A long, complicated movie – Criterion summary:

The film follows the exploits of pristine British soldier Clive Candy as he battles to maintain his honor and proud gentlemanly conduct through romance, three wars, and a changing world. Vibrant and controversial, it is at once a romantic portrait of a career soldier and a pointed investigation into the nature of aging, friendship, and obsolescence.

Blimp in WWI with John Laurie:

I wrote in 2006: “Oops, I thought this was a comedy. I’d somehow convinced myself that Powell makes comedies and I’m never right.”

At the beginning, the movie seems to be about fiery young soldier Spud, then he disappears for 2.5 hours while Candy goes into a “when I was your age” story. This threw me off the first time I saw the movie, as did Deborah Kerr’s various roles. Throwing me this time: Roger Livesey, handsome romantic lead of I Know Where I’m Going, so convincing as a blowhard old man.

Not covered by the summary above: Candy’s lifelong friendship with German soldier Theo Kretschmar-Schuldorff (Anton Walbrook). Candy provokes an international incident in the early 1900’s (during the Boer War) and gets himself into a duel with Theo, then they recover together, both in love with Deborah Kerr #1, who marries Theo. In WWI, Candy meets Deborah #2, a nurse, and marries her. And in WWII, Theo has moved to England and Deborah #3 is dating young Spud, is a favorite assistant of Candy’s for obvious reasons.

Deborah Kerr thinks highly of me:

No character in the film is named Col. Blimp – he was a political cartoon character, a blustery old officer who proclaims his dated ideas in a Turkish bath, the WWII version of Candy. The movie’s a bit long and rambling, but a total pleasure to watch, with color cinematography that is beyond excellent. One of my very favorites.

Duelist Theo Kretschmar-Schuldorff:

Powell sounds soooo tired on the commentary.
On Kerr: “I got enthusiastic about her hats.”

Scorsese is more fun. I like when he appreciates the visual design while also saying that you don’t have to care about this stuff if you don’t want to:

Look at the use of red in the menus … These are things I kind of enjoy. I don’t say that as you’re watching the film you should be pointing out where the red is. I think you should just look at the movie and enjoy it, hopefully, and probably you shouldn’t be even listening to this narration, you should be watching the film.

The sixth-and-a-half Powell movie I’ve shown to Katy. I always think of Powell/Pressburger films as the kind of thing she’ll love, despite the fact that she hasn’t loved any, and has roundly disliked at least three. This one was going well, with a strong-willed female lead until, cornered by her confusion and desire, she falls down a well to her death. Sorry, Katy.

Hazel (Jennifer Jones) is lovely with a disconcerting gypsy accent, lives with her father Esmond Knight (just saw him in Contraband), who doesn’t seem blind at all in this movie. Rich asshole David Farrar (also kinda an asshole in Black Narcissus) hotly desires her, but she hides away from him and finally marries meek minister Cyril Cusack (Odd Man Out, Fahrenheit 451). They sleep in separate bedrooms and he can’t bring himself to touch her – shades of Smiles of a Summer Night – and so she ends up back with David Farrar, shaming her husband and outraging his mother (Sybil Thorndike) and congregation. Hazel is attracted/repelled by Farrar all along, and he seems like the love ’em-and-leave ’em type but obsesses over Hazel for years, so it’s unclear just how this is going to work out. Of course it doesn’t – she tries to run from everybody at once, wild like her pet fox (thanks, Katy) towards certain doom.

Jennifer Jones and David Farrar:

Cyril Cusack:

We knew that the fiery pagan girl wouldn’t be easily domesticated by her mild Christian husband, and would’ve known very well that she wouldn’t live through the movie if we’d paid attention to the signs: the film’s title, the bottomless pit shown in the first act, and the fact that the first time we see her at home, she’s framed inside a coffin.

Strong, deep colors and expert production design, as expected from a Powell/Pressburger/Heckroth picture. My favorite character was Andrew Vessons (Hugh Griffith) as Farrar’s contemptuous coachman. Movie was cut down considerably by David O. Selznick for the U.S. release with added close-ups and explanation, doing nothing for the film’s reputation.

A couple of characters: Hugh Griffith above and Esmond Knight below

I’ve seen a lot of wartime films by the Powell/Pressburger crew, but this one was the most fun.

Neutral ship captain Conrad Veidt (Casablanca and Thief of Bagdad baddie) and his passengers and crew are stuck at a British port having their ship searched for contraband, when a tough-talkin’ broad (Valerie Hobson of Bride of Frankenstein, Kind Hearts and Coronets) slips away. Conrad secretly follows her to shore, finds out she’s a spy, gets involved in hijinks, and foils some sort of nazi plot.

