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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.

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Mastermind 2006

PaPAS group member David Parker entered the Mastermind competition on BBC2.

Generally regarded as the most rigorous and intellectual British quiz show, there are four contestants in each show. They go through a first round, then a semi-final and then a final. In each show, each contestant gets 2 minutes in the chair on their specialist subject, then later they get another 2 minutes on general knowledge.

David's specialist subject in the first round was (naturally) The Lives and Films of Powell and Pressburger. He was third to go in the specialist round. The two contestants before him had got 14 points each. The questions David was asked were:

  1. What was the distinctive logo of the production company that Powell & Pressburger launched in the early 40s?
  2. For which actress did Pressburger originally write The Red Shoes in 1937, the role eventually going to Moira Shearer?
  3. In The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, what does Clive Candy reply when Barbara says "We must go darling. We have the Bishop for lunch"?
  4. What is the title of the first volume of Powell's autobiography published in 1986?
  5. Which famous dancer and teacher has a cameo role, playing herself, in The Red Shoes?
  6. Pressburger studied engineering in Prague and at which other university before becoming a scriptwriter in Berlin?
  7. Powell & Pressburger first teamed up when they were brought together by Alexander Korda to work on which '39 film?
  8. In A Matter of Life and Death, starring David Niven as the pilot Peter Carter, what's the number of the French conductor played by Marius Goring?
  9. What did Michael Powell give as his recreation for his entry in Who's Who?
  10. About which film, for which he won an Oscar for best original story, did Pressburger say "Goebbels considered himself a master of propaganda but I thought I'd show him a thing or two"?
  11. Which well known singer starred at the age of 12 as Cheril in the film I Know Where I'm Going!?
  12. On whose novel is the film Black Narcissus based which tells of a group of nuns struggling against hardship to found a convent in the Himalayas?
  13. In the 1949 film The Small Back Room, what is the name of the anti-hero scientist played by David Farrar, who's battling against disability, alcoholism and office politics?
  14. Which Oscar winning film editor whom Powell married at the age of 78 collaborated with him on his second volume of memoirs, Million Dollar Movie?
  15. What was the name of Pressburger's home in Aspall, Suffolk, where he lived for over 15 years until his death in 1988 in a nearby nursing home?
  16. On which Alfred Hitchcock film of 1929 did Powell work uncredited?
  17. What is the title of the novel by Pressburger about a Spanish civil war guerilla on which the 1964 film Behold a Pale Horse was based?
  18. Which popular fantasy [beep, beep, beep - "I've started, so I'll finish"] did Powell & Pressburger create for the Children's Film Foundation in 1972?

How many could you answer?
How many could you answer in 2 minutes?
Remember that it takes a while for the questioner to read out some of those longer questions. And you're not allowed to interrupt him, even if you know the answer after the first few words (like with question 10).
And you have to do all of that with the additional pressure of what is probably your first appearance on national TV.

David got them all right in the 2 minutes. Very well done David!

He then went on to get another 11 questions right in his general knowledge round to finish up with, as the question master put it, "a stonking 29 points".

He goes through to the semi-finals and we wish him lots of luck with that.

Sadly he didn't do as well in the semi-final where his specialist subject was Stevie Wonder

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