Monday, April 3, 2017

Jeff's #90: The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp

#90: The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, 1943)

Eh, really wasn't feeling it this weekend.  Or today either.  Just had a bunch of long, stressful nights at work and have been waking up each day feeling unfocused and groggy.

COLONEL BLIMP's my next pick. I don't remember precisely when I first saw it, but I got the Blu-ray for Christmas and re-watched half of it this past week.  Like most of Powell and Pressburger's work, it's completely stunning in HD.  It just glows with motley saturation.  Some have called this the greatest British film ever made.  And the greatest film about "Britishness" ever made. While it's certainly up there in the pantheon of British film, I don't even think it's the best film that the Archers made (another of theirs is much higher on my list).  Still, I really love this.  Through the intimate details of one man's life, it charts an entire history of British militarism and German-British relations from the start of the 20th century through WWII.  Like GRAND ILLUSION, through the reality of modern warfare, it deftly critiques the early 20th century fantasy of chivalry between nations based on entrenched codes of honor and class hierarchies.  And like Ishiguro's THE REMAINS OF THE DAY, it subtly juxtaposes the idea of "stiff upper lip" British restraint with romantic failure - suggesting that Candy's triumph of honor through restraint may not be a triumph at all.  Instead, it leaves him aged and isolated, left to fill the void of lost love with endless simulacra.

STATS:  One more from the Archers coming up.


  1. For whatever reason, I can hear this title being referenced by Homer Simpson. Is there something to that? Can't recall an exact line. Could just be all of the blimp talk in Lisa the Beauty Queen.

    1. You might be thinking of Homer fantasizing about Colonel Klink from Hogan's Heroes, in I believe the Last Temptation of Homer??

    2. Yeah, that was my other thought. Anyway, whenever I hear Col. Blimp, I think of Homer.

  2. It's honestly the Blu Ray I'm most eager to watch in my library.