They’re all gonna laugh at you, Conrad:

To attract police attention to the baddies’ lair, Conrad turns on all the lights during the war blackout:

It was easy to follow at the time, but a month later the details are hazy. I remember the girl’s co-conspirator was Mr. Pigeon (Esmond Knight, the old guy who tosses an arrow into the king at the start of Robin and Marian), that the baddy is Van Dyne (Raymond Lovell, later in 49th Parallel). They recruit an excitable Danish chef, the brother of an officer on Conrad’s ship (played by the same actor since they share no scenes), who almost steals the film.

The credits boldly name this scene the “White Negro” Cabaret:

A. Ives for Senses:

Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger … would later get into considerable trouble with Churchill on The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, when they suggested that not all Germans were bad, and that traditional British codes of honour were meaningless in fighting such a ruthless enemy as the Nazis. Britain had to fight dirty, they essentially argued. These theories are also propagated by Contraband, if in a somewhat undercooked fashion. So Veidt fights dirty as he tracks down the Nazis – beating up some British officers in his quest – while the meta-cinema of Contraband (mentioned above) clearly shows an affection for a lost Germany [references Fritz Lang, stars Conrad from Cabinet of Dr. Caligari].

Inside the nazi lair:

Our friendly spies are surely doomed:

But wait! Conrad’s in the elevator with a gun:

Shootout ensues in a bust warehouse:

“Do you think that we Hollanders who threw the sea out of our country will let the Germans have it? Better the sea.”

Pressburger’s first producer/director credit after a decade of writing in the movies – including Powell’s 49th Parallel, The Spy In Black and Contraband. Shot by Ronald Neame and edited (as was 49th Parallel) by David Lean. Early on were some wondrous airborne shots of the city below lit up by bombs and anti-aircraft fire – I couldn’t tell if it was stock footage or superior special effects.

A pip of a war thriller, more exciting than 49th Parallel. After a British bomber is shot down over Holland, the soldiers (who all parachuted to safety) have to find their stray comrade, contact the resistance and make their way to the border, nearly getting caught a bunch of times.

Note nazi officer silhouette in the organist’s mirror:

Sure, all the guys have different jobs and hobbies and personalities, but the movie is pretty story-driven, so I didn’t get strong enough individual impressions to tell them all apart and remember who was who – figuring most of this out from IMDB. Older guy George, rear gunner, was the villain in The 39 Steps. I recognized Eric Portman from A Canterbury Tale. Hugh Williams (who later starred in Pressburger’s solo film Twice Upon a Time) was an actor in civilian life, so gets dressed as a woman when they hide out in church with the villagers. Front gunner Bernard Miles was in The Man Who Knew Too Much remake. Pilot Hugh Burden played in Ghost Ship and Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb, and Emrys Jones (the stray Bob, a soccer player) appeared in The Small Back Room.

The bailed-out men are found immediately by children who report them to Pamela Brown (I Know Where I’m Going, Tales of Hoffmann). She surprisingly makes them prove their identities to make sure they’re not nazi spies trying to entrap the resistance leaders, then smuggles them (via the costumes and the church) on to priest Peter Ustinov (voice of Prince John) then on to Googie Withers (of Night and the City) who gets them to a boat at great personal risk – in fact, I’m not sure how she gets out alive at the end. Somewhere along the way they come across Bob at a soccer game, natch, and Ustinov squares off against nazi sympathizer Robert Helpmann (Red Shoes, Tales of Hoffmann). During their boat escape, one (George?) is shot, but in the epilogue they’re all alive, well and flying missions again – target: Berlin.

Also watched:
An Airman’s Letter to His Mother (1941, Michael Powell)

…which was exactly that – a letter written to be delivered in case of his death, then delivered when he died. One of those super-patriotic messages, which was published in all the papers and filmed by Powell, I guess in order to reach cinemagoers who don’t read the papers.

The kind of movie that I appreciate more after watching it than during. Having read nothing about it beforehand, I spent much of the runtime wondering why P&P made a wartime movie about three strangers casually hanging out in a small country town near Canterbury, trying to solve the mystery of a man who throws glue in girls’ hair. Not that I minded, since it moves along at a fair pace and is lovely to look at, but as it was ending I finally realized it’s another kind of propaganda movie, better and more subtle than 49th Parallel, perhaps with a similar emotional development to The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (though it’s been a while since I’ve seen that one).

