Friday, 7 December 2012
The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp 
The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, qualified by some critics as Britain’s Citizen Kane, was the most celebrated film of the Powell-Pressburger directing duo; it also earned the wrath of Winston Churchill and his cohorts. Adapted from a popular cartoon strip, the film chronicled several decades in the life of an army man (from Boer Wars till WWII), along with providing a mildly amusing peek into British traditions, mores and mannerisms. It also provided a fair share of commentary on the realpolitik of war (as opposed to its more gentlemanly counterpart). But most importantly, this was a film awash with nostalgia about, in absence of a better phrase, the ‘good old days’. The film began, however, on a very different note – the superb opening sequence (which takes place in the ‘present’) gave it the feel of a witty, funny and biting satire on war. But, as the narrative moved to an elaborate flashback mode, chronicling the life and times of the erudite and mild-mannered British officer Clive Candy (marvelously played by Roger Livesay), both its tone and theme underwent dramatic reversals, thus ensuring that it never managed to sustain its initial brilliance. Nonetheless, the film does remain noteworthy on account of its epic scope and sepia-toned, albeit overtly sentimental, look at changing times. The temporal shift of Candy’s life from ‘present’ to 40 years back was accomplished in a memorable single take, and Deborrah Kerr played the roles of three separate ladies in Candy’s life; interestingly, Angelopoulos employed both these cinematic devices in Ulysses’ Gaze, which could possibly be construed as an expression of the film’s importance in his eyes.
Director: Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger
Genre: Drama/Historical Epic/Romantic Drama