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The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943)

Not Rated | | Drama, Romance, War | 4 May 1945 (USA)
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 James McKechnie ... Spud Wilson
Neville Mapp Neville Mapp ... Stuffy Graves
Vincent Holman Vincent Holman ... Club Porter (1942)
Roger Livesey ... Clive Candy
David Hutcheson David Hutcheson ... Hoppy
Spencer Trevor Spencer Trevor ... Period Blimp
Roland Culver ... Colonel Betteridge
James Knight James Knight ... Club Porter (1902)
Deborah Kerr ... Edith Hunter / Barbara Wynne / Johnny Cannon
Dennis Arundell ... Café Orchestra Leader
David Ward David Ward ... Kaunitz
Jan Van Loewen Jan Van Loewen ... Indignant Citizen
Valentine Dyall ... von Schönborn
Carl Jaffe 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 | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The Lusty Lifetime Of A Gentleman Who Was Sometimes Quite A Rogue! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English | French | German

Release Date:

4 May 1945 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

£200,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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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

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 »

Crazy Credits

Deborah Kerr's characters are listed separately, in order of appearance. So Deborah Kerr's name appears three times in the movie credits. See more »

Alternate Versions

The original version (the one restored to Criterion Collection DVD and laserdisc) runs 163 minutes. When Winston Churchill expressed his vehement dislike for the film, the British distributor, Rank Films, cut it to 140 minutes. The film was chopped to pieces when it was imported to the United States in 1945, running around 120 minutes (in which the film's vital flashback structure is eliminated and the story is told from beginning to end). The film was further cut to 90 minutes and ran on public television often in the 1970's (in the Criterion commentary, Martin Scorsese comments that this is the version he saw late night when working on New York, New York (1977)). For years, it was thought that the only existing version was this 90-minute version. In 1983, with the cooperation of the Archers, the epic film was restored to the full 163-minute length, much to the delight of Emeric Pressburger (whose favorite film this was). The film was reconstructed to the original flashback structure and many scenes taking place during World War I were restored, including the much-discussed black soldier. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Ripping Yarns: Whinfrey's Last Case (1979) See more »

Soundtracks

Je suis Titania
(uncredited)
from "Mignon"
Music by Ambroise Thomas
See more »

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User Reviews

A wonderful, deeply moving film.
25 March 2003 | by carlianschwartzSee all my reviews

The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp is one of the most deeply moving films I've ever seen. It's amazing how independent producers (the Archers--Powell & Pressburger) managed to put together a lavish Technicolor epic without government assistance in wartime England--but they did it. it contains one of the most subtle "why we fight" themes--to preserve the English (and, hopefully, American) sense of fair play exemplified by the title character. The emotional kicker is a scene which takes place in 1939 in a British police station, where the German (played by Anton Walbrook--a German refugee actor) calmly and drily narrates how and why he came to settle in England. Just the thought of the scene moves me to tears. It's a marvelous piece of acting. The narrative technique--the story contained in one, long flashback--was in vogue on both sides of the Atlantic in the early 1940s--one can think of Sam Wood's Saratoga Trunk (Warner Brothers, 1943) as a good example--but the shift from 1942 to 1902 is accomplished by a very deft piece of editing. Colonel Blimp enters the pool of the Royal Automobile Club an old man, and emerges 40 years earlier! Colonel Blimp's true subtext is how civilization, friendship, and love survive times of chaos and barbarism (not to mention war) and, indeed, triumph by their survival. It is especially timely at the time of this writing (late March 2003).


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