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Emeric Pressburger Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (5)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (2)  | Trivia (16)  | Personal Quotes (3)  | Salary (10)

Overview (5)

Born in Miskolc, Austria-Hungary [now Hungary]
Died in Saxstead, Suffolk, England, UK  (bronchial pneumonia)
Birth NameImre József Pressburger
Nickname Imrie
Height 5' 8" (1.73 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Educated at the Universities of Prague and Stuttgart, Emeric Pressburger worked as a journalist in Hungary and Germany and an author and scriptwriter in Berlin and Paris. He was a Hungarian Jew, chased around Europe (he worked on films for UFA in Berlin and Paris) before World War II, finally finding sanctuary in London--but as a scriptwriter who didn't speak English. So he taught himself to understand not only the finer nuances of the language but also of the British people. A few lucky breaks and introductions via old friends led to his meeting with "renegade" director Michael Powell. They then went on to make some of the most interesting (IMHO) and complex films of the 1940s and 1950s under the banner of "The Archers". Pressburger often showed a deep understanding of the British only granted to those "outside, looking in". He always prided himself on being "more English than the English". After all, some of us were just BORN English, but he CHOSE to become English. He spent his last days at Shoemakers Cottage, Aspall, Stowmarket, Suffolk in the English countryside that he loved so well.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Steve Crook <steve@brainstorm.co.uk>

Spouse (2)

Wendy Orme (29 March 1947 - 1971) ( divorced) ( 1 child)
Ági Donáth (24 June 1938 - 1941) ( divorced)

Trivia (16)

His novel "The Miracle of St. Anthony's Lane" was written for Kurt Gerron to film in 1934. It had been optioned to make a film at least four times, and each time it was not made so the rights reverted to Pressburger. He said he could retire if he had a few more stories like that. It was finally filmed as Miracle in Soho (1957) in 1957.
Admirers of the works of he and Michael Powell include Martin Scorsese.
Father of Angela Pressburger.
Received a BFI Special Award (with Michael Powell) in 1978
Made a Fellow of BAFTA, 1981
Made a Fellow of the BFI, 1983
His grandson Kevin Macdonald is an Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker. He has also written a biography about his grandfather.
In 1970 the British Film Institute (BFI) held its first retrospective of the works of he land Michael Powell. Fourteen films were shown and the booklet "Michael Powell in Collaboration with Emeric Pressburger" by Kevin Gough-Yates was published to accompany the season.
In 1978 the British Film Institute (BFI) held a complete retrospective showing all the extant works of he and Michael Powell. The book "Powell, Pressburger and Others" by Ian Christie was published to accompany this.
References to "Richard Imrie" are really Pressburger helping out his old friend Michael Powell but wanting to start a new career as a writer of novels as well as films.
His grandson Andrew Macdonald is a film producer (Trainspotting (1996)).
Member of the jury at the Berlin International Film Festival in 1962
Despite the fact that they occasionally worked on the same film, he and Arnold Pressburger are not related.
In 2014 an English Heritage Blue Plaque was erected to commemorate he and Michael Powell at their old offices in London. The plaque was unveiled by Martin Scorsese and Thelma Schoonmaker.
He and Michael Powell directed Esmond Knight in five films: : Blackout (1940), A Canterbury Tale (1944), Black Narcissus (1947), The Red Shoes (1948) and Gone to Earth (1950).
Soon after his partnership with Michael Powell had come to an end, he was hired by David Lean to write a film on the life of Gandhi. However, Lean was dissatisfied with the script and instead opted to make "Lawrence Of Arabia".

Personal Quotes (3)

The worst things that happened to me were the political consequences of events beyond my control ... the best things were exactly the same.
[interview in Film-Kurier, 11/2/29] There is an unjustified suspicion of the younger generation and that is an enormous, perhaps the worst, mistake. After all, the future lies in their hands. Pay attention to the younger generation of screenwriters.
[interview in New York City, 1980] I think that a film should have a good story, a clear story, and it should have, if possible, something which is probably the most difficult thing - it should have a little bit of magic . . . Magic being untouchable and very difficult to cast, you can't deal with it at all. You can only try to prepare some nests, hoping that a little bit of magic will slide into them.

Salary (10)

The Spy in Black (1939) £250
Contraband (1940) £1,000
One of Our Aircraft Is Missing (1942) £3,000
Squadron Leader X (1943) £1,500
The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943) £2,500 + 12.5% of profits
A Matter of Life and Death (1946) £5,000 + 12.5% of profits
Wanted for Murder (1946) £175
The Red Shoes (1948) 18.75% of profits
Oh... Rosalinda!! (1955) £6,500
Men Against Britannia (1957) £175

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