The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp [Criterion Collection] [DVD] [1943]

  • SKU: 20913164
  • Release Date: 03/19/2013
  • Rating: NR
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Ratings & Reviews

Overall Customer Rating:
100% of customers would recommend this product to a friend (2 out of 2)

Special Features

  • Disc one:
  • New digital master from the film foundation's 2012 4K restoration
  • Audio commentary featuring director Michael Powell and filmmaker Martin Scorsese
  • Disc two:
  • New video introduction by Scorsese
  • A profile of "The life and death of Colonel Blimp," a documentary from 2000
  • Restoration demonstration, hosted by Scorsese
  • Optimism and sheer will, a 2012 interview with editor Thelma Schoonmaker Powell, Michael Powell's widow
  • Gallery featuring rare behind-the-scenes production stills
  • Gallery tracing the history of David Low's original Colonel Blimp cartoons
  • Plus: a booklet featuring an essay by critic Molly Haskell


The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp
Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's much-lauded epic Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, which satirizes British traditionalism, stirred up impassioned hostilities and indignations among the Brits when released in 1943. It so infuriated Winston Churchill, in fact, that he refused to allow its exportation to other countries, particularly the U.S. When Blimp finally did premiere in the States in 1945, it screened in a drastically cut version. The sweeping story covers several decades. It begins at the tail end of the Boer War, when handsome young British officer Clive Candy, recently back from the battlefront, is infuriated by his discovery that Deutschland papers have played up the British atrocities in South Africa, propagandistically. He grows so irate, in fact, that he travels to Germany to address the problem. Once there, he meets an attractive British educator, Edith Hunter (Deborah Kerr) who spends her days teaching English as a second language to German students. They grow close, but Candy so aggravates the local indigenes that he winds up in a duel with a German officer, Theo Kretschmar-Schuldorff (Anton Walbrook). The men wound each other and are sent to the same hospital, where they become friends. Candy - who doesn't yet realize he's fallen in love with Edith -- senses that Theo and Edith are attracted to one another, and encourages the couple's marital union. Candy subsequently returns to England, then falls for and marries Barbara (again played by Kerr), a nurse who bears a strong resemblance to Edith. She later dies, but Candy meets a third woman during WWII, Johnny (Kerr a third time), assigned to drive him from one locale to another during his campaigns. Meanwhile, Theo - disgusted by Nazi atrocities -- absconds to England, where he reencounters his old friend, now a prattering old shuffler rapidly approaching the end of his career and raving continuously about Nazi conduct (or lack thereof) in battle. Powell and Pressberger adapted Colonel Blimp from a comic strip; it became one of the hallmarks of their careers. ~ Sidney Jenkins, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Roger Livesey
    Roger Livesey - Clive Candy
  • Deborah Kerr
    Deborah Kerr - Barbara Wynne, Edith Hunter, Johnny Cannon
  • Anton Walbrook
    Anton Walbrook - Theo Kretschmar-Schuldorff

Overall customer rating

would recommend to a friend
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    Good upgrade

    • Verified PurchaserVerified Purchase
    • My Best Buy® Elite Plus MemberElite Plus Member

    I love all of the Powell/Pressburger films from this period, and this is amazing achievement considering the (wartime) conditions that is was filmed during. Propaganda is there, but not heavy-handed. It's a long film, but thank goodness, the shortened versions that used to be shown in the US are long a thing of the past. Definitely an improvement over the DVD, but just a reminder that a big plus is the Audio commentary featuring director Michael Powell with Martin Scorsese, Powell is a bit tough to understand, but was caught just in time (he died shorty after it was recorded).

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars


    • My Best Buy® MemberMember

    This is perhaps the greatest of the collaborations between Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, which also makes it a strong contender for the greatest British film of all time. It shows a Britain coming to terms with shifting from Empire to the realities of the Second World war along with much more personal stories of love and friendship. Thanks to the Film Foundation, it has now been remastered and looks absolutely gorgeous. This disc is a must-buy. A classic in every sense of the word.

    I would recommend this to a friend

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