Sunday, 10 April 2011

War starts at midnight!

The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943)
Chosen by me from my pile of unwatched DVDs.

Powell and Pressburger come through again in what may be their best film (though Black Narcissus and Red Shoes offer strong competition).
Opening with a blustery General shocked at the young whipper-snapper cheating at the war game, a buffonish figure in look and protestations of foul play it flashes back 40 years to tell the life of this comic character. And in doing so becomes not the film you might think it would be.
Roger Livesey's brilliant portrayal of Candy is backed up by a witty, occasionally preachy, sometimes melancholic script and superb direction.
Candy is a splendidly complex character, full of flaws but backed by a sense of fair play that far from making him seem a sap makes him a true idealist (even if he is sometimes wrong). The film is played without melodrama (major characters die off screen with only a newspaper note to say so and is much more devastating for it) and when it comes back round to the war game it's genuinely sad that Candy is being beaten turning the scene on it's head.
The rest of the cast are terrific, Deborah Kerr playing multiple roles always fun and strong. Anton Walbrook is great as a German soldier with conflicting loyalties, though his old age make-up is not strong the playing of those scenes always is.

Very, very happy with this as my 100th filmaday movie.

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