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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 / Angela '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:

A thrilling lifetime of courage and love... in triumphant Technicolor. 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:

GBP200,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$30,129
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

One of the earliest films to directly refer to The Wizard of Oz (1939) (one of the characters sings part of "We're Off To See the Wizard"), proving rather conclusively that "Oz" was more successful and popular on its first release than is sometimes claimed. See more »

Goofs

Several times Candy says that during the Boer War he had had to hide out in a house in South Africa for seven months, but at the restaurant in Berlin he tells Edith he had hidden for seven weeks. See more »

Quotes

Colonel Goodhead: If we don't know what we are doing, the enemy certainly can't anticipate our future actions.
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

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

Soundtracks

Zampa
(uncredited)
Music by Ferdinand Hérold
See more »

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User Reviews

 
pacy, breathless brilliance since unparalleled on the big screen
7 July 2001 | by chuaSee all my reviews

Neither war films nor romances rate amongst my favourite film genres. Colonel Blimp is both of these and has to rate as my runaway favourite film. Made in 1943 by the irreplaceable icons of British film making Powell and Pressburger it displays a pacy breathless brilliance since unparalleled on the big screen.

The film follows the life and times of General Wynne-Candy from when he is an idealistic young officer returned on leave from the Boer War through to his retirement as an anachronistic and obdurate Major General.

The film is structured in three acts set in the aftermath of the Boer War, the first world war and the present (at the time of making the film) the height of the 2nd World War. But it is not just an examination of these conflicts. Its real power lies in Candy's pursuit of his ideal woman throughout each of these stages. All three women are played beautifully by Deborah Kerr who never surpassed the power of her performance in this film.

The other constant in the film is Anton Wallbrooks character of the sympathetic German with whom Candy builds a lifelong friendship and ultimately is probably Candy's only ever really satisfying relationship throughout his life.

For me the film operates on many complex levels. The romantic element is as affecting as anything you are likely to witness in the cinema. It achieves everything in the unrequited love department a la "the remains of the day" in a fraction of the time and as only part of the overall plot.

It deals with the moral complexities of war in a way that will have you debating the issues in your mind long after you have seen the film. This particular theme reaches its climax towards the end of the film when Candy is "retired" by the war ministry probably as a result of his outdated approach to strategy for the 2nd World War. Anton Wallbrook then delivers a setpiece speech which starkly outlines the evils of Nazism and the necessity to use any means to defeat it for the sake of freedom and humanity for coming generations.

Colonel Blimp with its pristine performances, absorbing plot, dazzling colour photography and economic flawless script easily gives Citizen Kane a good run for its money as the best film of all time.


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