Eric Portman - News Poster


The Forgotten: Sub Sub

  • MUBI
James B. Harris is still with us, still wants to make films I believe, but has slipped below radar. His odd, discontinuous and peripatetic directing career, which has resulted in some remarkable works, has been consigned to footnote status below his early period as Stanley Kubrick's producer on The Killing, Lolita and Dr. Strangelove.I met Mr. Harris briefly at a party on a boat during the Lumière Film Festival in Lyons, but didn't get a chance to talk much as he was soon up on his feet dancing to Blondie. He was around 85 at the time. If "Heart of Glass" still gets you on your feet, there should be a rule that says you're still allowed to make movies.The Bedford Incident (1965) was Harris's directorial debut, and also the first film where Sidney Poitier plays a role in which his race is not mentioned or relevant to the plot.
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One of Our Aircraft Is Missing

Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger officially become ‘The Archers’ for this sterling morale-propaganda picture lauding the help of the valiant Dutch resistance. It’s a joyful show of spirit, terrific casting (with a couple of surprises) and first-class English filmmaking.

One of Our Aircraft is Missing


Olive Films

1942 / B&W / 1:37 flat Academy /103 82 min. / Street Date November 15, 2016 / available through the Olive Films website / 29.98

Starring Godfrey Tearle, Eric Portman, Hugh Williams, Bernard Miles, Hugh Burden, Emrys Jones, Pamela Brown, Joyce Redman, Googie Withers, Hay Petrie, Arnold Marlé, Robert Helpmann, Peter Ustinov, Roland Culver, Robert Beatty, Michael Powell.

Cinematography Ronald Neame

Film Editor David Lean

Camera Crew Robert Krasker, Guy Green

Written by Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger

Produced by The Archers

Directed by Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger

Reviewed by Glenn Erickson

There are still a few more key Powell-Pressburger ‘Archer’ films waiting for a quality disc release, Contraband and Gone to Earth for just two.
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

Terence Rattigan On Film: The Browning Version

I. The Rattigan Version

After his first dramatic success, The Winslow Boy, Terence Rattigan conceived a double bill of one-act plays in 1946. Producers dismissed the project, even Rattigan’s collaborator Hugh “Binkie” Beaumont. Actor John Gielgud agreed. “They’ve seen me in so much first rate stuff,” Gielgud asked Rattigan; “Do you really think they will like me in anything second rate?” Rattigan insisted he wasn’t “content writing a play to please an audience today, but to write a play that will be remembered in fifty years’ time.”

Ultimately, Rattigan paired a brooding character study, The Browning Version, with a light farce, Harlequinade. Entitled Playbill, the show was finally produced by Stephen Mitchell in September 1948, starring Eric Portman, and became a runaway hit. While Harlequinade faded into a footnote, the first half proved an instant classic. Harold Hobson wrote that “Mr. Portman’s playing and Mr. Rattigan’s writing
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Letters: Powell, Pressburger and the 'failure' that was A Canterbury Tale

Xan Brooks's account of his emotional engagement with Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's A Canterbury Tale (A pilgrim's progress, Review, 10 August) captures beautifully what many feel about this evocative film. Unfortunately, he plays down two important elements that make the film what it is. Most important is the contribution of Pressburger, who was much more than Powell's "regular collaborator", but a full partner in all departments except directing on this and 16 other features.

Having organised the first full retrospective of their work for the BFI, I can testify that they considered the film a "failure", but were gratified when the BBC's restoration of the truncated original premiered to acclaim at the Nft in 1978. Emeric later introduced the film at MoMA in New York and spoke about trying to create the conditions for "magic" to happen on screen – his contribution shouldn't be downgraded. The other vital ingredient was the non-professional Sgt John Sweet,
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

A pilgrim's progress: trailing A Canterbury Tale

Seventy years after it was made, Michael Powell's A Canterbury Tale remains the perfect remedy for self-pity. Xan Brooks seeks out the film's locations, still haunted by the ghosts of a film that celebrated the values and traditions of an England under fire

In August 1943 the director Michael Powell came to east Kent to shoot his most ambitious and personal film to date. A Canterbury Tale took its lead from Chaucer to spin the story of three modern-day pilgrims uprooted by the war. It showed us the hedgerows and the hop gardens and the ancient road atop the downs. It celebrated the values and traditions of an England under fire. That wartime summer, the film's locations came haunted by the ghosts of the pardoner, the falconer, the garrulous wife of Bath. Today, for me, they are haunted by the ghosts of A Canterbury Tale. Seventy years on, it's as
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

In praise of the outsider perspective

Powell and Pressburger's Life And Death Of Colonel Blimp is typical of Archers Film and almost un-English in its audacity

You live abroad for a couple of decades and it's surprising which memories of the old country flicker into a different kind of focus. I'm not the nostalgic or homesick type, I haven't been home in six years. And yet two decades have made me feel more English than I ever did in England – and technically I'm not even English (I'm Scotch-Irish). I never read Trollope or Wilkie Collins in England, I never swooned exultantly over finding a Virago-edition Rosamond Lehmann novel, or a Two Ronnies video at a yard-sale.

