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The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp

The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp U rating

Powell and Pressburger’s masterpiece follows the rise and fall of a career soldier, from dashing and brave young officer in the Boer War to a pompous and old-fashioned Colonel by the time of World War Two.

War 1943 164 mins

Director: Michael Powell

Overview

Powell and Pressburger’s wondrous war-time classic follows the rise and fall of a career soldier, from dashing and brave young officer in the Boer War to a pompous and old-fashioned Colonel by the time of World War Two. While the film’s central idea concerns the changing nature of warfare and the end of ‘gentlemen’s rules’ in the face of Nazi barbarity, the course of the film is side-tracked by various eccentric asides and elusive diversions, in a manner typical of the directors.

The themes of love and friendship are examined, as is the notion of an evolving 20th-century Europe, in which the rise of ideology seems set to supplant the social glue of nationalism. Despite the complexity of these ideas, Powell and Pressburger manage to retain a lightness of touch that makes the film highly enjoyable and spritely, despite its length, contributing to its reputation as one of the best of all British films.