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

The Writing of Emeric Pressburger

The published writing of Emeric Pressburger

One of Our Aircraft Is Missing
By: Emeric Pressburger
HMSO publication 1942. [pp. 32]
Government publication to accompany the film

The Red Shoes
By: Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger
London: Avon Books, January 1978. ISBN: 0804426872. [Paperback]
New York: St. Martin's Press, 1996. ISBN: 0312140347.
London: St Martins Press, 1997. ISBN: 0312156375. [Paperback]
The full story, includes lots of detail that they didn't put into the film.

The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp
By: Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger
Edited by: Ian Christie
London: Faber & Faber, June 1994. ISBN: 0571143555. [Paperback]
Includes memos from Churchill and notes showing how the script developed

Killing a Mouse on Sunday
By: Emeric Pressburger
London: Collins, 1961.
London: Collins, 1963. (Illustrations by Papas)
New York: Harcourt, Brace & World 1961
Glasgow: Collins, 1964
London: Fontana Books, 1964
This taut and dramatic novel tells of the last adventure of a great Loyalist hero, an exile living in France since the end of the spanish civil war. Combining thriller with acerbic comedy, this highly original story, set in the High Pyrenees, was made into a 1964 film Behold A Pale Horse starring Gregory Peck, Antony Quinn and Omar Sharif.

Original introduction
Our respect for the law is tempered - sometimes - by our admiration for those who successfully break it. Outlaws, bandits, escaping prisoners - we can't help being on their side, at any rate on paper at a safe distance in a novel.

In Emeric Pressburger's story our judgment can easily be suspended, but although entertained and excited we are not left with the feeling that we have been tricked into condoning crime. Questions of religion, of conscience, of love, of loyalty, even of justice, with things the law can take no account of.these are at the back of a story where comedy mingles with tragedy in the high Pyrenees.

Who was in the right we may never be able to decide. Only one thing is sure: this is a highly original novel, with the elements of a thriller, the romance of banditry in the moun­tains, the comedy of authority set at defiance, the undercurrent of an­cient wrongs and of more recent political rancour.
- Daniel George in the BROADSHEET

The Glass Pearls
By: Emeric Pressburger
London: Heinemann, 1966.
A novel. A very novel novel

The Glass Pearls, is about a concentration camp doctor, Otto Reitmüller, hiding in London under a pseudonym and haunted by the idea of being hunted down, the boarding house in which Reitmüller lives recalls the one in Pressburger's first feature film for UFA: Robert Siodmak's Abschied (1930), with its lodgers meeting and gossiping in the hall. Reitmüller, a violinist (like Pressburger himself), has escaped from Germany to Paris and is now trying to camouflage his past, earning his living as a piano tuner. The novel conveys Pressburger's horror at the paradox that otherwise cultured people - people who like himself "adored Rosenkavalier", educated figures who had taken the Hippocratic oath - could behave monstrously and participate in horrific crimes. "I always believed, and I have to say that there are also good Germans, one or two, though the great majority of them proved to be pretty awful, pretty horrible," he said.

That edition seems to be now out of print. It's been reissued / reprinted by Faber. See edition here.

Back to index