Starring: Roger Livesey, Deborah Kerr, Anton Walbrook
Director: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Running Time: 162 mins
The Life And Death Of Colonel Blimp is a British film about the life of a solider, as he rises through the ranks in the army from the Boer War to the Second World War.
A delightful, touching and epic tale of the story of a lifetime, The Life And Death Of Colonel Blimp is truly wonderful piece of British cinema, complete with heartfelt emotion, classic humour and gripping, unique themes from start to finish.
There’s so much to love about this movie, it’s difficult to know where to start. But if there’s one thing that makes The Life And Death Of Colonel Blimp such a unique film, it’s how boisterously British it is.
Perhaps one of the most insightful, accurate and entertaining films on what it means to be British ever made, this film’s unique blend of tongue-in-cheek, self-deprecating humour with immensely patriotic and soaring drama is nothing short of spectacular.
Telling the story of soldier Clive Candy’s life as he negotiates the difficulties of serving in the armed forces, the changing international landscape and ever-tense Anglo-German relations, the film delights with an earnest approach to some very challenging issues – particularly for its time of release.
Through Candy’s experiences in wars through the first half of the 20th century, he comes to understand the values of fairness, integrity, loyalty and virtue. In the face of enemies across the globe who increasingly threaten a gentlemanly approach to life, love and war, his determination and integrity through thick and thin is an absolute joy to see.
Meanwhile, the film takes on the challenging background Britain’s relationship with Germany in the years leading up to and between the two World Wars in typically British fashion.
Filled with heartfelt mockery of the other side and even more self-deprecating humour and insight, The Life And Death Of Colonel Blimp is one of the few films that truly embodies some of the essential ways Britain views the world.
Its sympathetic and intimate portrayal of the enemy is charming and heartwarming, opening up the door for memorable humour and drama throughout, as we follow Candy’s unlikely friendship with a German soldier through the years.
That too plays into the film’s excellent view of the past, which blends objectivity with romantic nostalgia, giving it the air both of an epic historical film, as well as a more personal tale, something furthered even more by a pleasing and perfectly-executed flashback structure.
The Life And Death Of Colonel Blimp is a long watch, and there are moments where it slows to a crawl. It’s not the masterful epic of Gone With The Wind or Lawrence Of Arabia, but it’s still a moving story of a lifetime.
Lastly, the film features three wonderful lead performances from Roger Livesey, Deborah Kerr and Anton Wallbrook. Livesey is a lovable, earnest leading figure throughout, while Kerr and Walbrook weave in and out of his life story with memorable appearances throughout.
Overall, then, The Life And Death Of Colonel Blimp is an absolute delight. With wonderful performances, delightful humour, heartfelt drama and a unique perspective on what it means to be British, it’s a memorable, enjoyable and epic tale of a lifetime, and that’s why I’m giving it 7.7.