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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.

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Powell & Pressburger - Frequently Asked Questions

2.7.2. Documentaries about P&P and related subjects

Documentaries about P&P, The Archers and their films :-

BBC Arena: "A Pretty British Affair" (17 Nov 1981)
P&P interviewed by Gavin Miller.
Other interviews with: Martin Scorsese
Clips of: Francis Coppola (at Zoetrope)
Available on Criterion DVD of 49th Parallel (1941)
See also this page about the documentary which offers it online

BBC "Fifty Years of the B.F.I." (5 Oct 1983)
Includes P&P being presented with their BFI Fellowships by Dickie Attenborough

South Bank Show: "Michael Powell" (1986)
Micky talks to Melvyn Bragg

Writers in Conversation (1988)
It's mainly Micky talking and reminiscing and trying to mention his book (ALIM) a few times.

It's part of the ICA/Guardian "Writers in Conversation" series and he's "in conversation" with Chris Peachment (writer on filmic matters) - but Mr Peachment doesn't seem to be fully briefed on Micky's work & certainly can't keep up with some of his references and comments so just lets Micky talk for most of it, steering him back on topic when needed. It doesn't say where it was made but its on stage in front of an audience, I presume at the ICA.

There are some clips from TRS towards the end after Micky's explained the "All art is one" ethos and how it worked so well on TRS.

Mentions of 49P, SiB, Blimp, AMOLAD, BN, TRS & PT - but it is only 45 minutes. A few questions from the audience and a few words of advice to young filmmakers "Don't try to do it all by yourself, find skilled people you trust and collaborate"

His mention of his work with Hitchcock suggesting they became quite good friends, more than would be expected between director & stills photographer. If only we could find out. It matters because if MP was *only* the stills photographer Hitch wouldn't be very likely to listen to plot ideas like the ending of Blackmail. But if they were friends & Hitch knew he was a reasonable director then Hitch could have given him scripts to check out as he suggests.

Mentions of PT towards the end elicit a genuine surprise at the reaction of the critics (even after 20+ years). He seems to not understand/realise why they were so upset.

Have a look at Even if you don't buy it (it's a bit more expensive than most videos) you can watch it online. It's probably one of the last major interviews he gave.

BBC "Filming for Victory: British Cinema 1939-45" (24 Sep 1989)
Christopher Frayling tells the story of wartime British film.
Interviews with Michael Powell and others

BBC Late Show: "Michael Powell Obituary" (20 Feb 1990)
A short segment the night after Michael died with Jack Cardiff & Derek Jarman saying nice things about the old fellow.

"Tales of Helpmann" (1990)
Sir Bobby's life story.
Includes interviews/clips with:
Frederick Ashton (clips), Margot Fonteyn (interview + clips), Stewart Granger, Katharine Hepburn (interview + clips), Vivien Leigh (clips), Keith Michell, Rudolf Nureyev (clips), Laurence Olivier (clips), Margaret Rawlings, Moira Shearer (clips), Michael Benthall (clips + home movies)

BBC Late Show: "Michael Powell" (24 Sep 1992)
A special on Michael Powell to coincide with the publication of Million Dollar Movie.

BBC Late Show: "Missing Believed Lost" (1992)
Lost films (including some Powell QQs)
Tie in with BFI book.

Images of the Mind - Cinematic Visions by Raymond Durgnat
Finnish academic Jarmo Valkola's 1992 documentary about the highly influential British film critic.
Available online at

"I Know Where I'm Going Revisited" (22 Feb 1994)
Nancy Franklin revisits Mull
Available on Criterion DVD of I Know Where I'm Going! (1945)

BBC Bookmark: "Rumer Godden" (11 Mar 1995)
Rumer & daughter revisit India

"The Making of an Englishman" (1995)
Kevin Macdonald tours Europe looking for memories of Emeric (tie in with Kevin's book LaDoaS)
Available on L'Institut Lumière DVD of The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943)

"Hollywood Comes to Shropshire" (1996)
The making of GTE. Interviews with some of the crew & the locals who took part in the film.

