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.

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All-Movie Guide - Michael Powell
Michael Powell
Birth  Sep 30, 1905 - Bekesbourne, Kent, England
Death  Feb 19, 1990 - Avening, Gloucestershire, England
Occupation  Director, Producer, Screenwriter
Years Active  dec1.gif dec2.gif 30s 40s 50s 60s dec7.gif dec8.gif dec9.gif
Countries  UK
Genres  Drama , Comedy , Crime , Action , Adventure , Mystery , Fantasy , Spy Film , War Drama , Ballet/Dance , Heaven-Can-Wait Fantasies , Comedy Drama , Romantic Fantasy , Crime Thriller , Detective Film , Melodrama , Psychological Thriller , Biography [Feature] , Docudrama , Religious Drama , Combat Films , Film-Opera , Police , Musical Fantasy , Period Drama , Adventure Drama , Romantic Adventure
See Also 
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Biography sp.gif [To Top]
A one time studio gofer, stills photographer, and comic actor, Michael Powell became one of the most celebrated and controversial directors ever to come out of England. Born in Canterbury, Powell became enamored of films while still a teenager and, after a start in the mid 1920s and a stint as stills photographer and co-scenarist with Alfred Hitchcock in the early sound era, Powell broke into directing in low-budget British thrillers and comedies. In 1937, after directing and writing his first notable movie, The Edge of the World, he moved to London Films where he began his two-decade association with Emeric Pressburger, a gifted young author and screenwriter. Their partnership began shortly after they left London Films (where they collaborated on The Spy In Black, and Powell co-directed The Thief of Bagdad), with the wartime thrillers Contraband and 49th Parallel -- the latter attracted much attention around the world (including an Oscar nomination for Best Picture and an Academy Award for best original story), and resulted in the creation of The Archers, an independent production company through which they went on jointly to write, produce, and direct The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, A Canterbury Tale, I Know Where I'm Going, and Stairway To Heaven during World War II. These films, with their idiosynchratic humor and point of view alienated many British critics but delighted audiences on both sides of the Atlantic. After the war, Powell and Pressburger made a series of movies that emblazoned their names around the world: Black Narcissus, a story of nuns who are nearly destroyed by their own passions while trying to found a convent in the Himalayas; The Red Shoes, a phenomenally successful film about the life and death of a ballet dancer, whose multi-year run in America and multi-million dollar success made possible such pictures as An American In Paris; and The Tales of Hoffmann, an opera/ballet amalgam of unprecedented stylistic flare and daring. The early 1950s saw a decline in their fortunes, and the partnership dissolved in 1956. Powell continued to make movies of a fiercely personal nature until 1960, when the critical reaction to Peeping Tom -- now considered a classic, about a man who mixes voyeurism, cinema, and murder -- ended his career in England. He worked for American and European television during the 1960s and 1970s, and late in that decade was rediscovered with the help of Francis Coppola and Martin Scorsese, each of whom regarded Powell as one of the most important influences on his own work. Museum retrosepctives, restorations, and reopenings of his classic films followed, along with a multi-volume autobiography that he completed prior to his death. -- Bruce Eder
Most Frequently Worked With sp.gif [To Top]
Production team: Emeric Pressburger (Screenwriter) , C.C. Stevens (Sound/Sound Designer) , George R. Busby (Producer) , Jerome Jackson (Producer) , Sydney Streeter (Production Manager) , Christopher G. Challis (Cinematographer) , Hein Heckroth (Production Designer) , Brian Easdale (Composer (Music Score) ) , Reginald Mills (Editor) , Arthur Lawson (Art Director) , Alfred Junge (Art Director)
Actors: Esmond Knight , Robert Helpmann , Cyril Cusack , Henry Caine , John Longden , Hay Petrie , David Farrar , Anthony Quayle , John Laurie , Patrick Macnee , Leonid Massine
Filmography sp.gif [To Top]
2.5 Stars 1984 Anna Pavlova
     aka A Woman for All Time [1983]
     aka Pavlova: A Woman for All Time [1983]
     aka Pavlova [1983]
     aka The Divine Anna [1983]
3 Stars 1978 Return to the Edge of the World Producer / Actor [Starring] / Director  
3 Stars 1973 Isn't It Shocking? [TV] Actor  
2.5 Stars 1972 The Boy Who Turned Yellow [doc] Director  
3 Stars 1972 Boxcar Bertha Actor  
3 Stars 1969 Bluebeard's Castle
     aka Herzog Blaubarts Burg [1978]
2 Stars 1969 Age of Consent Producer / Director  
3 Stars 1968 Sebastian
     aka Mr. Sebastian
2.5 Stars 1966 They're a Weird Mob Producer / Director  
4.5 Stars 1960 Peeping Tom
     aka Face of Fear
     aka The Fotographer of Panic
Director / Actor / Producer  
3 Stars 1959 Luna de Miel
     aka Honeymoon (U.S. title)
Director / Screenwriter / Producer  
2 Stars 1957 Pursuit of the Graf Spee
     aka The Battle of the River Plate [1956]
Director / Producer / Screenwriter  
2.5 Stars 1957 Ill Met by Moonlight
     aka Intelligence Service [1956]
     aka Night Ambush (U.S. title)
