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]

  Steve's Logo

Missing, Believed Lost - The Man Behind the Mask

From Missing, Believed Lost, BFI Publishing, 1992

Melodrama in which a girl (Jane Baxter) is abducted from a masked ball and her boyfriend (Hugh Williams) is accused of stealing a valuable shield from her father (Peter Gawthorne). The criminal proves to be a mad astronomer (Maurice Schwartz).

Michael Powell: 'They had a very poor script. I did my best to make it into a rather German type expressionistic thriller. It was very hard work indeed because we had no money.'

Kine Weekly: 'Sensational melodrama entirely unconvincing as to plot, but holding the attention by its extremely good acting and some clever touches of production which introduce the human note. Michael Powell has done everything possible to give plausibility to the tale; he provides a clear continuity, concentrates on facial expression and detail rather than background, and is responsible for many amusing touches. Melodramatic atmosphere is preserved throughout, with the usual humorous quips lightening the tension. The ending is disappointing, the ravings of a madman, whose one passion is possession of the shield, containing insufficient philosophy to interest. Dialogue, by Ian Hay, as might be expected, is entirely successful, especially in its lighter moments.' Ian Hay's other film work includes writing dialogue for Hitchcock's The 39 Steps (1935), The Secret Agent and Sabotage (both 1936).

Monthly Film Bulletin: 'The story is melodramatic and absurd but, technically, the film is excellent. Direction, photography, lighting, acting and sound are all good. The glimpses of the family life ... are extremely realistic, the country scenes are lovely and the final scenes in the crook's house are impressive when they might so easily have been ludicrous. All the acting is competent but Donald Calthrop as the chess-playing Dr Walpole and Kitty Kelly as his American secretary give the most polished performances. Martin [sic] Schwartz is good but his part, being so usual, is less difficult. But on the whole, the director is to be congratulated for having made what must be termed a good film out of very unlikely material.'

The film had a significant outcome for Powell: he interested the producer, Joe Rock, in making what would be his first personal work, The Edge of the World, with which he bade farewell to the world of quota quickies.

This film is "Missing, Believed Lost", please check all achives and attics.

Update: This film has been found in it's American form (essentially the same but with the title Behind the Mask) and shown. It has also been made available on video in America.

Back to index