The Making of an Englishman: Emeric Pressburger


After Powell & Pressburger together, then Powell solo, here’s a biographical portrait of Emeric Pressburger by his grandson, Kevin MacDonald. Pressburger wrote the scripts of the films made under The Archers name, and Powell was the director, of course, but the pair always insisted on a shared credit for writing, production and direction. The Archers films were true “Third Mind” creations which is why (Peeping Tom aside) Powell or Pressburger working alone often seemed diminished.


The Making of an Englishman (1995) was Kevin MacDonald’s first documentary which he’s since followed with others including the excellent Donald Cammell: The Ultimate Performance (1998) and Touching the Void (2003), and feature films such as The Last King of Scotland (2006) and The Eagle (2011). His film about Emeric Pressburger was a welcome counterweight to the attention given to Michael Powell in The Archers partnership. Pressburger was Jewish, and emigrated to Britain from Hungary to escape the Nazis. This experience famously informs the script of The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943), and it was Pressburger’s Continental character and an outsider’s eye that helps set the films of The Archers apart from those being made in Britain during the 1940s.

Previously on { feuilleton }
The South Bank Show: Michael Powell
Powell & Pressburger: A Pretty British Affair
The Rite of Spring and The Red Shoes
Michael Powell’s Bluebeard revisited
The Tale of Giulietta