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.

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The Royal Film Performance

We all know that AMOLAD was the first film shown as a Royal Film Performance, but how & why was it chosen?

The Royal Command Performance idea came from the theatre where they would do an annual variety show before the Royal Family in aid of charity. The Royal Family had been to the cinema before this but this was the first one that was called a Royal Film Performance and had all the glitz.

I've just got a copy of Picturegoer dated w/e Sept 28th 1946 which has the following article as its main article:

David Niven, Roger Livesey, and Kim Hunter in a scene from A Matter of Life and Death, the "Royal Command" film

Honour for British Films

First Royal Film performance ever to take place will be on Friday, November 1, at the Empire, Leicester square, in the presence of the King and Queen and the Princesses.

It will be in aid of the Cinematograph Trade Benevolent Fund.

This will be an historic event. For many years the stage and music hall have been honoured by Royal Command performances.

Now the cinema receives equal recognition.

As can be understood it was no easy task to choose a film for this occasion.

A special viewing committee representing all sides of the industry saw all the films submitted by British and American producers.

They were considered not only for their intrinsic merits but also in view of their suitability for this particular occasion.

Finally, the entrants were narrowed down to three.

These were Metro's The Green Years, which had very strong claims because of the nature of the story and its many British associations.

The Magic Bow, a story of Paganini with Stewart Granger and Phyllis Calvert in the leading parts, and Yehudi Menuhin responsible for the violin playing.

And A Matter of Life and Death, the Michael Powell - Emeric Pressburger picture starring David Niven, Raymond Massey, Roger Livesey, and Kim Hunter.

After much careful consideration, the Viewing Committee decided on "A Matter of Life and Death".

This is an honour to British films of which we can be justly proud.

We don't mean to suggest that we can beat the Big Drum and crow about scoring over Hollywood.

Far from it. We can be modestly happy that we are producing pictures which are worthy of a Royal Command performance.

What a very British (1940s style) summing up :)


Royal Command Film Performance
Brochure scans thanks to Diane Friedman

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