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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Randolph "Randy" Man
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Greetings Fellow P&P Enthusiasts,

Let me introduce myself. My name is Randolph Man (Micky couldn't resist calling me "You RANDY Man!")and I teach film history at the College of Santa Fe in New Mexico. For twelve years now I've used every excuse I could think of to squeeze a P&P film into a class. I was lucky enough to spend he was honored at the Denver International Film Festival. This was of course before he had his stroke, and he was a bundle of energy - generous, enthusiastic about everything, and unfailingly funny. When we first met I told him that I would rather have met him than anybody else in the world of films, and I meant it.

It was almost exactly 20 years ago, in May of 1981. I was working as a Programming Consultant for the Denver International Film Festival when our director, who was only too aware of my somewhat (then-) unorthodox tastes, casually asked me how I would like it if Michael Powell was an honoree at the Festival. Well, I think my jaw must have hit the floor.

Anyway he came and was there for the better part of a week. This was the period when he and Emeric were basking in the beginning of their rediscovery and critical rehabilitation. Micky had been to Telluride the year before, which William K. Everson covered in Films in Review and, just earlier in the Spring, to Santa Fe. This was also when 35mm prints of the films were all but impossible to find (I think Telluride had to run AMOLAD in part 35mm part 16mm - we ran it in 16mm - ditto with TofB and TRS plus the dream sequence from IKWIG. Only PT was available then in 35mm).

Anyway my director and I met Micky at the airport and took him to lunch. He was then about 70 and had the enthusiasm and energy of a man half his age. I remember he got of the plane with a print of something (PT I think) in an ingeniously designed duffel bag which I think he told me he'd designed. Now I should tell you that by that time I had met a number of veteran Hollywood directors (Capra, Walsh, Mankiewicz, Wyler, Vidor, LeRoy, Cukor), so I was fairly used to their habit of tall-stories and knew that the funnier the story the less likely it was true. After all, they had spent their lives telling stories, so why should they stop just because they were retired, right? I should also tell you that back then most of us were still under the spell of auteurism, or Director Worship, and we didn't yet fully realize how intensely practical a profession that was. We also tended to undervalue screenwriters. Micky's work had yet to be inflicted with that kind of criticism, so in a sense he was fresh game.

He and I had several chats during that week. I asked him about various of his collaborators. He was delighted to find a fellow fan of Conrad Veidt. "Any fan of Connie's is a friend of mine!" he said. He was also pleased that one of the first questions I asked was a purely practical one, namely how did he get the red shoes to ZIP on Moira Shearer's feet? (He told me but I couldn't quite visualize it until I acquired the Criterion laserdisc and slow-motioned it.)

We had a children's matinee of T of B, and I remember introducing him from the stage of the Ogden Theatre. You know how it is when the lights are in your eyes, and individuals in the distance are little more than sillouettes. Well, as soon as I had uttered the name "Michael Powell!", I spotted this figure come BOUNDING down the aisle and, yes, it was Micky. He REGALED the audience. I remember he said he was considering either a sequel or a remake of the film (I forget which) and asked the children in the audience what they liked best about the original film (I think the djinni was the most popular character and the Princess and the Prince the least).

I also took him to radio interviews and to the inevitable cocktail parties (the bane of festival life). On all occasions he was the most charming person you thought you'd ever meet, funny, witty, self-deprecating, ever sure to acknowledge the contributions of others. His clothes were all custom tailored, some of them beautiful English tweeds, others the practical outfits you can see him wearing in the South Bank Show program. You would never know from his appearance and his demeanor how dispiriting the previous ten years must have been for him.

Finally near the end of his visit he said something like how come somebody as knowledgeable as I (he was very kind that way) didn't make films? And I told him that if I couldn't make films as good as his then it just wouldn't be worth it, and I knew I couldn't. But then I told him that what I really wanted to do was teach and, who knows, perhaps discover somebody who could. What should I tell them, I asked him. He said "Randy, tell them that all art is one."

And, finally, two or three years ago, when I finally got my chance, on the last day of class I told them what I've just told you and said "Micky told me to tell you..."

Micky's son Columba used to live in Santa Fe, but that was before my time, though I do occasionally run into people who knew him.


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