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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Powell & Pressburger - Films not made

There were some projects that P&P wanted to do but for one reason or another they never happened.

Burmese Silver (1937?)
Cast: Conrad Veidt
Details: Powell scouted locations in Burma - not easy in 1937.
Failed: Korda decided to make The Spy in Black instead.

Fathers and Sons (194?)
Details: The story of the Cunard Line. c.f. Atlantic Ferry (1941) written by Emeric.

The White Cockade (1946)
Cast: David Niven, Pamela Brown
Details: The story of Bonnie Prince Charlie. Maybe given the disaster of Niven's Bonnie Prince Charlie (1948) maybe it's as well that this failed.

The Life of Hans Christian Andersen (1949)
Hedda Hopper reported (syndicated but found in The Independent of St. Petersburg, Florida) that Powell & Pressburger were visiting the States to promote The Elusive Pimpernel. While they were there they talked to Gary Cooper about making The Life of Hans Christian Andersen. Alexander Korda & Samuel Goldwyn were ready to be the producers. Some scenes would be shot in Denmark.

Bouquet (1953)
Writer: Emeric Pressburger
Details: Four short films, one each for England, Wales, Scotland and (Northern) Ireland. To be released near the coronation of QEII

Ondine (1954)
Cast: Audrey Hepburn, Mel Ferrer
Failed: Mel had directed the play on Broadway and wanted control of the film.

Paddy the Cope (1955?)
Cast: Cyril Cusack
Details: The story of Paddy Gallagher, the Donegal man who, with the poet A.E. Russel, set up the Co-operative Society in Ireland.

Charles Dickens (1955?)
Cast: Cyril Cusack
Details: A biography of Charles Dickens

Cassia (1956?)
Writer: Manfred Conte (novel: Cassia und die Abenturer)
Details: European adventure. Emeric was keen, Micky wasn't.

The Miraculous Mandarin (1956?)

Details: A proposed companion featurette to The Sorcerer's Apprentice (1955)

The Living Room (1963?)
Writer: Graham Greene (novel and play)
Cast: Rex Harrison, Samantha Eggar, Pamela Brown
Failed: Rejected by board of EMI despite support from their then head of production, Bryan Forbes.

The Last Enemy (1964?)
Details: "The last enemy to be defeated is death"
Writer: Richard Hillary, an RAF WWII fighter pilot aged 22, shot down and badly burned. Given a new face & hands over 18 months by the pioneer plastic surgeons at East Grinstead (McIndoe)
Note: Frankie Reidy's father Joe worked with that surgery team.

The Magic Umbrella (1973?)
Writer: Emeric Pressburger
Details: A follow up to The Boy Who Turned Yellow for the Children's Film Foundation
Failed: Rejected by CFF. Powell suspected on the influence of John Davis of Rank

The Tempest (197?)
Writer: William Shakespeare and Michael Powell
Cast & crew: James Mason, Mia Farrow, Topol, Frankie Howerd, Malcolm McDowell, Jack Cardiff, Gerald Scarfe (design), Andre Previn (music?) and Michael York.
History: Proposed in 1970, screenplay written in 1975, some backing from Frixos Constantine & Costas Caryiannis.
Some publicity - photos and articles with MP, Mason & Howerd exist.
Filming planned to start on 5th March 1975 in Rhodes.
Failed: Rank (or John Davis?) "Not interested in any project involving Michael Powell" [early 1970s].
They couldn't raise enough money anywhere else.
Status: Columba Powell has a complete screenplay
Sometimes referred to as Trikimia as a possible title

A Wizard of Earthsea (1981?)
Writer: Ursula Le Guin
Failed: Michael considered too old to get insurance
Note: Made as a 5 minute film by Michael's students at Dartmouth.

Careful, He might Hear You (??)
Details: Emeric worked on the script for Joshua Logan

The Fall of the House of Usher (??)
Based on the story by Edgar Allen Poe
Work was done on a script & Powell had seen a suitable house when he was in Finland.
Planned to be an opera with the score by Philip Glass.

Then there were the films and shorts that Powell wanted to make in and around 1952/1953.

Powell's Films

The Promotion of the Admiral
Cast: Bette Davies, Gregory Peck, Roger Livesey
Status: A screenplay is believed to exist.

Salt of the Earth or Trail and Error
Details: Based on the auto-biography of Chaim Weizman, one of the founders of modern Israel. Powell's diary of his visit to Israel was privately published.
[If anyone knows any details of this book please contact me]
Some "home movie" footage exists of Micky & Emeric travelling around Israel.
Status: A screenplay is believed to exist.

Golden Years
Details: Biography of Richard Strauss. A script was completed.
The film was all going to be done from Strauss' point of view, and he would only appear at the end of the film in some home-shot footage taken at the composer's 85th birthday and given to PnP when they visited Strauss.
The film was to have included Salome & Die Rosenkavalier.
Failed: Rejected by Columbia, probably because of Strauss' connections with the Nazis during the war. Columbia offered Lawrence of Arabia to Powell instead - he turned it down.

The Reason Why
Writer: Cecil Woodham-Smith
Subject: The Charge of the Light Brigade
Cast: Rex Harrison, James Mason
Failed: Screenwriter John Whiting died

All Passion Spent
Writer: Victoria Sackville-West
Deborah Kerr was to have played the same woman at 19 and 90.

Writer: Prosper Merimée (author of Carmen)
Subject: An English family doing the Grand Tour of Europe gets mixed up with blood feuds in Corsica

The Loving Eye
Writer: William Sansom
Cast: Paul Scofield, Moira Shearer
Subject: A back garden romance
Details: To be filmed in and around Powell's home in Melbury Place (Peeping Tom was filmed in the house opposite)
Failed: Unable to raise the necessary £150K

The Edwardians
Writer: Victoria Sackville-West
Subject: The heir to a great position and to great possessions in Edwardian England decides to opt out with the encouragement of a famous explorer.
Cast: Paul Scofield, Robert Mitchum

Writer: Marcelle Maurette
Cast: Jennifer Jones
Subject: The last Tsar's missing daughter

The Rise and Fall of the British Nanny
Writer: From the book by Jonathan Gathorne-Hardy
Subject: With the British Nanny fell the British Empire. Coincidence ?

Writer: Based on the book by Admiral Byrd.
Script by Thornton Wilder
Cast: Gary Cooper & 5,000 penguins :)
Subject: Admiral Byrd's Antarctic expedition
Details: To be filmed in the Antarctic

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