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A Neglected Classic From Powell and Pressburger,
This review is from: The Small Back Room [DVD]  (DVD)'The Small Back Room' came towards the end of the partnership of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. They created one of the most creative and thought provoking cycle of movies ever seen in British Cinema. Films such as 'A Matter Of Life And Death', 'A Canterbury Tale', 'Black Narcissus' and 'I Know Where I'm Going' examined the nature of relationships in a new, bold and extremely cinematic way.
They made imaginative use of studios, film stock and special effects.
'The Small Back Room' is by their standards quite a small scale picture. Once again they returned to performers from a previous film (in this case 'Black Narcissus') for their lead actors, David Farrer and Kathleen Byron.
Farrer is largely forgotten today but I consider this to be his finest performance. He plays an alcoholic bomb disposal expert, trying to stop drinking, save his relationship and defuse a bomb. Afflicted by the shakes and nightmares of giant bottles looming over him, he fights his depression and despair while trying to prevent his life exploding literally in front of his eyes.
As a film it has a lot in common with Billy Wilders 'The Lost Weekend'. Though in that film the lead character is trying to save his career and his relationship,the stakes in this one are much higher and the danger much more deadly.
Another classic emerging from the back catalogue,it is to be hoped that with its release on DVD a new audience will discover it and rescue it from its neglected status.
There are few extras but its selling at a very reasonable price and if you enjoy the work of Powell and Pressburger, Billy Wilder and the old fashioned stiff upper lipped second world war cinema world of 'Brief Encounter' then I think you'll find much to enjoy in 'The Small Back Room'.