Sunday, July 02, 2006

I Am The Perfect Model of A Modern Major General

A Movie Review

The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp
is based (apparently quite loosely) on the cartoons of David Low, and chronicles the 40+ year military career of officer Clive Candy. Roger Livesey gives a strong endearing performance as the career officer, aided by one of the most convincing make-up jobs of character aging I've ever seen in a film, from any period. Life and Death was the first Tecnicolor spectacle from the production team of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger (here after known as P&P), a writing and directing partnership that the New Yorker magazine has accurately described as "purveyors of high kitsch". While in form the film might seem an odd composite of the comic and mellow dramatic, it's acutely quite a moving story that explores a large tapestry of themes including aging, love, friendship, ethics & war fair, as well as the long and complicated history of German/English relations. Anton Walbrook plays Clives old friend Theo Kretschmar-Schuldorff, a German character who is incredibly nuanced for one found in a World War Two era film. Deborah Kerr (a P&P favorite) plays three roles in the film, all expressions of Clives ideal female type. Presented in P&P's fanciful style Colonel Blimp is The Red Shoes for men.


At 10:28 PM, Blogger Nate Dredge said...

In a number of ways this film is similar to Ernst Lubitsch's 'Heaven Can Wait' which was also released in 1943.


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