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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 Devil... In A Daring Adventure! 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 Microphonic Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Early in the film, Clive Candy tells Col. Betteridge that he has been speaking with Arthur Conan Doyle, author of the Sherlock Holmes stories. Betteridge, an avid fan, turns and quotes to his subordinate, Major Plumley: "Lovely evening, my dear Watson..." Plumley is played by Ian Fleming, who earlier portrayed Dr. Watson in Sherlock Holmes' Fatal Hour (1931), Sherlock Holmes and the Missing Rembrandt (1932), The Triumph of Sherlock Holmes (1935), and Murder at the Baskervilles (1937). His Sherlock Holmes, Arthur Wontner, also appears in a small role later in the film. See more »

Goofs

Clive Candy goes to confront Kaunitz in Berlin, which is in Prussia, but Kaunitz's Stammtisch are drinking from Hofbräuhaus krugs, noted by the 'HB' insignia. The Hofbräuhaus is in Munich, which is the capital of Bavaria, 360 miles away. See more »

Quotes

Van Zijl: The Germans know how to make them talk.
Clive Candy: Well if they are, they're cracking. It's a sure sign. Nobody starts to fight foul until he sees he can't win any other way.
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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 A Profile of 'The Red Shoes' (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

Hebrides Overture ('Fingal's Cave')
(uncredited)
Music by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy
See more »

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User Reviews

Churchill was most definitely wrong
5 September 2004 | by jihgSee all my reviews

Forget what another reviewer said here about being "shallow and lacking in emotional content" and full of "stock characters", as nothing could be further from the truth. This is one of the finest British films ever made.

It may mock the old reactionary Blimp (who pretty much is Churchill) but it does so with deep sympathy for his passing age of fair play. And its message that Britain must fight a realistic war was a great bit of intelligent and patriotic propaganda. By opposing it Churchill underestimated the intelligence of the British people.

Roger Livesey's and Anton Walbrook's performances are both fantastic, and the film contains two drop-dead emotional moments: Walbrook's single shot speech about leaving Germany, and Livesey's final lines as the film ends.

And any film which has a character called Theo Kretschmar-Schuldorff MUST be good.


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