Producer / Director / Screenwriter  
2.5 Stars 1956 Oh ... Rosalinda!
     aka Fledermaus '55 [1955]
Producer / Screenwriter / Director  
1.5 Stars 1955 The Queen's Guards Producer / Director  
2.5 Stars 1955 The Sorcerer's Apprentice Director  
1.5 Stars 1952 The Wild Heart
     aka Gone To Earth [1950]
Screenwriter / Director  
3 Stars 1951 The Tales of Hoffmann
     aka Tales of Hoffmann (U.S. title)
Producer / Screenwriter / Director  
2.5 Stars 1950 The Elusive Pimpernel
     aka The Fighting Pimpernel
Producer / Director / Screenwriter / Actor  
3 Stars 1950 Gone to Earth
     aka Gypsy Blood
     aka The Wild Heart
Director / Producer / Screenwriter  
4 Stars 1949 The Small Back Room
     aka Hour of Glory
Actor / Director / Producer / Screenwriter  
5 Stars 1948 The Red Shoes Director / Producer / Screenwriter  
2.5 Stars 1947 The End of the River Producer  
4.5 Stars 1947 Black Narcissus Director / Producer / Screenwriter  
5 Stars 1946 A Matter of Life and Death
     aka Stairway to Heaven (U.S. title)
Producer / Director / Screenwriter  
4.5 Stars 1945 I Know Where I'm Going Screenwriter / Producer / Director  
3 Stars 1944 A Canterbury Tale Screenwriter / Director / Producer  
2.5 Stars 1944 Volunteer Actor / Producer / Director / Screenwriter  
2.5 Stars 1943 The Silver Fleet Producer  
4.5 Stars 1943 The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp
     aka Colonel Blimp
Director / Producer / Screenwriter  
4 Stars 1941 49th Parallel
     aka 49th Parallel
Director / Producer  
2.5 Stars 1941 Airman's Letter to his Mother Cinematographer / Director  
3 Stars 1941 One of Our Aircraft Is Missing Producer / Screenwriter / Director / Actor  
4 Stars 1940 The Lion Has Wings Director  
4.5 Stars 1940 Contraband
     aka Blackout
Director / Screenwriter  
5 Stars 1940 The Thief of Bagdad Actor / Director  
3 Stars 1939 The Spy in Black
     aka U-Boat 29
4 Stars 1937 The Edge of the World Director / Actor / Screenwriter  
2.5 Stars 1936 The Man Behind the Mask Director  
2 Stars 1936 The Brown Wallet Director  
2 Stars 1936 Crown Vs Stevens Director  
2 Stars 1935 The Price of a Song Director / Producer  
2 Stars 1935 Some Day Director  
1.5 Stars 1935 Her Last Affaire Director  
2.5 Stars 1935 Lazybones Director  
3 Stars 1935 The Phantom Light Director  
2 Stars 1935 The Love Test Director  
2 Stars 1934 Red Ensign
     aka Strike!
2 Stars 1934 The Night of the Party Director  
1.5 Stars 1934 The Girl in the Crowd Director  
2 Stars 1934 Something Always Happens Director  
2 Stars 1933 The Fire Raisers Director / Screenwriter  
1.5 Stars 1933 Perfect Understanding Screenwriter  
2 Stars 1932 Rasp Director  
2 Stars 1932 Rynox Screenwriter / Director  
1 Star 1932 C.O.D. Director  
1 Star 1932 His Lordship Director  
1.5 Stars 1932 Hotel Splendide Actor / Director  
1 Star 1932 Born Lucky Director  
2.5 Stars 1932 Star Reporter Cinematographer / Director  
2.5 Stars 1931 77 Park Lane Screenwriter  
2 Stars 1931 Two Crowded Hours Director  
2 Stars 1931 My Friend the King Director  
1 Star 1930 Caste Screenwriter  
2 Stars 1930 The Compulsory Husband Actor  
3 Stars 1929 Blackmail Screenwriter  
4 Stars 1927 The Garden of Allah Asst. Director  
4 Stars 1926 Mare Nostrum Asst. Director  
2.5 Stars 1926 Magician Asst. Director  
Awards sp.gif [To Top]
Films Presented   The Edge of the World  1937   Venice Film Festival  
Best Original Screenplay (nom)   One of Our Aircraft Is Missing  1942   Academy  
Best Direction   49th Parallel  1942   New-York Film Critics Circle Award  
Best Direction   The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp  1945   New-York Film Critics Circle Award  
Best Film   The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp  1945   New-York Film Critics Circle Award  
Best Direction   A Matter of Life and Death  1946   New-York Film Critics Circle Award  
Best Film   A Matter of Life and Death  1946   New-York Film Critics Circle Award  
Films Presented   The Thief of Bagdad  1946   Venice Film Festival  
Best British Film   The Red Shoes  1948   British Academy Awards  
Competing Film   The Red Shoes  1948   Venice Film Festival  
Competing Film   The Elusive Pimpernel  1949   Venice Film Festival  
Competing Film   The Wild Heart  1950   Venice Film Festival  
Competing Film   The Tales of Hoffmann  1951   Berlin International Film Festival  
Musical   The Tales of Hoffmann  1951   Berlin International Film Festival  
Competing Film   The Tales of Hoffmann  1951   Cannes Film Festival  
Special Prize for Originality of Lyrical Adaptation (win)   The Tales of Hoffmann  1951   Cannes Film Festival  
Best British Film   Pursuit Of The Graf Spree  1956   British Academy Awards  
Competing Film   Luna de Miel  1959   Cannes Film Festival  
Fellowship Award (win)     1980   British Academy Awards  



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