Neither did I celebrate my birthday every year, as I do now, with a large scotch watching A Canterbury Tale alone, certain in the knowledge that when Eric Portman talks about the mysterious continuity of ancient tradition I will find myself,
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

My favourite film: A Canterbury Tale

Xan Brooks continues our writers' favourite films series by confessing devotion to Michael Powell's A Canterbury Tale

• Tell us your version of A Canterbury Tale by posting your review, or join the throng of pilgrims in the comments

I first watched A Canterbury Tale with my father, nearly 20 years ago. He warned me that while he liked it, most people did not. It was too flawed, too rum, it didn't hang together. So we sat in the lounge and saw the hawk turn into the fighter plane and the trainload of pilgrims pull into Kent and the first, scurrying escape of the "glue-man", who pours adhesive into the hair of the girls who date the soldiers – and about half an hour in, my dad hit the pause button and asked if I maybe wanted to watch something else instead. "No, it's Ok, I like it," I muttered, because it's
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

DVD Releases: 'Deadfall'

  • CineVue
From start to finish, Bryan Forbes' Deadfall (1968) glimmers with the gloss of a 1960’s classic heist thriller, very much in the vein of Ocean's Eleven (1960) or Topkapi (1964), and presents itself as a truly attractive film with its easy-on-the-eye cast, wonderful cinematography, and classical camera work.

During a stay at a sanatorium for recovering alcoholics, cat burglar and proffesional conman Henry Stuart Clarke (Michael Caine) is approached by a mysterious and beautiful woman, Fe (Giovanna Ralli), who has a business proposition for him; her husband Richard (Eric Portman), is planning the most ingenious of robberies, and with Clarke’s ability as a thief it seems they cannot fail. Inevitably a love triangle ensues, but not in the most traditional of senses; Fe doesn’t love Richard in the same way a married woman is “supposed” to love her husband, and as the love between Fe and Clarke begins to grow,
See full article at CineVue »

Deadfall DVD review

Deadfall is one of Michael Caine’s more obscure films, and it’s not hard to understand why. The film can only be described as 145 minutes of misguided suspense combined with a thoroughly unconvincing love story which leaves so much unsaid that as the credits roll you sit there in frustration wondering ‘was that it?’.

It all starts so well: Caine plays Henry Clarke, a professional conman and cat-burglar who has consigned himself to rehab for alcohol addiction as part of an elaborate ruse to gain the trust of his next target, Salinas – a wealthy composer. One day, Clarke is visited by the mysterious and beautiful Fe (Giovanni Ralli) who is aware of his skills and wishes to entice him to work with her on a job.

Now, at this stage, I think that we are expected to see some magnetic sexual tension between the pair, which means that he
See full article at Shadowlocked »

The Forgotten: Messing About in Boats

Compton Bennett burst upon the British filmmaking scene in 1945 with The Seventh Veil, a weird, sado-masochistically-inflected semi-gothic love story which did much to boost the careers of Ann Todd (neurotic piano prodigy), James Mason (sadistic music teacher) and Herbert Lom (sympathetic psychotherapist). By 1960 he was working mainly in television, having sunk into a kind of middlebrow lethargy along with most British cinema. But in 1948, at the peak of UK cinematic creativity, he directed Daybreak, one of the few British noirs, and a bleaker story than many of the social realist dramas that followed Bennett's career in the sixties. In fact, as with many of the best downbeat stories, the movie somehow leaves the audience exhilarated, glad to be alive.

This is a movie which, as Sam Goldwyn might put it, begins at a hanging and descends deeper into misery from there. Eric Portman (best known perhaps as the sinister squire
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What I Watched, What You Watched: Installment #33

I'm only featuring one title I watched this last week as I am still working on a Blu-ray piece for the Lionsgate Studio Canal Collection and am almost ready for a review article for the recent Hayao Miyazaki movies that just hit DVD. I just watched Kiki's Delivery Service and Castle in the Sky for the first time and am going to give the excellent My Neighbor Totoro a watch before starting that piece. Hopefully both will be completed before the week is up.

However, on top of the film reviewed below, I did (sort of) watch David Cronenberg's Scanners, but I got so bored with it I just started doing work and periodically looking up to reassure myself that it was just doing the same thing over and over again. Sure, a head explodes and people can deliver intense stares over and over, but I'll be damned if
See full article at Rope Of Silicon »

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