31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
You can hardly tell it's propaganda,
This review is from: Life and Death of Colonel Blimp [Special Edition] [DVD]  (DVD)The film starts with a silly old soldier being affronted by the rude disdain of a young officer who is using his initiative - and cheating in order to win. The old fellow is made to look ridiculous. The message thrown in his face is that "fair play never won a war". Then the scene travels back 40 years to see the pathetic old fool when he was young and his ideals were the norm, at a time when fair ends didn't justify foul means. He's just returned from the Boer war with a Victoria Cross, but he's still young and impetuous. We accompany him through his own brash youth, when he annoys his grumpy elders, upsets the diplomatic apple cart for his government and has to fight a duel with an equally "good egg" in the army of Britain's enemy, in order to save face on both sides and restore the balance. Lifelong friendship blossoms from this violent ritual and love is almost found with the young lady who dragged him into the situation that led to the dual. He loses the girl with good grace to his new friend and returns to England. Then he goes off to distant lands to convert beautiful, live animals into sad, dead trophies for a few years, until another war comes along. He's the same man of honour through WWI, even though the lessons about doing whatever it takes to win are there if he should choose to learn them. He never changes. He'll never choose to do what's expedient over what's right. By WWII the atmosphere has changed and the young officer introduced at the beginning of the film, doesn't have any respect for a bumbling old buffoon who doesn't understand modern warfare. But by the time we come back to the scene of the disrespectful youth insulting and abusing the venerable old gentleman, we're seeing things from the old gentleman's point of view and sharing his sense of outrage.
I enjoy this film so much that I can watch it over and over. There are one or two things I could object to in it. For example, the reason young Candy gets in a bind in Germany and has to fight a duel, is that he's there to deny that Britain did some terrible things in the Boer war, involving concentration camps and the deaths of large numbers of Boer women and children. The concentrations camps and the deaths of the women and children are well documented and no longer denied. Churchill may have tried to have the film banned for other reasons, but it was still a propaganda film. It was made during WWII after all. General Candy seems such a nice old buffer though, it just seems he'd have been as shocked about the treatment of the innocent Boer non-combatants as any decent person, if he'd known. In order to really enjoy the cosy view on offer here, you have to accommodate a couple of uncomfortable carbuncles like the wildlife slaughter (not shown, but represented by a wall of mounted heads) and the concentration camp denial. Those bits only take up two or three minutes of this almost 3 hour film and both offer us a bit of information about what went on back in "the good old days" that Blimp harks back to with such nostalgia and detachment from reality. It's nice to share the rosy view of an idealised past from time to time. I recommend it.
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Initial post: 24 Jan 2010 18:48:51 GMT
Last edited by the author on 24 Jan 2010 18:52:15 GMT
C. W. Bradbury says:
I too love this film, and feel the modern world could learn a great deal from the 'old fashioned morality' it contains. Ironically, we are today seeing the harvest our unfortunate country has reaped over the longer term, in abandoning decent behaviour for shorterm advantage. Gordon Brown/David Cameron both talk a great deal about 'our broken society' but by the standards shown in this film are contributing massively to that same breakdown themselves. How? By not publicly sacking every corrupt MP shown to have submitted fraudulent expenses claims, or to have accepted bribes etc.... General Wynn-Candy's generation would never have tolerated such shameful behaviour by a member of their number; and if our 'leaders' were of any quality, neither would they.
Posted on 2 Mar 2012 12:55:16 GMT
Perfect summary. I love this movie, too.
Posted on 2 Nov 2012 09:38:49 GMT
Last edited by the author on 2 Nov 2012 09:42:26 GMT
This is a great film, one of my favorites. A rebuttal to Sally-Anne, if you will: She laments the fact that the young Candy went to Germany to defend Britain against charges of brutality in the Boer War. She fails to see that this is an essential characteristic of the young Candy -- he is an idealistic and morally upright officer, and he can't imagine that anyone on his side would act immorally or brutally. I can picture him hearing or reading reports of the atrocities (they were well-covered by the British press at the time), and dismissing them out of hand. I don't think the film was defending these practices or trying to white-wash British history; rather, it was painting a character that was idealistic, and for Candy to react this way was totally in character for him.
The hunting trophies, on the other hand, are largely a relic of their time, sadly. Personally, I think it's a shame that we have grown to be so squeamish a society that many can't stomach such a pastime. Sure, it's wrong to kill endangered animals, but Brits have gone so far as to outlaw fox-hunting, which was an integral part of British culture for so long. Eventually we will outlaw swatting mosquitoes that alight on our arms, or pasteurizing the bacteria that grow in spoiled milk.
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