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The Small Back Room (The Criterion Collection)
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SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES:
New, restored high-definition digital transfer,
Audio commentary featuring film scholar Charles Barr,
New video interview with cinematographer Chris Challis,
Excerpts from Michael Powell's audio dictations for his autobiography.
PLUS: A new essay by film scholar Nick James.
Top Customer Reviews
Set in the early spring of 1943, the film tells the story of Sammy Rice, a bomb expert sinking into drink and despair after a failed effort to defuse a bomb caused one of his feet to be blown off, leaving him in constant agony. In his depression, Sammy is allowing the political players in his government department (led by a smarmy Jack Hawkins) to walk all over him, to the sorrow and anger of Susan, Sammy's secretary and live-in girlfriend. Whether Sammy can sufficiently regain his confidence to save his job and his relationship with Susan is the crux of the story, which ends with a palm-sweatingly suspenseful sequence involving a German UXB on an English beach.
Powell and Pressburger brought virtually the entire crew from "The Red Shoes" over to "The Small Back Room," including production designer Hein Heckroth and composer Brian Easdale, and their artistry pays off. So does the artistry of Christopher Challis--a camera operator on "The Red Shoes," promoted to director of photography here--who provides B&W photography of uncommon clarity, depth and beauty. Above all, "The Small Back Room" is a wonderful showcase for the talents of David Farrar and Kathleen Byron, who were brilliant in "Black Narcissus" and equally fine here.Read more ›
Sammy Rice has to deal with his self-imposed isolation, his drinking and his unwillingness to face up to the fact that he has an artificial foot. Through all this, the group of scientists and managers Rice works with has come up with an anti-tank gun some feel is ready to sell to the government. He doesn't, but he's not willing to go against the consensus. Then, deep in an alcoholic haze, he gets the phone call. Two devices have been discovered. One is now being worked on by the Army captain who first asked him to help. It probably goes without saying that soon there is no Army captain and only one remaining device. Rice leaves for the English coast where the device is half buried in the sand.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
So many great actors here: Handsome David Farrar (I know him best from "Black Narcissus"), Kathleen Byron, Jack Hawkins, Michael Gough, Renee Asherson. Read morePublished on October 28, 2013 by Carolyn M. Weddell
Sure lots of people on both sides of the Atlantic admired the pluck of the under-armed, under-manned, under- led British in holding up Hitler's plans for a while to conquer all of... Read morePublished on December 20, 2012 by Alfred Johnson
About 20 years ago I taped this movie from TV (mea culpa) and quite liked it. Recently I paid hard cash for the Criterion version and was very pleasantly surprised. Read morePublished on January 10, 2012 by Malcolm Baird
Fantastik story from the second worldwide.
Technocally interesting with à stramhet german bonus trappen mine. Read more
I had seen this movie years and years ago and was excited to see it available on DVD. However, as in so many memories, this movie did not live up to expectations on... Read morePublished on July 8, 2011 by Charles Hall
This is the story of a WWII British "boffin" or military scientist, who also, when necessary, defuses new types of German explosive ordnance. Read morePublished on July 3, 2011 by Old John
I enjoyed this film. It's an atmospheric and pensive film and the last third tense and exciting.Published on March 15, 2010 by chronos-review