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October 1996, Week 4


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 25 Oct 1996 22:14:21 GMT
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In message  <[log in to unmask]> [log in to unmask]
> Dear List,
> Hi, everybody.  I'm a new subscriber who has been lurking for about a week.
>  I guess I'm what the List "Welcome" document describes as a knowledgeable
> layperson.  I'm a legal writer and editor.  I'm also a past member of
> Northern California Women in Film & Television.
> On the "Peeping Tom"/"Psycho" issue, I think one of the salient points is
> that "Peeping Tom" was so different from Powell's previous films, while
> "Psycho" remained right in keeping with Hitchcock's suspense genre.  I think
> the audiences who adored "Colonel Blimp," "The Red Shoes," and "A Matter of
> Life and Death" just refused to accept "Peeping Tom."  My mother is of the
> generation who saw Powell's films in their first theatrical runs.  She loved,
> and still loves, his films.  But she never could bring herself even to see
> "Peeping Tom" (despite my raves).
> That said, I'm not wholly satisfied with this explanation myself.  I think
> it's only a piece of the puzzle.  I'd be interested to hear what other folks
> have to say.
> Cheers,
> Cynthia
Of course. whilst Peeping Tom *was* a Powell film, Colonel Blimp, The Red
Shoes, and  AMOLAD, were not; they were Powell *&* Pressburger films.
There is an appreciable difference between a film written, directed and
produced  by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, and one written
directed and produced by Powell alone.  Many people underestimate
Pressburger's influence, but sitting down and comparing the
two products, in my opinion, shows the difference greatly.  I find
I don't much like Powell's singular works, whilst the duo account
for some of my favourite of all films: A Canterbury Tale, Black
Narcissus and Gone To Earth.
Contrary to popular beleif, much of the 'mysticism', particularly
in respect to the link with the country side in The Archers films, was
brought into the brew by Pressburger: both Powell and Pressburger
describe A Canterbury Tale as Pressburger's baby - it being too easy an
assumption that the Kent born Powell was the driving force.
It is one of my eternal frustrations, that I haven't seen any of
Pressburger's European films, made before his move to Britain, and
The Archers.  To compare a Pressburger with a Powell & Pressburger,
and then  with a Powell - oh joy!
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