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  1. #1
    Senior Member Country: England noglea's Avatar
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    My favourite film director is Michael Powell. I have seen most, though not yet all, of his films. A while ago the National Film Theatre showed all of his surviving quota quickies and really enjoyed them especially 'Lazybones' and 'The Phantom Light'. I think it was mentioned at the time that 'The Man Behind the Mask' existed in the states but was in the hands of a private collector and could not be shown as part of the season. Can anyone verify if this film definately exists and has anyone seen it or is it kept under lock and key by this private collector. Even though Michael Powell himself was apparently dismissive of his early films I think as one of this countries finest film directors (in my opinion the greatest) I think all of his films should be available on DVD. I know that quite a few of his films such as 'My Friend the King' and 'The Brown Wallet' are currently missing but I live in hope of them turning up one day.



    In Michael Powell's case it is easy for me to work out which films are missing as they were all the quota quickies not shown at the N.F.T. but I wondered if anyone knew of a website that listed all the British missing films. I have read the excellent book Missing Believed Lost by Allen Eyles and David Meeker but that only highlights certain films



    Noglea

  2. #2
    Senior Member Country: UK DB7's Avatar
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    There's a little fansite at http://www.powell-pressburger.org/



    The owner no doubt has a copy of 'The Man Behind the Mask' which he proudly cherishes.



    [img]style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/thumbsup.gif[/img]

  3. #3
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    Originally posted by DB7@Mar 25 2005, 08:22 PM

    There's a little fansite at http://www.powell-pressburger.org/



    The owner no doubt has a copy of 'The Man Behind the Mask' which he proudly cherishes.



    [img]style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/thumbsup.gif[/img]

    <div align="right">Quoted post</div>



    He does indeed cherish it. It's not exactly a masterpiece. It's a campy piece of old hokum. But as with all of his earlier films you can see him trying out a few ideas, the ones that worked well often appearing, done much better, in the later films.



    Noglea, the American collector that had the only copy was finally persuaded to release it for copying. It is really the American version, called Behind the Mask but that's only very slightly different from the original British version. It's available from the few specialist distributors in the States on NTSC VHS.



    Shortly after the BFI did "Missing, Believed Lost" (the book and the documentary), one of the first to turn up was His Lordship which many of us think is wonderful. Michael Powell's first venture into the musical.



    There can't be many films with a heroine called Lenina and a couple of comedy Bolsheviks and a chorus line of housemaids with their mops and buckets.



    If the NFT season you're talking about was the one in March 2000 (I was there) then they showed His Lordship there. Since then, the only other one to surface has been The Man Behind the Mask, all of the others are still on the missing list.



    Steve

  4. #4
    Senior Member Country: England noglea's Avatar
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    It was the season at the N.F.T. in 2000 that Steve Crook mentions that I attended. I couldn't remember the exact date off the top of my head but that sound about right. I made the effort to see all the films they screened there so I did see 'His Lordship'. I enjoyed the footage they showed of him from the 1920s when he was some form of slapstick comedian.



    I would love to see every Michael Powell film in the cinema. I am not to worried about the films he made with Emeric Pressburger as they seem to get screened regularly but it would be nice to see some of his later rarer films on the big screen such as 'Honeymoon', 'The Queen's Guards' and 'Bluebeard's Castle' along with the episodes of the televison series such as 'Espionage' that he shot in the early 60s. Although I have not seen it I was once told about his South Bank Show from the 80s which is supposed to be fantastic. It has been a while since his last season at the N.F.T. and it would be wonderful if they had another one showcasing his rarer work from the latter stages of his career.



    Noglea

  5. #5
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    Originally posted by noglea@Mar 25 2005, 10:58 PM

    It was the season at the N.F.T. in 2000 that Steve Crook mentions that I attended. I couldn't remember the exact date off the top of my head but that sound about right. I made the effort to see all the films they screened there so I did see 'His Lordship'. I enjoyed the footage they showed of him from the 1920s when he was some form of slapstick comedian.