Of course, “more subtle than 49th Parallel” doesn’t mean it was a subtle movie, and I have a caveat about the pacing, too: John Sweet as Bob Johnson (not a film actor, but an actual U.S. army sergeant) delivers his lines with such cowboy cadence, I felt like I could’ve watched a whole other movie during the gaps between words.

On Bob’s way to Canterbury, a proper city with cathedrals and stuff, he gets waylaid in a small town, and a fellow traveler, here to relive a vacation she spent with her presumed-dead soldier fiancee, gets attacked by the glue man. To solve the mystery, the girl (Sheila Sim of Pandora and the Flying Dutchman) asks past glue victims in town for clues, Bob recruits the two warring armies of children (the film’s highlight, like a friendly Rome Open City) and their new British friend Peter (Dennis Price, who would return in Oh… Rosalinda!!) gets to know local historian Thomas Colpeper (Eric Portman of 49th Parallel and One of Our Aircraft is Missing). Colpeper turns out to be the glue man – of course, being the first-billed actor and the main personality about town – but the ‘why’ is more interesting than the ‘who.’ He’s trying to scare local girls from dating visiting soldiers while their own men are off at war. Colpeper has an all-around weird way of seeing things, maybe just too British for my understanding, but he’s not a bad fellow.

L-R: Bob, Sheila and Dennis

In the end our pilgrims make it to Canterbury and each receives a blessing: Bob finds out that his girl hasn’t been responding to his letters because she moved to Sydney, not because she’s leaving him. Dennis, a theater organist before the war, gets to play the Canterbury Cathedral organ. And Sheila finds out her man is still alive. I don’t know how to do the movie justice with my little plot descriptions – it was all very moving. Also notable for being the film that killed Margaret Mitchell. On her way to see it, she got run down by a drunk at Peachtree and 13th, a few miles from here.

P. Von Bagh:

A Canterbury Tale is about clues, not as in a detective story (although the search for the mysterious “glue man” almost qualifies it as one), but clues leading to what is most essential or, perhaps, the real “why we fight” of life: culture, landscape, history, the senses. These things are woven into a slight double narrative, simultaneously very rich and very absurd …

Why do we fight? This wartime question was given an impeccable, contemporary answer by the Frank Capra team, in the United States, and by the documentarian-poet Humphrey Jennings, in England. The Archers, though, were stretching the boundaries, as if reaching for another reality. The film seems to be strictly about the everyday, while at the same time dealing with things almost never touched upon in cinema. The immaterial made concrete by the camera work of Erwin Hillier. A wholly fantastic mise-en-scène by Powell, intriguing because he does exactly the same and more with “realist” and “documentary” material as with studio magic, and with a unique activation of human senses, made sacred through the purest means of cinema. And all this based on the strangest of scenarios, developed by the greatest writer of cinema (at least since F. W. Murnau’s Carl Mayer): Emeric Pressburger.

Eric Portman’s Colpeper can be ranked with another great Powell and Pressburger character, Anton Walbrook’s harsh/gentle impresario Boris Lermontov, in The Red Shoes (1948). Colpeper might expound his philosophy in a ruthless way, but he is certain that he is acting for the cause of Culture (as Lermontov does for the cause of Art), without compromise. For characters with such a twisted perception of the world, their fight can only be strange.

Shots below are from the prologue, which cuts forward hundreds of years, from a pilgrim watching his hunting falcon to a modern soldier watching a spitfire fighter, a possible influence on 2001: A Space Odyssey.

I watched this shortly before Trash Humpers, and judging from my notes, I’d already had more gin than I realized at the time. In place of the usual plot points and character names, I wrote down phrases that make me laugh, like “Bob’s your uncle” and when a young soldier is called “old man.” So feel free to blame the gin when I say this wasn’t one of my favorite Powell/Pressburger joints.

Weapons testing at Stonehenge:

I remember people mentioning this one when The Hurt Locker was out, both being about a damaged bomb defuser during wartime. Jeremy Renner was more psychologically damaged than this movie’s David Farrar (also of Gone to Earth), who is physically damaged, with a humiliating false foot (never seen by the audience, unlike Capt. John’s leg in Renoir’s The River). There’s a big solo bomb-defusal scene at the end with clamps and “reaching rods” – a low-key replacement for the awesome bomb suits in Hurt Locker, not that those suits helped much when bombs exploded. But most of the movie is a quiet, simmering backstage drama behind the war effort, with the munitions people trying to sell an idiotic government minister on some shoddy weaponry until Farrar finally exposes the whole thing – shadows of the Colonel Blimp theme of doing what’s right for the war effort versus what’s traditionally expected.

