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

Submitted by John Holbourn

Foreword to The Isle of Foula
by Prof I B S Holbourn

I am the wrong person to write an appreciation of this book: my knowledge of Foula is so complete and yet so scanty; the sixteen weeks I spent there, struggling to make "The Edge of the World," were full of experience, but it was experience directed towards one end, to tell my story and to present to the world the most complete picture that I could of its background. Foula.

Two things came out of those weeks in 1936: our film, which, I think, will yet make Foula one of the best-known places in the world, instead of the least; and the other is a love for the island and its people.

So perhaps I have a right to this page, after all.

An island has a personality of its own, the more remote, the more insistent. Why has an island an irresistible appeal to us all?

I think that the answer is because it is complete. We can see it as a whole. Other places have the same appeal, that we can feel at the first visit, but not in such an intimate, such a concentrated form. A lonely island throws its spell over the traveller as soon as he sets foot on its smallest rock.

So it was when I first saw Foula. On a still night in June we neared the little lights of Ham voe at midnight. We were six hours out from Scalloway in a motor-boat. The five peaks of the island lay black against a violet sky. A few fishermen were out under the cliffs. On the port bow the moon shone across the sea and on the starboard the setting sun was shining, and the two glittering paths met and broke in our wake. I have never forgotten it.

My film tells the tale of the defeat of a people. It was created and brought to life by the help of the people of Foula. They one and all proved more helpful, more sympathetic and more truly intelligent than any men and women with whom I have worked.

Whatever the critics say, the real star of my film is the lonely island of Foula - and the real makers are its people.

MICHAEL POWELL. London, 1937.

The above is the foreword to the book:
Title: The Isle of Foula. a series of articles on Britain's loneliest inhabited isle. Ian B. Stoughton Holbourn. with a memoir by M.C. Stoughton Holbourn
Author: Stoughton Holborn. I. B.. Ian Bernard. 1872-1935
Joint author/editor: Stoughton Holbourn. M. C.
Subject: Stoughton Holborn. I. B.. Ian Bernard. 1872-1935
Subject: Foula Island (Scotland). History
Subject: Foula Island (Scotland). Social life and customs
Subject: Foula Island (Scotland). Social conditions
Publication details: Edinburgh. Birlinn. 2001
Description: x, 278, [22] p. of plates. 24 cm
ISBN: 1841581615. m

Back to index