One of Our Aircraft is Missing
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.
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
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,
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
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,
• 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
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,
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
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
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
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