Our three heroes, conveniently in the same camera shot:

Of course there’s a girl – Kathleen Byron of Black Narcissus – a coworker who likes our bomb man, as well as a kind older professor (Milton Rosmer of The Lion Has Wings), a young specialist (Cyril Cusack of The Fighting Pimpernel) and an upright captain (Michael Gough, lumpy guy in The Horror of Dracula) who enlists the research unit to solve the mystery of booby-trapped cylinders the Germans have been dropping out of planes (he gets blown up at the end before Farrar takes the stage). My favorite character was a celebratory bottle of whiskey that hovers in forced perspective, always haunting the alcoholic Farrar with temptation.

A tough year to be nominated for best British film – if Kind Hearts and Coronets doesn’t beat you, The Third Man will.

N. James for Criterion:

The Small Back Room presents the relationship between Sammy and Susan in fairly realistic terms. In the novel the two live together; this could not be shown in British cinema of the period. Kathleen Byron claims the credit for the elegant solution of having the two live across the hall from each other. … The Small Back Room grapples with the sticky, intractable problems of a live-in relationship … Its depiction of companionship and care on the brink of catastrophe conceals a deeper undertow of romantic commitment to risk.

A rare valentine’s day treat for me when Katy suggested (not just “went along with” – suggested!) a Powell/Pressburger double-feature. Maybe she was jealous after reading up on the good times I had watching the previous double-feature by myself, or maybe it’s because I’ve been complaining for three years that we never finished watching The Red Shoes last time, or maybe she just likes me.

A Matter of Life and Death (1946)

Movie wastes no time, with David Niven (his post-war return to film, previously in Wyler’s Wuthering Heights and Dodsworth) mid-plane-crash having a smooth, romantic radio conversation with a visibly upset Kim Hunter (of The Seventh Victim, later A Streetcar Named Desire), each photographed in close-up with washes of color behind them. He turns up on a heavenly beach, safely alive sans parachute, then finds his radio girl and they fall in love, the end.


BUT WAIT, Niven was supposed to be dead, so a French-accented representative of heaven (Marius Goring of the Archers’ The Spy In Black) comes down to collect him. Niven argues that his situation has changed since he fell in love on his borrowed time and challenges the system to let him live. This is hardly precedented, but heaven agrees to give it a go. Niven consults with his new girl’s doctor friend Roger Livesey (star of I Know Where I’m Going!, and it’s nice to see him again) regarding which dead man Niven should employ as legal counsel in his heavenly trial versus the rabidly anti-British prosecuting attorney Raymond Massey (the soldier in the final scene of 49th Parallel). Movie has exquisite color, innovative production design and Roger Livesey, but it’s turning out to be another propagandistic (allied U.S./Britain need to get along) war story, and one with angels, no less. Angel movies are never good.


BUT WAIT, new layers are added, as Niven is suspected by the doctor of having brain damage from his fall and is rushed into operation, so the whole heaven business might be in his mind. The doctor, trying to summon an ambulance on his motorcycle, dies in a crash and becomes Niven’s attorney in angel-court. Not particularly nationalist, no theologian, just a very smart and logical man who helps Niven get out of heavenly trouble while the brain surgeon is saving him on earth, leading to the inevitable happy ending.


I ended up liking it an awful lot. Another movie, so soon after watching Magnificent Obsession, that hinges on the untimely death of a doctor. Niven’s painfully-British dead buddy, awaiting him in stark, black-and-white heaven, was played by Robert Coote (of The Ghost & Mrs. Muir and Welles’ Othello), all hanging out with the future Sister Ruth, Kathleen Byron. Somehow, even though I’ve seen his brother in a TV series 60 years later, I didn’t recognize Richard Attenborough.

The Red Shoes (1948)

Another glorious-looking film from the Archers and Technicolor pioneer Jack Cardiff. A student composer (hey, it’s a blond Marius Goring, the Frenchman from the last movie) whose work is being stolen by his teacher Austin Trevor (of Alexander Korda’s The Lion Has Wings) ends up on the same production as ballerina Moira Shearer under the tutelage of passionate and ruthless director Boris Lermontov (Ophuls fave Anton Walbrook, also in 49th Parallel). Composer and Dancer fall in love, but her true love is dancing. Torn between the two (she wouldn’t have to be torn if she could be married and dance, but it never works that way), a tragic finale! Wonderful sad conclusion with Lermontov announcing Shearer’s demise before the curtain, the play performed with only a spotlight where she should be. Echoes the end of The Golden Coach, another climactic love vs. art decision with a final curtain announcement.


