After opening a convent in the Himalayas, five nuns encounter conflict and tension - both with the natives and also within their own group - as they attempt to adapt to their remote, exotic surroundings.
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
The lead actors' names are sewn onto a tapestry-like picture, written on scrolls. This opening credits "needlework tapestry" was completed by the Royal College of Needlework. See more »
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 »
I'd forgotten what a good film this was until I watched it on DVD recently. 'The Archers' had such an impressive body of work even a gem can be temporarily out of mind - such was the case with Colonel Blimp while I was catching up with all their other work.
There seem to be three performances approaching greatness in this - first of course, that of Livesey as Clive Wynne-Candy throughout his long service as a soldier to old age and 'Blimpishness', a superb portrayal and very memorable; then Anton Walbrook - brilliant in all his scenes as the sympathetic German who finally becomes reconciled to 'his wife's country'; and finally, in three roles, Deborah Kerr, standing for Candy's ideal woman. There'd be one more film for the Archers before Kerr became established in Hollywood, and she is excellent in her trio of roles in this.
Special mention should go not only to P&P for their tremendous vision and energy, but also the great Jack Cardiff who put such wit and clarity in sequences such as the animal head shots. The film itself is one of Britain's best. I'm amazed to hear it was suppressed in its entirety for so many years, and glad it survived to become the masterpiece it surely is.
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