The tide of war was just beginning to turn in the Allies’ favor when, in June of 1943, Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger released The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp. But the English home front was still in jeopardy, and spirits were low. Just what was it that made England and its inhabitants special—and was it something that could be called upon to beat back the Nazis after nearly four years of bombardment and privation? Powell and Pressburger, equal partners in a company called The Archers, looked for answers to these questions in the person of Clive Wynne Candy, a fictional officer in the British army whose military career and personal life are traced over the course of half a century. Roger Livesey perfectly captures the bluster and naïveté of Candy as he ages from a dashing young officer to a bloated and blinkered old veteran. Throughout, the basic decency and integrity of England are contrasted with the ruthless militarism of Germany, leaving little doubt as to which nation was deserving of ultimate victory.
Publication excerpt from In Still Moving: The Film and Media Collections of the Museum of Modern Art by Steven Higgins, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2006, p. 195.