    I would love to see every Michael Powell film in the cinema. I am not to worried about the films he made with Emeric Pressburger as they seem to get screened regularly but it would be nice to see some of his later rarer films on the big screen such as 'Honeymoon', 'The Queen's Guards' and 'Bluebeard's Castle' along with the episodes of the televison series such as 'Espionage' that he shot in the early 60s. Although I have not seen it I was once told about his South Bank Show from the 80s which is supposed to be fantastic. It has been a while since his last season at the N.F.T. and it would be wonderful if they had another one showcasing his rarer work from the latter stages of his career.



    Noglea

    <div align="right">Quoted post</div>



    Keep an eye on the PaPAS website and the announcements pages here.



    As it's Michael Powell's centenary year there is quite a lot planned and not all of it has been announced yet.



    Some events have already taken place, but the events and screenings yet to happen that have been announced so far include:

    # I Know Where I'm Going! (1945)

    - Philadelphia Film Festival, 10 April 2005

    Presented by Thelma Schoonmaker

    # A major Powell retrospective

    - Walter Reade Theater, Lincon Center

    NYC, 6 - 31 May 2005

    # Cannes Film Festival

    - Tribute to Michael Powell, 11 - 22 May 2005

    # Michael Powell, la passion iconoclaste du cinéma

    Conference on Powell

    - Paris, 23 - 25 June 2005

    # "Michael Powell Centenary Walk"

    Bekesbourne to Wickhambreaux, near Canterbury

    - Sunday 28 August 2005

    # Michael Powell Centenary Conference

    - Bangor, N. Wales, 2-4 September 2005

    # IKWIG locations tour

    - Mull, Scotland, 28-30 October 2005



    I admire your ambition to see them all in the cinema. It's handy to have them on video or DVD. But no matter how good your TV is that just acts as a reminder of how good they are when seen as they were intended to be seen, on a full size cinema screen. Something like the shot of Clodagh's first Irish idyll in Black Narcissus is suberb when the glistening water fills your field of view.



    Of the others you mention, Honeymoon is a bit of a sleeper. For a long time it's only been available in a badly cut version that puts too much emphasis on the travalogue elements as the honeymooners travel around Spain. There's some very nice footage of Spain in the late 1950s but it doesn't seem to be very special. But that's now been fully restored to include all of the dance (flamenco & ballet) and a bit more of the drama and it's now a much better balanced film. OK it's not another Red Shoes but it's well worth seeing. It's been shown at a few special screenings and festivals. I saw it in Spain with the leading lady. We're now trying to get someone to release it on video or DVD.



    Don't hold your breath waiting to see The Queen's Guards. It really is a bit of a dog's breakfast - after it's been through the dog! See my review on the PaPAS site.



    Copies of things like Bluebeard's Castle (1964) do exist. But it's 60 mins of pure opera all in German (although there is a print with English subtitles) so don't expect a public release soon. It's not a very popular genre. It's very 1960s and very Hein Heckroth in design.



    The Sorcerer's Apprentice (1955) is a lovely ballet piece but the only known prints are just 13 minutes, although a 30 minute version is rumoured to exist.



    There's a good Australian DVD of They're a Weird Mob which includes a very good "Making of" documentary as well. A few bootleg DVDs of Age of Consent also exist but that one's due for a bit more interest fairly soon.



    These more obscure films do get shown at special screenings and festivals. But sometimes you have to make a bit of an effort. I've travelled over 400 miles (round trip) just to see one film. Although that was to see Gone to Earth in the Shropshire village where it was filmed with a lot of the locals who were in the film as extras.



    One of our group, Mark Fuller, recently unearthed the docu-drama short Smith (1939) which had its first public screening in the UK at Canterbury last year.



    The 1960s TV series that he did episodes for haven't been seen for a while but are rumoured to still exist.



    The South Bank Show and quite a few other documentaries could also be of great interest. The films, the documentaries and the books we know about are all listed on the PaPAS site FAQ pages. If you send a Private Message to Aphra, I know she has quite a few of the documentaries and she has better copying facilities than I do.



    Steve

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