Have this article read to you, listen to it like a podcast
This May is Powell and Pressburger Month, featuring the movies of filmmaking team Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger! Sometimes referred to as “The Archers” (the name of their production company), the two produced a cycle of films in the 40s and 50s that exericsed tremendous influnce on cinema as a whole. From wartime fantasies to sexually-charged thrillers, the movies here demonstrate the breadth of Powell and Pressburger’s creative talent. Grab your finest red shoes and head on over for a series of films that might make you laugh, might make you cry, but will always engage your eyes and intellect!
The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp – May 16 – 18
Directed by Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger | 1943
General Candy (Roger Livesey) leads an English squad in the heat of WWII in 1943. A veteran leader who lacks not only respect from the men he’s training but a modern perspective, Candy recounts his early career in the Boer War and World War I. Remembering the dashing young officer he was, Candy’s life is shaped by three different women, and an everlasting, if complicated friendship with a German soldier.
A Matter of Life and Death – May 19 – 21
Directed by Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger | 1946
A miracle has occurred … on accident. When a young RAF pilot (David Niven) survives falling out of his burning aeroplane without a parachute, he falls in love with an American radio operator (Kim Hunter), to whom he sent his dying wishes to. Up in the staircase of the afterlife, officials in the other world realize their error, dispatching an angel to collect and force him to stand trial as to whether his life is worth saving.
Black Narcissus – May 22 & 23
Directed by Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger | 1947
Sister Clodagh leads a group of Anglican nuns who are relocated to a vast mountain up in the Himalayas, where the climate is hostile and the nuns are housed in a mysterious palace. Aspiring to establish education and a hospital, their focus shifts as Sister Ruth falls for a government worker, whose influence begins to make her question her own celibacy. As love runs rampantly through Sister Ruth, Sister Clodagh recounts her own romantic history.
The Red Shoes – May 24 – 26
Directed by Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger | 1948
Vicky Page (Moira Shearer) is an aspiring ballerina torn between her dedication to the world-renowned Ballet Lermontov and her desire to love. While ballet owner/operator Boris Lermantov (Anton Walbrook) urges Page to prioritize ballet over all, Vicky adoration turns toward the charms of young composer Julian Craster (Marius Goring). Eventually, Vicky is given an overwhelming ultimatum: choose to pursue art or romance, threatening the passions and livelihoods of all involved.
The Tales of Hoffmann – May 28 – 30
Directed by Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger | 1951
A young poet named Hoffmann (Robert Rounseville) broods over his failed romances. First, his affair with the beautiful Olympia (Moira Shearer) is shattered when he realizes that she is really a mechanical woman designed by a scientist. Next, he believes that a striking prostitute loves him, only to find out she was hired to fake her affections by the dastardly Dapertutto. Lastly, a magic spell claims the life of his final lover, potentially bookending Hoffmann’s tragic life.
Peeping Tom – May 31
Directed by Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger | 1960
Mark Lewis (Carl Boehm) is your average loner film studio worker during the day, but at night, he takes form as a racy photographer of women. He soon befriends Helen, the daughter of a family living in the apartment below his, and he tells her about the movie he is making: a documentary on fear, and his technique being the recording of his murder victims.