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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.

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Michael Powell: Interviews
edited by David Lazar
University Press of Mississippi, 2003. ISBN: 1578064988

Publisher's web page

News Release

Edited by David Lazar
University Press of Mississippi
$46.00, unjacketed hardback, ISBN 1-57806-497-X
$18.00, paperback, ISBN 1-57806-498-8
Book News for Immediate Release

Michael Powell, once forgotten, is now oft remembered as a pioneer

David Lazar, editor of the new book MICHAEL POWELL: INTERVIEWS (University Press of Mississippi), insists that Michael Powell is one of the least known great directors of sound films.

"Michael Powell, a prototype of the independent filmmaker, and the director of several of the most artful and satisfying films of a period covering roughly 1940-1960, sometimes is presented, and this includes self-presentation, as a poster boy for filmus interruptus," Lazar writes.

And there is no doubt what film interrupted Powell's career, Peeping Tom (1960), a film so reviled in its release that Powell was unable to work in the United Kingdom for a decade. It is now regarded as a classic.

A British filmmaker, Powell (1905-1990) began his career assisting director Rex Ingram in the waning years of silent film. Given a boost by Alfred Hitchcock, Powell spent much of the 1930s directing what were known as "quota quickies," low-budget B movies.

Later he created some of the most daring, interesting, and literate films ever made, including The Edge of the World (1937), Peeping Tom (1960), and his work with Hungarian-born filmmaker Emeric Pressburger, with whom producer/director Alexander Korda paired him.

Powell's conversations disclose the same intellectual and artistic range that makes his films so rewarding. This collection of interviews manifests how he imagined himself simultaneously as a classic English gentleman and as a citizen of the world, making films with social conscience about life both in England and abroad.

His expressions are charged with brilliance, wit, and jauntiness as a he discusses his work on One of Our Aircraft Is Missing, The Red Shoes, The Tales of Hoffmann, and Black Narcissus, as well as the politics of the British film industry.

This collection reveals the mind and the tactics of a master filmmaker who is woefully under-known, even as his films are widely celebrated throughout the world. Martin Scorsese, whom Powell befriended in his later years, considers him a towering genius of cinema.

David Lazar, an associate professor of English at Ohio University, senior editor of Hotel Amerika, and editor/publisher of, edited Conversations with M.F.K. Fisher (University Press of Mississippi).

He is the author of The Body of Brooklyn and his work has appeared in the Houston Chronicle, Aperture, Southwest Review, and many other journals and magazines.

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