173. The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp

Don’t forget, you still have three days left to purchase a BRAZIL tee, here at Mister Dress Up!

It’s hard to categorize THE LIFE AND DEATH OF COLONEL BLIMP, one of the many collaborations between Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, and my favorite of the ones I’ve seen. The film spans 40 years in the life of General Candy as he navigates three wars, a changing society, friendship, love, and loss. So it’s both a historical epic and a lovingly rendered character portrait. It’s also a comedy, when it’s not being a heartfelt drama. The film manages to be both satirical and sympathetic towards the old British ideals that Candy represents. And in 1943, at the height of WWII propaganda, it gives some of its most beautiful monologues to a German officer. The amazing feat of the film is that it does all this without contradiction, and without losing its focus. What could easily be a sprawling mess is instead a tightly woven tapestry of British history and life experience. Special mention goes to Deborah Kerr, who takes on three distinct roles with aplomb, and a downright gorgeous use of Technicolor.




    1. I don’t think it’s streaming anywhere; I got it on disc from Netflix. (Yep. I’m one of those people who still gets discs from Netflix.) But it’s worth seeing if you can get your hands on it, especially if British history strikes your fancy.

    2. It is available on DVD and also on a new, eyeball-blasting restored-4k Blu from Criterion. You can get a barebones Essential Art House series DVD for about $20. You’ll never spend a more worthwhile greenie on a movie!

      1. I ended up enjoying it even more than I was expecting. Thanks again for the recommendation!

        Unfortunately, the BRAZIL t-shirt was a one-time-only sort of thing. I have no immediate plans for merchandise, but I’ve been thinking about more t-shirts or prints at some point in the future. If I do decide to do that, I’ll post about it here.

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