The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp

The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp

DVD - 2008
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British soldier Clive Candy battles to maintain his honor and proud gentlemanly conduct through romance, three wars, and a changing world.
Publisher: [Irvington, N.Y.] :, Criterion Collection,, [2008]
Copyright Date: ©2008
ISBN: 9781604651324
Branch Call Number: DVD FEATURE LIF
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (163 min.) : sound, color ; 4 3/4 in.
video file,rdaft,
DVD video
region 1,rdare,


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Feb 24, 2021

This film is 2hrs and 45mins long. But the DVD image quality is very good and Technicolor looks decent even by today's standard. The story was told by a jump back in time of 40 years. Colonel Candy was portrayed to exhibit all the good quality of an English gentleman: a belief in fair fights; an honorable and yet selfless love for his woman, humour, and valuing friendship. There is also a subplot in which enemies became friends, then enemies again, and then back to friends. Michael Powell's favourite actress, Deborah Kerr, played three different roles in this film, which I think helped to consolidate Powell's position as one of the best British directors of his time. Worth my 3 hours of time investment for sure.

Nov 03, 2020

This is a nearly perfect movie and a masterpiece of film making. The production design and the photography in Technicolor are top notch and eye poppingly beautiful. The story begins in 1942 as young brash army officers preempt war game plans playing by different rules manage to capture General Clive Wynne-Candy at his Turkish spa and begin to berate him for being a useless old man this new kind war doesn't need. The story flashes back to 1902 when Wynne-Candy was the same young brash officer just returned from the Boer War as a Victoria Cross medaled officer. It follows his relationships with his unrequited love for Edith Hunter and his life long friendship with the Prussian officer Theo Kretschmar-Schuldorff. The film is an amazing meditation on ageing and changes our impression of the old puffy windbag caricature of Wynne-Candy in the first segment of the film into a nuanced,sympathetic and layered view instead that age and life experience has value even in a world where the traditional rules of an honorable chivalric code of warfare has been replaced by unfettered total war of the industrial age.

Jun 09, 2019

I could not get past 10 minutes of this crap. Although billed as a drama, much of the beginning was SUPPOSED to be comedic (in a satiric way, sort of like Catch 22 - military ironies, upper echelon vs enlisted men, etc.) but instead was dreadfully unfunny and I wasn't going to sit thru 3 hours of bad jokes for what others falsely remember as a classic.

Dec 18, 2018

Felt generous, so gave it three stars. One of the three stars is for how brave and daring this movie was when first made (during WW II, London's Blitz) and how the two film-makers--one a German-born artiste--carried on in spite of (or maybe just to spite) the powers-that-were--Including Churchill himself. (Dreadfully critical of the uppah class and regimental righteousness, doncha know...)

Now, I really, really admire and respect Martin Scorsese. He's a big part of why we're all able to see this movie ("enjoy" is not a word that comes trippingly to my tongue) the way it was meant to be seen. He ponied up the money for its restoration and preservation, and used his considerable influence to enlist the aid of others to do so, too. Excellent! "Blimp" was a turning point in Marty's adolescent life, and influenced HIM later (and he shows us how, in a fascinating interview on Disc 2 of this Criterion release.) Fine and dandy.

However, I see this "revered" feature film through a different set of...experiences, I guess. Like, many movies that came much later. The ones that didn't rely on jack-hammering their points home in the most obvious ways. And didn't place actors (and camera) in fake, sound-stage indoor sets. Or--Scorsese makes a point of this!--avoids the big visual, dramatic scenes: a deadly duel, death of a spouse, combat on the Western Front. Those kinds of things. What's left, instead? Talk. Lots and lots of talk. Close-ups of the speaker, no edits, just blahblahblah. Hats off, though. The lead stars sure know how to deliver dialogue. Got lots of practice here!

Oh, this is blasphemy, I know. And this movie DOES weather the passage of time (and style) somewhat better than another Powell-Pressberger "masterpiece," The Black Narcissus. Saw that one twice. Quite liked it the first time (back in the 1960s, when I was an impressionable youth--somewhat like Marty Scorsese, I suppose.) Saw Narcissus again recently. Couldn't finish it. Finished this one, though. Barely.

An historical artifact. Yes. That's legitimate. Entertaining 21st century film fare? Not so much.

Mar 31, 2015

An absolutely delightful, wonderfully done movie featuring top drawer mid-20th Century acting talent.

Dec 05, 2014

After being humiliated by a young upstart during a training exercise, a decorated general looks back on his forty-plus years of military service and all the triumphs, losses, and regrets (including a chaste affair with his best friend’s wife) that made him the man he is today. Now regarded as an obsolete fossil by a new generation of soldier, Gen. Clive Candy at first rebels against the impertinence of youth—and the cruelties imposed by old age—until those jogged memories recall his own reckless zeal two generations ago. Using postcard sets filmed in gloriously exaggerated technicolor and graced by a quick-witted and oh-so-British script, this classic Powell & Pressburger production uses one likeable old man’s recollections to examine issues of loyalty and honour as well as the inherent follies of patriotism…no wonder then that Winston Churchill loathed the film. Unfortunately it also suffers from a few too many “jolly goods” and “hip hip hurrahs” turning what could have been a brilliant two-hour epic into an almost three-hour endurance test. A compassionate character study nonetheless whose wry critiques manage to rise above the extra padding.

AladarNyc Oct 07, 2014

Very British indeed. Entertaining and well done. I enjoyed this very much.

Jun 09, 2012

drama - this is a criterion (aka) one of those old classics and for good reason. Very professionally done, great scenary and just a good show.


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