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Powell and Pressburger: A Cinema of Magic Spaces (Cinema and Society) Hardcover – 24 Mar 2005
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'Moor's work is thorough, setting each grouping of films in their historical and theoretical context.' '...the book will prove most popular with those who want to know more about British cinema during its "golden decade" of the 1940s...'Media Education Journal, December 2005. 'A thoughtful addition to the literature on the symbiotic duo.' - Times Higher Educational Supplement
The film-making partnership of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger was one of the most remarkable and visionary in cinema. They made an extraordinary range of films, from 'The Spy in Black' and 'The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp' to 'A Canterbury Tale' and 'The Red Shoes'. With champions like Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola, and revived critical interest worldwide, they now find new generations of admirers. This illuminating new book looks closely at these classic films to explore their complex relationship to national identity, and their developing interest in exile, borderlands, utopias, escapism, art and fantasy. Moor reveals for example how the visual imagery of the films of the Second World War question current cinematic styles and how post war films like 'The Red Shoes' and 'The Tales of Hoffman' are in their highly expressive use of design, music and dance utterly international in character.See all Product description
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
He is perhaps most interesting when he is most programmatic, in the chapter about the pastoral during which he discusses A CANTERBURY TALE and I KNOW WHERE I'M GOING. I must admit I sighed going in, thinking I was going to hear all about Raymond Williams and pastoral theory and this and that, but although Moor brings everything up I feared, his applications are really quite sound, brilliant even. Coming away from his analyses, we feel that yes, the Archers HAD to make this slight retreat (towards the country air of Canterbury and the Western Isles) in order to be able to reach for the bizarre, psychosexual heights of something like BLACK NARCISSUS. He even manages to make sense of the little short film, THE VOLUNTEER, which is to the oeuvre of the Archers what AVENTURE MALGANCHE and BON VOYAGE are to the otherwise comprehensible work of Hitchcock. Does the auteur theory triumph in Moor's study? Incomparably! And yet this time around we believe it.
Another reviewer here mentions that Moira Shearer is only referred to once in the book. But obviously Andrew Moor has a weakness for the incandescent Kathleen Byron and the candybox charms of Deborah Kerr. He's not totally made out of stone.
For example: there's nothing about shooting in the Hebrides but more than you could ever wish for on the psychology of Sister Ruth's red lipstick. That may not be a bad thing for some, but for $45 couldn't Moor have at least included a few more photos? (There are just a handful: The Archers, a promo shot of Robert Helpmann from Tales of Hoffman and stills from Contraband, Canterbury Tale, Colonel Blimp, A Matter of Life and Death and Black Narcissus.) The fact that the book's index lists an astonishing SINGLE mention of Moira Shearer should be another clue to fans hoping for more meat and potatoes rather than simply food for thought.
Moor has unquestionably written some interesting dissections, but the dissections are only of the finished films, with barely a whisper about the actual creation of them.
Powell and Pressburger are undoubtedly masters who created some of the finest films ever made. But for the steep price I was hoping for more.