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
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 »
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 »
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 »
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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