Combustible Celluloid
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With: Roger Livesey, Deborah Kerr, Anton Walbrook, Roland Culver, Albert Lieven, James McKechnie
Written by: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Directed by: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 163
Date: 09/06/1943

The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Hard Candy

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Buy The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp on DVD

This was one of the first films that Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger made together as a team. It's still highly regarded today, but it's very long and very dated compared to their best work. It's a blatant bit of World War II propaganda and very talky, although with an undeniable spirit and some Lubitsch-like comic passages. Roger Livesey stars as Clive Candy, a soldier who lives through three wars. Anton Walbrook plays Theo Kretschmar-Schuldorff, a German who meets Candy during a duel, slices his lip (necessitating a moustache) and becomes his best friend. Deborah Kerr also stars as three different women during the different eras. The film has lots to say about the nature of soldiering and the nature of war, but the real appeal now is the characters, the performances and the wonderful dialogue. Powell and Pressburger shoot in gorgeous vivid color, but the camera mainly records conversations and doesn't have the fluid quality of their later works. Candy was apparently based on a famous comic strip character, though there's very little resemblance in the final film. It's available on a Criterion DVD.

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