BBC 10x10: "Remembering Sister Ruth" (6 Nov 1997)
Kathleen Byron looking back and talking about her role in Black Narcissus and trying to explain why it didn't make her a superstar.
Director: Malcolm Venville

UK Arena: "A Matter of Michael & Emeric" (1997)
UK Arena (short lived arts channel) broadcast a documentary about P&P followed by AMOLAD, TRS & BN. The documentary mainly looks at those 3 films but touches on other aspects of their work.
Sadly it's poor quality, but watchable

"Colour Merchant"
Jack Cardiff
Available on Carlton DVD of A Matter of Life and Death (1946)

His story, interviews with John Justin, Sabu's wife & children
Available on the Thief of Bagdad Blu-ray on Le Monde fantastique de Michael Powell (The Fantasic World of Michael Powell)

"A Very British Psycho" (1997)
Discussion of PT. Interviews with Carl, Anna, Leo, Columba, Moira and critics then & now.
Available on Criterion DVD of Peeping Tom (1960)

"A Profile of 'The Red Shoes'" (2000)
24 minute documentary by Carlton about TRS.
Interviews with:
   Kevin Macdonald, Ian Christie, Jack Cardiff, Chris Challis, Christian Routh (Hein's grandson), Darcey Bussell of the Royal Ballet.
Clips from:
   The Red Shoes, A Matter of Life and Death, Black Narcissus, The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp
Available on Carlton Special Edition DVD of The Red Shoes (1948)

"A Profile of 'Black Narcissus'" (2000)
24 minute documentary by Carlton about BN.
Interviews with:
   Jack Cardiff, Noreen Ackland (editor), Ian Christie, Chris Challis, Kathleen Byron.
Clips from:
   Black Narcissus, A Matter of Life and Death, The Red Shoes, The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp

"A Profile of 'The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp'" (2002)
24 minute documentary by Carlton about Blimp.
Interviews with:    Kevin Macdonald, Ian Christie, Jack Cardiff, Stephen Fry, Peter Manley (in the art department under Alfred Junge)
Clips from:    Blimp, AMOLAD & BN (when talking about Jack Cardiff)

"A Pilgrim's Return" (2000)
Nick Burton interviews John Sweet at Canterbury
20 mins
Available on Criterion DVD of A Canterbury Tale (1944)

BBC Scotland "Artworks Scotland" (14 Aug 2005)
Artworks Scotland profiles the life and career of British film directer, Michael Powell as the Edinburgh International Film Festival pays tribute to to him...narrated by Peter Capaldi, Prod:Andrew Lockyer.
Interviews with: Stephen Frears, Baz Luhrmann, Michael Powell (archive), Emeric Pressburger (archive), George Romero, Nicholas Roeg, Andrew Mcdonald, Thelma Shoonmaker, Martin Scorsese

Cameraman: The Life & Work of Jack Cardiff (2010)
A brilliant documentary about Jack Cardiff, the man, his life and work. Directed by Craig McCall and filmed over many years it includes many interviews with Jack himself and lots of other people, many of whom are no longer with us like: Martin Scorsese, Thelma Schoonmaker, Kirk Douglas, Lauren Bacall, Charlton Heston, Kim Hunter, John Mills, Alan Parker, Kathleen Byron, Christopher Challis, Freddie Francis and many others.
There aren't many feature-length documentaries that leave you wanting more. This one does.
Buy the Blu-ray
Buy the DVD

"Big Train" Episode #1.4 (1998)
The AMOLAD spoof..
Wickedly funny but done with a lot of knowledge about and an obvious love of the original film
On YouTube

"Dad's Army"
The Lion Has Phones.
Apart from the similarity in the title, this episode has EotW & OOOAIM showing at the local cinema. The regular cast included John Laurie & John Le Mesurier (both appeared in P&P films)

Other P&P related short pieces :-

The David Niven interviews
Compilation of various interviews with Michael Parkinson on his chat show. One was soon after David had published The Moon's a Balloon so would have been in the early 1970s.
Compilation broadcast in 1995

"A Day at Denham"
Publicity tour of the studio

"Cromwell's forgotten Wreck"
Diving on a civil war wreck in Duart bay, Mull. Shots of Duart Castle (Castle of Sorne in IKWIG)

"Fifty Years On"
Newsreel from Oct 1940 - Mar 1941. Includes the real crew from BoRP being welcomed back.

"British Cinema - a Personal View"
by Stephen Frears

"Scorsese on Film"
Favourite films

"Behind the Planet of the Apes"
A recent interview with Kim Hunter


"1939: Did We Have To Fight?" and "1939: The World We Lost"
Looking back with the benefit of hindsight.

BBC/BAFTA Lifetime achievement award
For Lord Dickie (Sheila Sim was there as well of course)

Dame Ninette de Valois
Documentary on Madame's life & work

A few ballet & opera pieces to compare with the P&P versions :-

Royal Ballet @ Royal Opera House, Covent Garden

Tales of Hoffmann
Placido Domingo, Geraint Evans @ Royal Opera House, Covent Garden

Tales of Hoffmann
José Carreras @ Royal Opera House, Covent Garden

Die Fledermaus
Dame Kiri Te Kanawa

Duke Bluebeard's Castle

Dame Ninette

Remainder of FAQ Section 2