray and his collaborators, along with storyboards, annotated script pages, production stills, and frame grabs, Mintzer's volume is the first full-length study of Gray in any language. It is, unfortunately, only being published in France. But fear not: Synecdoche has released a bilingual edition that can be purchased on their website for a cool $65 Usd."

Gray will be on hand this evening for a Q&A following a screening of We Own the Night (2007), part of BAMcinématek's Brooklyn Close Up series. And in December, Moving Image Source ran an excerpt from the book's chapter on The Yards (1999).

Meantime, Gray's wrapped Low Life, his first period film. Featuring Joaquin Phoenix, Jeremy Renner and Marion Cotillard,
See full article at MUBI »

My favourite film: Readers' comments - week one

We're rounding up the best of your comments and reviews on our My favourite film series, in which our writers pick their favourite films of all time.

Here's what you had to say in week one, when we championed the films Raging Bull, A Canterbury Tale, Swingers, Ghostbusters and Broadway Danny Rose

The first time he saw it – when he was 19 – Raging Bull left Peter Bradshaw wanting to "run all the way home, or pick up parked cars and flip them over". Scorsese's depiction of the rise and fall of boxer Jake Lamotta was pitted with fight scenes that showed the inside of the ring as an "expressionist newsreel footage of a bad dream". Life outside was just another battle. Robert de Niro as Lamotta was "tense, moody, seeming to vibrate like a plucked guitar string" – primped and pulled from glory to the gutter by family and the Family, both.
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

My favourite film: The Red Shoes

In our writers' favourite films series, Charlotte Higgins applauds a picture that jetés through the imagination's darkest recesses

• Think you can post a better review of The Red Shoes? Then get moving – or take the floor in the comments thread below

I remember the first time I watched The Red Shoes. I was a child, it was on the television some rainy afternoon, and I watched it on my own. I think I was probably expecting a straightforward retelling of Hans Christian Andersen's fairytale, also called The Red Shoes – though why that would be reassuring viewing I don't know, since Andersen's story, like his disturbing tale The Little Mermaid, is a thoroughly disquieting piece of work.

Instead, this film – which I would later discover was made in 1948, by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger – was set in postwar London, with an aspiring ballerina at its heart, played by the luminous,
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Close up: cinema trashes theatre, theatre gets uppity

That was the week in which Roland Emmerich applied his delicate style to the Bard and our writers fessed up to their favourite films

The big story

Roland Emmerich likes to destroy things. We in the film world know this: we've watched him blow the planet up for years. Let's face it, it's why we love him. But the theatre world is less familiar with his style, and this week they have been traumatised by the unleashing of his new film Anonymous, with which, in characteristic fashion, Emmerich attempts to completely obliterate the reputation of William Shakespeare.

Arguably the most inspired response to the German director's waste-laying ways came from the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, who this week took to graffitting road signs to make their point. A very sophisticated one, we should point out - if Shakespeare was "anonymous", see, then he doesn't exist. Emmerich is no doubt pulling together
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

My favourite film: A Canterbury Tale

Xan Brooks continues our writers' favourite films series by confessing devotion to Michael Powell's A Canterbury Tale

• Tell us your version of A Canterbury Tale by posting your review, or join the throng of pilgrims in the comments

I first watched A Canterbury Tale with my father, nearly 20 years ago. He warned me that while he liked it, most people did not. It was too flawed, too rum, it didn't hang together. So we sat in the lounge and saw the hawk turn into the fighter plane and the trainload of pilgrims pull into Kent and the first, scurrying escape of the "glue-man", who pours adhesive into the hair of the girls who date the soldiers – and about half an hour in, my dad hit the pause button and asked if I maybe wanted to watch something else instead. "No, it's Ok, I like it," I muttered, because it's
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »
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