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]
The Films of Michael Powell & The Archers
By: Scott Salwolke
What Steve thought of it.
I sent this letter off to the publishers of Salwolke's book (Scarecrow Press). I received an acknowledgement but no answers.
I hope they stopped some of his fees :)
If anyone spots any that I got wrong - or any other errors if you'd had the misfortune to read this book then please email me.
Being a great fan of the work of Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger I was interested in the book you published by Scott Salwolke titled "The Films of Michael Powell & The Archers".
I got the book from my local library to see if it was worth buying. It was lucky that I did !!
I turned at once to the section on my favorite film & was surprised to see that he'd got some of the quotations wrong. I read further & found so many errors that I thought I'd write to you with a list of them.
My library had to borrow the book from the British Library and my loan period was limited so there were a few points I wasn't able to check in time & I didn't always take adequate notes of the errors in the book (there were so many of them).
A few of them might be me getting pedantic because I was so annoyed at the number of errors as I read.
I've left out LOT'S of other things that I'd dispute but are his personal opinion - such as Powell being heavily influenced by Disney.
p2 "Powell was introduced to movies LATE in life"?? He was already working in movies by age 19. p5 Powell's Autobiography was "A Life in Movies" not "A Life in Films". p7 SS says the "The Garden of Allah (1927)" was such a failure that Rex Ingram left Nice. So what about "The Three Passions (1928)" and Baroud (1932)" [AKA "Love in Morocco (1932)"]? p42 SS says that Foula is located in the Hebrides. Hirta (where the original evacuation took place) is in the Hebrides, Foula (where the film was made) is in the Shetland Islands. p46 SS says that old lady Manson (Kitty Kirwan) was blind. I don't recall this. I must re-read the Edge of the World book. p46 SS says "as Peter falls to his death, his blind grandmother ..." it was Robbie who fell. Peter fell later in the film. p56 "in short abundance" - very dodgy English. What can it mean? p58 SS says something about who rescued Hardt but Hardt was never rescued!! The actor playing Hardt (Conrad Veidt) was held captive in his next film for Powell (Contraband) p61 They're ALL busts of Chamberlain - even the one he hits the nazi with, not Roosevelt. p89 The quote between Corbett & Haggard that was the spark of the idea that led to Blimp doesn't make sense as it is given. Instead of "... you are like I was in the past, and you are like I am now in the present." it should be "... and in the future you will be like I am now." p96 The character name is "Spud Wilson" not "Spuds Wilson" p103 It's not a church converted to a hospital but a nunnery where the nurses are staying the night. p105 Quoted passage doesn't fit the framing sentence grammatically.
Angela admits she was surprised at being chosen as his driver, that it was a "seven hundred to one. Makes me a bit of an outsider."
p111 The falcon and the spitfire at the start of A Canterbury Tale ... "Brilliant match cut"? Clever, but hardly brilliant. They're different sizes & going in different directions. p113 The sound is heard in a cupboard, not the next room. It's his uniform falling off the hanger.
[N.B. What appears in the film as a cupboard is the jury retiring room in the real Town Hall - but it's VERY small]
p119 When Alison is going to locate her caravan she passes bombed offices, not homes. p130 In A Matter Of Life And Death Conductor 71 says "Ah, one is starved for Technicolor up there" not "one is so starved for Technicolor up there". The voice was re-dubbed, the original was just "Ah, one is starved for colour up there." (you can tell by watching his lips). p136 SS says Dr. Reeves praises Peter's prose, but Peter wrote poetry.
[Or was this when Doc Reeves says "A lovely bit of prose" when Peter describes the "frozen in time" June in the lobby of the operating room?]
p136 The quote is "a prop or wings" not "a crop or wings". p137 "too good of a mind"?? I heard it as "too good a mind". I double checked, definitely "too good a mind". p153 "more unique"?? You can't qualify an absolute. p157 Julian Craster wasn't "a music professor", he was "a student of a music professor". p172 It was a partition that the personnel chief has put up in his office, not a petition. p172 The quote should be "the sales side has to impress people" not "the sale side has to impress people". p184 WHEN has the Mamoulian version (The Wild Heart) been shown on UK TV? I've only ever seen the original (Gone to Earth) here. p195 "increas-ing" bad hyphen. p213 W. Stanley Moss was English not American p213 It wasn't the "leader of the Cretan underground" who knew Morse, it was Sandy (played by Cyril Cusack) the British radio man. p219 The actor was Carl (real name Karlheinz) Boehm, son of conductor Karl Boehm, not Mark Boehm. Mark was the character's name. p232 Misquote of Prof Lewis (Powell) as Mark dies. p244 It was Bradley, not Bradly. p254 There's another bit of bad grammar here. "Thanks Laurie's personality, ..." that didn't make sense. p333 refs to Frankie Reid and Frances Reidy. Powell's first wife was Frankie Reidy (real name Frances Reidy).
I hope you can use this list to find out why Mr. Salwolke didn't spot these errors or why the editor didn't query some of the grammar. It's a real shame, it's such a great subject & does deserve a much better book than this one. I thought it was especially unfortunate as you are based near Canterbury, where Michael Powell was born.
Stephen J.S. Crook
I had also put a few disparaging words about the book on the Amazon.co.uk web site where it asked for comments about the book.
Then one day I got an email & it was from Scott Salwolke himself. He had seen what I'd written on the Amazon site and wanted to make contact. I referred him to this more detailed list of problems and he told me ..."I had corrected a lot of the spelling & grammatical errors in your list in the final galley proofs. But the publishers had major upheavals at that time, they were taken over by another publisher, the editor assigned to my book left and so on.Scott agreed that Michael Powell (and Emeric Pressburger) deserve a better book, maybe even better than the book that his one could have been if it had been completed and we both decided that when we have some time (probably in about 30 years) we'll write it !!
They ignored my final set of corrections and printed the book from an earlier, uncorrected, version."