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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:
Anton Walbrook ... Theo Kretschmar-Schuldorff
Deborah Kerr ... Edith Hunter / Barbara Wynne / Johnny Cannon
Roger Livesey ... Clive Candy
Roland Culver ... Colonel Betteridge
Harry Welchman Harry Welchman ... Major Davies
Arthur Wontner ... Embassy Counsellor
Albert Lieven ... von Ritter
John Laurie ... Murdoch
Ursula Jeans ... Frau von Kalteneck
James McKechnie James McKechnie ... Spud Wilson
Reginald Tate Reginald Tate ... van Zijl
David Hutcheson David Hutcheson ... Hoppy
A.E. Matthews A.E. Matthews ... President of Tribunal
Neville Mapp Neville Mapp ... Stuffy Graves
Vincent Holman Vincent Holman ... Club Porter (1942)
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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:

A Lusty Lifetime of Love and Adventure in Lavish Technicolor (US Lobby Card tag) 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:

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 Microphonic Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although uncredited, a very young Patrick Macnee (who would famously go on to play John Steed in The Avengers (1961)) 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

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: Clive. My English is not very much but my friendship for you is very much.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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 »

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

Featured in Cameraman: The Life and Work of Jack Cardiff (2010) 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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