The Masters  
The Powell & Pressburger Pages

Dedicated to the work of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger and all the other people, both actors and technicians who helped them make those wonderful films.

A lot of the documents have been sent to me or have come from other web sites. The name of the web site is given where known. If I have unintentionally included an image or document that is copyrighted or that I shouldn't have done then please email me and I'll remove it.

I make no money from this site, it's purely for the love of the films.

[Any comments are by me (Steve Crook) and other members of the email list]

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P&P Campaigns
Blue Plaques


We have begun a campaign to honour Powell & Pressburger in various ways.
These are long term plans, but we're in no rush :)

2002 - An English Heritage Blue Plaque for Emeric Pressburger
In December 2002 Emeric would have been 100 so he becomes eligible for an English Heritage Blue Plaque.
So I made a submission for one.

2005 - An English Heritage Blue Plaque for Michael Powell
In September 2005 Michael would have been 100 so he becomes eligible for an English Heritage Blue Plaque.
So I made a submission for one.

17 February, 2014 - It happened!
See the story for how we got here

See the English Heritage press release


Steve's report on a great day

Wow! I mean, really, WOW!

What a great day. C'est un grand jour. Was für ein toller Tag.

What a turn out. Martin Scorsese, Thelma Schoonmaker, Columba Powell, Andrew & Kevin Macdonald's wives, Andrew's son (and thus Emeric Pressburger's great grandson) Archie, Sir Christopher Frayling, Stephen Fry, Prof. Ian Christie and of course, The Lovely Natacha. Plus many, many other lovely and wonderful people plus people from English Heritage, the BFI and from many other interested and interesting organisations - everyone gathered outside a 1930s apartment block near Baker Street to celebrate and commemorate two of the finest film-makers ever.

The weather was kind to us. It wasn't too cold, for February, and the rain held off.

After a very nice little ceremony introduced by Christopher Frayling, Thelma Schoonmaker spoke, Martin Scorsese spoke, everyone applauded and then Archie pulled the chord and revealed the Blue Plaque.


Dorset House, Gloucester Place, London NW1 5AG
17th February 2014, 1pm

Thelma & Marty

 

Well that was quite an amazing thing to witness, but it didn't end there

After everyone had posed for a few photos and Marty & Thelma had been interviewed for tonight's "Front Row" arts round up programme on BBC Radio 4, we all made our way down the road to the Tower Suite in the Landmark Hotel where I had hired a room for a reception and celebration. Chatting away, posing for some photos, a wonderful time.

But it didn't end there either

 

My youngest brother Stan had come to join us, all the way from north Devon, braving the floods. So a few of us moved the party on to an Italian restaurant in Fitzrovia and then on to a pub before we all said some fond farewells and wended our way home.

There are some news reports out already:
English Heritage


BBC News

The Guardian (Thanks Xan)

"Front Row" on BBC Radio 4 (first item)
BBC Radio 4 "Front Row" daily arts round-up


Press Association video report

A report in Veteran magazine, the magazine for British Cinema and Television Veterans, their Spring 2014 issue. Sent by Thelma Schoonmaker via Pamela Francis (Freddie's widow)

What a wonderful event

     Steve - the one with the big soppy grin on his face :)


Some photos from Michael Shipster

Martin Scorsese
Thelma Schoonmaker (Michael Powell's widow & Scorsese's triple Oscar winning editor)
Columba Powell (Michael's son)
Sir Christopher Frayling (English Heritage Blue Plaques committee)

The crowd of onlookers included some interesting people, like Stephen Fry

At the reception with Marty, Columba, Archie Macdonald (great grandson of Emeric Pressburger), Thelma and The Lovely Natacha


Some photos from Brigitte Lacombe, Martin Scorsese's photographer


Marty, Steve, Columba, The Lovely Natacha, Archie & Thelma
Having a wonderful time


The gang's all here! P&P admirers gathering
The photos in this section are © Brigitte Lacombe, 2014


Some photos & videos from Greg Ogarrio


Steve chatting to Prof Ian Christie as Thelma passes behind us.

Columba & Thelma
Greg's videos, on YouTube

Video #1 - Sir Christopher Frayling's introduction

Video #2 - Sir Christopher, continued

Video #3 - Thelma Schoonmaker

Video #4 - Martin Scorsese

Video #5 - Martin, continued + the unveiling

Video #6 - Thelma & Marty in front of the plaque

Video #7 - Stephen Fry & Columba Powell

Video #8 - Thelma, Marty & Stephen Fry


Some photos from Jaume Escofet


Some photos from my brother Stan





Photos from Stéphane Launey


Stéphane Launey visits the plaque, March 2014


Some photos from The Lovely Natacha, or taken by others with her camera


The VIPs, Marty, Columba, Archie & Thelma


A gathering of the clan

Stan & Eddie

Thelma & some of her boys

A light supper

Next day, on the Millenium Bridge

Wednesday: Neal's Yard Dairy in Borough Market


The Lovely Natacha and I continued the celebration in our own way with a tour of London the next day (Tuesday 18th) and a visit to the Paul Klee exhibition at Tate Modern. Then we relaxed over a lovely meal at Rules in Covent Garden. Check their history, and their menu (varies with the seasons).


It's a tough life, but somebody's got to do it :)

Then on the Wednesday morning we visited Borough Market to pick up some lovely comestibles and had a quick look around Southwark Cathedral.

Then after some fond farewells I packed her off back to Paris - until our next adventure.


"The Veteran", the magazine of the British Cinema & Television Veterans, ran a piece on the Blue Plaque on Dorset House.

Back Cover Story
The "Secret" of Dorset House
During the Second World War, scripts for some of the period's most important and influential films - by The Archers, Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger - were developed in a three-room flat at Dorset House near Baker Street in central London. While based there between 1942 and 1947, Powell and Pressburger turned out a sequence of cinematic treasures: The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943), A Canterbury Tale (1944), I Know Where I'm Going! (1945), A Matter of Life and Death (1946), Black Narcissus (1947) and The Red Shoes (1948), all filmed for Rank with studio work at Pinewood.
   On Monday 17 February, an English Heritage blue plaque was unveiled at Dorset House in the presence of Powell's widow, the editor Thelma Schoonmaker, the director Martin Scorsese, a great and vocal enthusiast of the team's work from his days as a student in New York, Powell's son Columba Powell and Pressburger's great-grandson Archie Macdonald.
   In 1947, the Archers linked up with Alexander Korda's London Films and took up space in the company's opulent new head office at 148 Picadilly, Hyde Park Corner.
   In his 1994 book, Emeric Pressburger - the Life and Death of a Screenwriter, Pressburger's grandson Kevin Macdonald noted: "Joan Page and Betty Curtis owned the secretarial company which had typed and duplicated the scripts for Contraband and The Spy in Black. They got on well with Emeric and Michael, and when The Archers were formed came to work for them full time. They ran the office at 120 Dorset House, Gloucester Place (a hastily converted service flat - there was a wartime shortage of office space) acting as secretaries, script editors and general assistants.
   Michael Powell recalled, in the second part of his auto-biography, Million-Dollar Movie (1992): "During the war, The Archers had offices at Dorset House, Baker Street, near the station, a large block of modern flats with an entrance in Gloucester Place. The block was considered reasonably bomb-proof and when there was an air-raid warning we had some camp beds, so we could sleep there if necessary. We never bothered to furnish it properly or hang pictures or posters - the war was on, and austerity was a way of life - and somehow Betty and Joan made it look efficient and comfortable. We kept these offices on when we moved to Pinewood, for we needed a base in town, but our wartime lease was up and the move to Hyde Park Corner came in very handy." - Allen Eyles


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