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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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Conference on Popular European Cinema at Warwick

Well many thanks to Natacha for telling me about this.

That was for the Conference on Popular European Cinema. It's going on all weekend but I only wanted to go to the session titled Powell and Pressburger - although I was tempted by some of the others. Partly it was to give moral support to Natacha who was presenting a paper there & partly to hear what the other papers were about.

Although it wasn't due to start until 4:30pm I left early because I realised that Warwick is just SE of Birmingham and just to the West of Birmingham is where they filmed GTE (Much Wenlock & Longner Hall if it's still there), so I thought I'd do a bit of location hunting & maybe get a few photos.

I made good time up the superslab & got to the Warwick turn off by 12:30. Great, I though, just 10-15 more miles, should be easy in the 3 hours I had. But I reckoned without the massive snarl up that is the M6 around Birmingham.

I was keeping half an eye on the traffic going the other way in case it might have taken longer to get back but as it took me over an hour to do the first 5 miles I gave up & headed back to Warwick. I'll have to leave "God's little mountain" for another day.
[See report on my later trip there.]

As I was therefore a bit early I had a chance to have a quick word with the other 2 people presenting papers while they were setting things up (while making sure I didn't get in their way) and told them briefly who I was & about this group.

The first up was Adrienne McLean, assistant professor of film studies at the University of Texas. She spoke about the reactions from the critics (mainly in America) to TRS & ToH. Interesting how the dance & ballet critics often had such a different view to the film critics. It was also interesting how their opinions varied when they realised how popular the films were. When they thought they were "elitist" they all seemed to approve :)

Then Andrew Moor from the University of Bangor (North Wales) spoke about P&P's "Lyceum streak". The phrase comes from Durgnat's phrase for the way that after their wartime films they still didn't fit into the norm for British films but they were, with films like BN & TRS bringing a touch of melodrama to the screens.

Then Natacha spoke about The Spectacle & The Spectacular in P&P films.

Oh, I forgot to say. As it was a conference about European films the papers were presented in various European languages (mainly English & French)and Natacha had warned me that as she hadn't had time to do a proper translation she was presenting hers in French. Now French isn't one of my better languages - to put it mildly, but I was able to follow it mainly because I know the films so well :)

She's promised me a transcript - haven't you Natacha !! :)

The 3 papers were followed by a Q&A which raised some interesting points but it was a small room and VERY crowded (why do people always underestimate the attraction of P&P - and people had paid to attend this so they must be keen) so we soon retired to partake of a few glasses of wine upstairs.

I got chatting to Adrienne & Andrew and they both promised to email me transcripts which is why I haven't gone into their papers in much detail. I'll post them when they send them.

It turns out that Adrienne was a dancer when younger which is why she's tended to concentrate on TRS & ToH.

Andrew confessed that his favourite P&P films was probably ACT (closely followed by Blimp) partly as his family came from East Kent. So I told him about the trips down there & Paul Tritton's work in finding the locations (and the "boys").

I thought I'd pass on some of the crazier ideas that have come out of this group to see what they think of them :-

Comparing IKWIG to The Birds
Comparing ACT to Twin peaks
What did Babyface write on the carriage window?
etc etc
See here for details of these.

So a nice day out, 330 miles travelled and a couple more P&P "friends".


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