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The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]

84 customer reviews

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(Mar 19, 2013)
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  • The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
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Editorial Reviews

Considered by many to be the finest British film ever made, The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger (The Red Shoes), is a stirring masterpiece like no other. Roger Livesey dynamically embodies outmoded English militarism as the indelible General Clive Candy, who barely survives four decades of tumultuous British history (1902 to 1942) only to see the world change irrevocably before his eyes. Anton Walbrook (The Red Shoes) and Deborah Kerr (Black Narcissus) provide unforgettable support, he as a German enemy turned lifelong friend of Blimp’s and she as young women of three consecutive generations—a socially committed governess, a sweet-souled war nurse, and a modern-thinking army driver—who inspire him. Colonel Blimp is both moving and slyly satirical, an incomparable film about war, love, aging, and obsolescence shot in gorgeous Technicolor.

Special Features

  • New 4K digital master from the 2012 Film Foundation restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
  • Audio commentary featuring director Michael Powell and filmmaker Martin Scorsese
  • Video introduction by Scorsese
  • A Profile of “The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp,” a twenty-four-minute documentary
  • Restoration demonstration, hosted by Scorsese
  • 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

  • Product Details

    • Actors: Roger Livesey, Anton Walbrook, Deborah Kerr
    • Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
    • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, NTSC, Full Screen
    • Language: English
    • Subtitles: English
    • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
    • Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1
    • Number of discs: 1
    • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
    • Studio: Criterion Collection
    • DVD Release Date: March 19, 2013
    • Run Time: 163 minutes
    • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews)
    • ASIN: B00AQ6J5CC
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #49,961 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews

    127 of 133 people found the following review helpful By Kockenlocker on October 28, 2002
    Format: DVD
    How wonderful it is to have this unique movie beautifully restored to its original length and scene order by the British Film Institute.
    Until about ten years ago, I had never seen this film. I had never rented the cut, reconfigured tape, because I didn't think I'd like the film (in any form). But the L.A. County Museum of Art had an Archers' retrospective several years ago that included the BFI restoration print. Despite many of there pictures being among my favorites, I still thought I was in for a hoary WW II propaganda film. I could walk if I didn't like it.
    Was I ever wrong. I came out considering it among The Archers best works. which in my book, means one of the finest films ever.
    "The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp," in the original version, is a brilliant mix of WW II propaganda, an often whimisical loving satire of the system. It is ultimately one of the most winning anti-war films ever. In a different way, as good as "Grand Illusion."
    This low-key epic begins with the Boer War, when Blimp is a young (too) gung-ho officer to the time the film was made--mid-war 1943. The cast is superb. Roger Livesey gives one of the best performances imaginable. Deborah Kerr (18) at the time, gives a tour-de-force performance as the three different women Blimp falls for in the 40-year span of the film. Anton Walbrook Is so brilliant in this film. This man I am now convinced was one of the greatest actors of the 20th Century. His controversial character is a German officer Blimp befriends in the Boer War and they become life-time friends, with Blimp vouching for him being permitted to stay in England during WW II. Walbrook's scene explaining why he has left Germany is as great, if not greater than his curtain speech in "Red Shoes.
    Read more ›
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    51 of 52 people found the following review helpful By ian french on July 31, 2002
    Format: DVD
    This is the best film by the best chroniclers of english life. I put this review on the American site because I feel the need to evangelise! Emeric Pressburger was an Hungarian refugee, and put much of his experience into the mouth of Theo, the sympathetic German character (in 1943! No wonder Churchill wanted it banned without seeing it). The film has three sections, set in 1902, 1918 and ww2. It shows the friendship between the title character, Clive Wynne Candy, and Theo Kretchsmar-Shuldorf. It's also a love story, with Deborah Kerr as three identical looking women. Most of all it's a requiem for a lost golden age, and a call to arms to defeat Nazism. The best set pieces are given to Theo (Anton Walbrook) a German refugee actor, emphasising that this is not a conflict between two equal and honourable countries, but between good and between evil, and this time, if good loses, there is no return match.This propaganda is 60 years old, but every time I watch it by the end I'm ready to sign up.
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    54 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Niall Sullivan on October 27, 2002
    Format: DVD
    This and "A Matter of Life and Death" are Powell & Presberger's masterpieces, before they descended into the schmalz of "The Red Shoes". The tale of the essentially decent British and German gentlemen, played by Roger Livesey and Anton Walbrook respectively, rapidly becoming dinosaurs in the changing Europe between the Boer War and the Blitz, yet clinging to their values despite being kicked in the face by the brutalisation of Germany and by the consequent brutalisation of a Britain attempting to survive against barbarism. Their friendship begins from the mutual respect engendered by a duel fought reluctantly for the honour of their respective traditions at the time of the Boer War. During convalescence they vie for the hand of Deborah Kerr, turning up in the first of 3 roles. Livesey's shyness leaves Walbrook holding the field. Nearly 20 years pass until they meet again, at a POW camp in Britain. Livesey's essential naivete rides roughshod over the wartime enmity, but Walbrook's response is ambivalent, and the reunion is short-lived and bittersweet. Livesey marries Deborah Kerr's reincarnation as a nurse, because of a resemlance to his first love. A further 20 years pass. Livesey, widowed, is asked to act as sponsor for Walbrook, now exiled from Germany, also widowed and estranged from his Nazi children. Together they come to terms with their sidelining in a world of younger men with few of the old values. Deborah Kerr turns up for the third time as Livesey's driver as he moves from army officer to Home Guard organiser,refusing to be pushed out of the fight.Read more ›
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    34 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Myke Predko on March 12, 2003
    Format: DVD
    I found "The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp" to be a haunting story, rich in story and superbly acted. I found the film to be a very private experience - one that you will be thinking about for a long time.
    I really can't add anything to the comments made before other than to say that this is the type of film that makes Criterion a special mark. I would question many of their choices, films are available in other formats and of questionable importance (e.g. "Armageddon", "The Royal Tennanbaums" and "The Rock"). "The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp" probably would have been lost forever (or show up as a $...DVD on a "Bargains" rack) without the work put in by Criterion and the "legitimacy" conferred on it by being recognized by the brand.
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    The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
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