Of course the highlight is the Red Shoes performance, 15 minutes of ballet tricks enhanced with film tricks, one of the most thrilling cinematic montages in history. Besides that one acclaimed scene, movie mostly plays it straight, with believable characterization and classy (but not stifling oscar-classy) filmmaking, until the one bit of fiction crossover at the end, when the red shoes seem to cause Shearer to run from the play and throw herself in front of a train. Close-up on her face, horrified (recalling the finale of Black Narcissus), then a focus on the shoes during the whole run without showing her face again.


Robert Helpmann, who was awesome in Tales of Hoffmann (and apparently made his own movie of Don Quixote in the 70’s) is awesome here as well, as the lead company dancer opposite Shearer. Movie won some oscars, including best music, but surprisingly the composer didn’t get much work except for other Powell/Pressburger films. Maybe he wasn’t looking for any.


Katy liked the movies, but didn’t love them, and especially disliked the ending of Red Shoes. When asked what she would’ve preferred, she mysteriously replied “I like when we watch classic movies,” as if the Archers films seemed too contemporary.


49th Parallel (1941)

The Archers wouldn’t exist as a production company and Pressburger wouldn’t get a co-director credit until the following year’s One of Our Aircraft is Missing – he just contributed the story for this Powell-directed piece of WWII propaganda. Movie hammers home its points (nazis are bad; Canada is great) with a series of episodes, each of which further weakens the nazi force which is inexplicably (I was spacing out during the first ten minutes) invading Canada and making their way south to the USA.

The first, last and most effective attacks are made by our valiant troops, who kick off the fun by bombing the nazi sub which has just landed six advance soldiers to secure a trading post. Now these six guys (led by hardass Eric Portman, kindly given a role the next year as a loyal allied copilot as payback from P&P for being such an effective nazi) constitute the entire german force in Canada – if they can cause some damage and make it to neutral USA they’ll be hailed at home as heroes, so it’s of moral importance to stop them. Seems perverse to me that my flag-swingin’ nazi-hatin’ country was considered a legal safe haven for german troops in ’41.

There I am in Canada, right between Carberry and ASSMNBOINE:

First stop: the outpost. They hang out there for a while, steal some gear and shoot a whole pile of eskimos. Meanwhile, horror of horrors, who should be at the outpost but Lawrence Olivier playing a French-Canadian trapper just returned from a year expedition (so unaware that Canada’s at war). F-C Olivier joins Japanese Mickey Rooney from Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Blackface Bing Crosby from Holiday Inn in the Casting Mistakes Hall of Fame. If the movie was meant as a love letter to Canada, I can’t figure why Powell would want to start off with such a loud, ridiculous caricature of a Canadian. Maybe Olivier, recently in Rebecca, brought great publicity to the project so nobody wanted to risk insult by having him tone down the accent. Anyway, he quickly gets up to speed, decides what side he needs to be on, and makes a grab for the radio, getting himself killed. The nazis hail a plane, then kill the pilots and take off, getting one man shot by an eskimo.

What’s the only thing hammier than Laurence Olivier as a French Canadian? Laurence Olivier as a dying French Canadian. “Let me axe you one kestion.”

Plane crashes in the water – that’s another nazi down, four to go. They stumble into a group of religious commie idealists with german roots led by noble Anton Walbrook (ballet instructor in The Red Shoes), and thinking they’ve found kindred souls, Portman makes a big hitler speech which falls flat. Time to move on, but one nazi (Niall MacGinnis – not a very german sounding name – of The Edge of the World, later Zeus in Jason and the Argonauts) is inspired by the freedom of this community, decides to stay on and be a baker and be in love with hot local chick (Glynis Johns of The Sundowners, The Cabinet of Caligari), so other dudes execute him. Harsh segment, but also the most beautiful part of the film, visually and idealistically.

Germans always heil each other before going to bed:

Big city parade, the authorities are closing in on our men. They make an announcement describing the three germans – one cracks under pressure and gets captured. Last two nazis hide out in the woods, bust in on a society escapee, pacifist writer Leslie Howard in his teepee, enjoy his hospitality then tie him up and break all his stuff to settle a political disagreement. Our pacifist escapes, chases the guys down, and beats the shit out of one of ’em. I see Leslie Howard played Henry Higgins in Pygmalion – makes sense, he seems the Higgins type. He was killed in the war a couple years after this came out.

