The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp

Institute History

  • 1991 Sundance Film Festival


This World War II portrait of a staunch British soldier has rarely been seen in the United States in anything but woefully doctored and cut versions. Forty minutes, as well as the flashback framing device, were edited from the original American release, thus completely eliminating the film's point of view as being that of the Colonel as he reflects on his past. Blimp takes us back in time as far as the Boer War, and as the film progresses through both history and his life, it reveals to us his relationship with Deborah Kerr and the power of romantic love. As critic Andrew Sarris has commented: "I never imagined (more than forty years ago) that I'd live to see the day when I would have the effrontery to write that I preferred this Michael Powell-Emeric Pressburger production to Citizen Kane." And Sards also observed: ". . . Powell was an eccentric explorer in the grand Victorian tradition, but he journeyed inward to what Akira Kurosawa described at this year's Oscar ceremony as the 'essence of cinema,' And in the way the camera gazed at DeborahKerr with a sigh of recognition and remembrance, I felt I was present at a privileged moment it was in the power Of only the cinema to bestow."

— Geoffrey Gilmore

Screening Details

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