Sunday, August 12, 2007

August 12th Log

1941, Michael Powell / Emeric Pressburger, United Kingdom
Repeat Viewing, DVD

Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger make up one of the greatest writer-director teams in the history of cinema. Together they made 19 feature films under there trademark ‘Archers’ name. 49th Parallel is the first film the British duo made together and it ultimately was the first of two films Powell and Pressburger were nominated for Best Picture (The Red Shoes being the other). Pressburger won the Academy Award for best Screenplay with this film. The 49th Parallel is a good and important film, but one I would not consider among the best from Powell and Pressburger. Today it stands a bit more dated in its propaganda slant, but the Powell-Pressburger magic gives it something to hold on to. They have a way of making films that bring out the pure imagination of cinema and filmmaking. The performances are a bit overdone (specifically from Laurence Olivier), but this is exciting and extravagant filmmaking, which can be viewed as propaganda but also has a twisted sense of sympathy for the Nazi enemy. 49th Parallel features some of there trademark ‘artificial realism’. They are filmmakers that create universes and somehow that seems to make the whole idea of this film more intriguing as wartime propaganda, or as a thriller. Powell and Pressburger just know how to make a film and though they would later go onto to make far superior work, 49th Parallel is well worth viewing.


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