This was meant to be inspirational:

Last guy (Portman, natch) makes it to the border on a freight train, runs into an AWOL soldier (Raymond Massey of The Fountainhead, East of Eden) and takes his uniform. Soldier wakes up, realizes they’ve made it to the states, but convinces the train dudes to send ’em back over the border (still locked in their freight car) with the excuse that Eric Portman wasn’t on the manifest. Massey advances on Portman, giving one of the best final lines in cinema history: “I’m not asking for those pants… I’m just taking ’em.”

Edited by David Lean (which is why it’s over two hours long, ha) who’d start directing the following year, and shot by the future D.P. of Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia. Movie is too talky and obvious, but then, it’s a government-funded piece of propaganda. Given that fact, and the problems of filming during wartime, the movie is almost impossibly good – and at the very least it’s a nice tour through Canada.

I Know Where I’m Going! (1945)

Whew, a wonderful poem of a film, foggy and deadly romantic. Wendy Hiller (Eliza in that same Pygmalion with Leslie Howard, which now I must see; in Lynch’s The Elephant Man 35 years later) meets dashing Roger Livesey (the fat man in Colonel Blimp…!) on her way to meet her fiancee and falls in love with him instead.

Title is well explained in the elegant opening credits segment. Joan (Hiller) is obsessed with wealth and manages to climb higher and higher, finally gets engaged to super-wealthy guy who lives on a remote Scottish isle. One of my favorite-ever scene transitions, a puff of smoke from a top hat turns into the smokestack of a train engine, and she’s off to be married.


After a nuts dream sequence aboard the train (see above), Joan finds that she can’t cross to the island because of the fog, nor can anyone cross from there to pick her up. Stranded, she tries not to make friends with Torquil MacNeil (Livesey) but can’t seem to help it… hangs out on the mainland with him, his welcoming friend Catriona (Pamela Brown, Hoffmann’s silent companion), and local falconer Col. Barnstaple (an actual falconer, does a hilarious job in his only acting role).

Livesey and Pamela:

Barnstaple and Hiller:

Conflict arises because Joan is starting to like Livesey (an awfully likeable guy – friendly and handsome and a good dancer, plus it turns out, the laird of the island where her man lives). No longer knowing where she’s going (!), she panics, decides she must get to the island immediately. Praying for wind to lift the fog didn’t work, since now the wind is too high to sail, but she bribes the boatman’s son into taking her. That doesn’t work out, ship is almost wrecked, saved by brave Roger. The next day, she’s finally headed for the island, Roger staying behind. Roger strolls into an ancient castle to which his family has been forbidden entry for generations and, well, the ending is too wonderful to retell.


Adding to the spooky atmosphere is music by Allan Gray (protagonist of Vampyr). There’s more: falcons, a whirlpool, and a phone booth by a waterfall, plus glorious location photography, but I’ll be watching it all again soon.

Finally, since it’s awards season in the movie world, one of my three known readers David Cairns has awarded this site a Premio Dardos. David writes the only film blog I read, the tremendously entertaining Shadowplay, and he still finds time to contribute articles to The Auteurs. The Premio Dardos is a JPEG image of unknown origin (unless I bother to google it) that comes with a series of rules I might not follow, but it’s sorta like if your shitty local band gets paid a compliment by a nationally-touring rock act – still an honor.


Who ever would’ve thought that I’d like a movie about nuns as much as this. Fucking incredibly amazing movie, one of the best I’ve ever seen, and I don’t think that’s just because I’m kinda drunk. Need to see this again and again. Would kill to see it in the theater. Maybe next year, 60th anniversary and all. Oughtta watch it again simply because I wasn’t paying as close attention as I should’ve… but still, seems like an extremely worthwhile movie.

Nuns opening school/hospital in the mountains with “primitive” people and a gruff, attractive male neighbor. One, maybe more of them, loses her mind. Plot and character don’t really need to be discussed, not that I paid strict enough attention to them to be able to discuss anyway, but even though they’re pretty great themselves, it’s the visuals that make the thing a fucking masterpiece. Wanted to cry at the end.

I like how some of the most beautiful shots (in terms of scenery, staging) are also some of the most fakey (obvious sets + backgrounds). Little praying, if any – surprising for a nun movie. Better than Nazarin probably… gotta see Viridiana next.

Also: a cockatoo and an african grey – in the same shot!